YES WE CAN HAS! (aaangyl) wrote,

// A throught on Prop 8 (and similar measures) /

From two states over, I haven't seen a whole lot of the advertisements for/against prop 8. But of the things I've seen, there's one big thing I think could have been handled a lot better by the "No on 8" crowd, and that is allowing the issue to be primarily compared to racism and the civil rights struggle.

The thing is, it's actually much more closely related to the religious persecution struggle. Even at the surface level, race is something you can't closet. Even if you change your name, your skin color and phenotype isn't going to change, unless maybe you're Michael Jackson. Let's drop the debate of if sexual preference is something one can "choose" or not, because even if it is, we're still closer to religion in this issue. You can "choose" your religion, and convert from one to another. And your religion doesn't show on your person, unless you choose to make it so by wearing a prayer shawl or a big cross or some other outward symbol of your affiliation. Gayness can also be closeted. Your boss with the ring on his finger, your trusted auto mechanic, even your child could be gay and you'd never know unless they told you or you somehow "caught" them practicing.

Throughout history there are many well-known examples of times when, because of one's religion, one could be denied jobs, have one's possessions taken away, and even be tortured and killed. Some converted to escape persecution, but many more went crypto, and moved their practices underground. They wanted to be true to their beliefs, their feelings, and their very selves. They wanted to do so in public, but felt so strongly about it that even if they couldn't, they'd hide it before they gave it up. America was founded partially as a place of religious freedom, and it's written right there in the founding documents.

To make a more reasonable comparison point for anti-gay bigotry, we'd need to imagine a world where, say, someone was proposing a law where only Catholics were allowed to marry, and anyone who wasn't a Catholic would have their marriage dissolved. Well, hey, if that's you, you can always "choose" to see the Catholic Way as the One True Way, and convert, if you want the same rights as the Righteous ones. But it's really unreasonable of you to expect employers to offer insurance to the "spouse" of some Baptist, when they're living sinfully against God's Will and don't even take the Sacrament or go to Confession! Unless you're a Catholic, you'd call that ridiculous, and point out how you're still a family, you still share finances and responsibilities with your spouse, and you might even wonder how it could be the business of the government to invalidate the marriage you had formed in front of your own community. But, oh, the Catholics would say, you can still make whatever agreements you want between the two of you, so why are you so upset? It's not like we're making Protestants ride at the back of the bus!

I would like to suggest to anyone campaigning on these kinds of issues in the future to please not allow the straw man apples-to-oranges comparison of the gay marriage issue to the civil rights movement persist, but to point out how very clearly it's a poor comparison and redirect to this much more applicable comparison. Also, don't stop working just because this election is over! Keep educating, donating, representing, and even having debates about it. We need to think about it. We need to talk about it. This isn't about some weird reactionary liberals, this is about the same values of freedom and equality that this country was founded on.

I could expand on this, but the rest wound be built off of this same framework. I'm more interested in anywhere you see holes in this case, so I can start thinking about them.

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Tags: lolitics

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