With three days remaining before election day I would like to take this opportunity to discuss why I am voting NO on Prop 102--the Gay Marriage Ban. For those of you not familiar with this proposition, Prop 102 seeks to amend the AZ constitution to state that "only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this state." There is also a similar measure in CA (Prop 8) which seeks to define marriage in the same way.
So, why would I be against such a measure? Good question. When the Pilgrims crossed the Atlantic Ocean they were seeking a land where they could worship the way they pleased and be free from the discrimination in Europe. This whole idea is what eventually evolved into the constitution we currently enjoy in this wonderful country. A place where people are free to believe and worship the way they see fit.
The current definition of marriage is based (mainly) on religious values which have been adapted over the years to exclude acceptance of "alternative" lifestyles. I have no problem with people disagreeing with same-sex marriage; however, writing a religious-based doctrine into the state constitution is more than an attack on same-sex partnerships--it is an attack on the very ideologies that our country was based upon.
Now, I realize there are some serious fears that supporters of Prop 102 have regarding intrusion on their religious freedom. I have spoken to a couple lawyers regarding the fear that churches will be sued over not allowing same-sex marriage and--according to them--this is not a valid argument. Religions are free to worship as they please and would not be required to marry those who do not ascribe to their policies regarding matrimony. For example, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not currently required to marry couples in the temple who do not meet worthiness guidelines and there is no problem with that. Those who try to plant this fear into the hearts of voters should really take a lesson in US government.
Another fear that proponents on Prop 102 are proposing is that same-sex relationships will be taught in schools. Well, I hate to break it to you but educators are--more than likely--going to do their best to inform children of what is going on in the world around them. It is not a teacher's job to teach a child right from wrong, rather a parent should do their best to present the facts to children and help them understand the reasons they believe as they do. Turning a blind eye to the fact that same-sex couples are raising families accomplishes nothing in terms of "protecting" a child from what many consider to be sinful. Of course I do not advocate elementary aged children being taught the ins and outs of what goes on in the bedrooms of homosexuals (or heterosexuals for that matter) but there is nothing wrong with them acknowledging that there are many different family makeups in the world while being guided and directed by their parents in regards to these matters.
The bottom line...same-sex couples will exist in the world and will raise families just like "traditional" couples do. We can either embrace them with love and equality and share in the joy of their families or we can shun them out of fear and ignorance. We can grant them equal treatment to encourage a stable family situation or place a stumbling block to their ability to live the American dream of liberty and justice for ALL. Let's focus on initiatives that truly strengthen families of every kind instead of dividing people into unnecessary subclasses.
Please join me in voting NO on Prop 102 in AZ or (if you live in CA) NO on Prop 8. Thank you!