Taking a Stand on Prop 8: Opposing It Is Just Plain Right

we_three.GIFby Dick Price –

If you’ve spent two minutes on our LA Progressive, you know where we stand on Proposition 8, the wrongheaded and wronghearted initiative that would take away the recently won right to marry for gays in California, just like their straight brothers and sisters – just like me and Sharon.

In the past several months, we’ve run dozens of articles attacking Prop 8 from every conceivable moral, legal, religious, and emotional angle. Long-time gay activists Carl Matthes, Rev. Irene Monroe, and Natalie Davis have weighed in week after week on our pages to expose Prop 8’s moral bankruptcy. Other regular contributors like Tom Hall and John Delloro have brought forward their impassioned legal and cultural perspectives against this pernicious measure as well.

Moreover, my wife Sharon has expressed eloquent opposition to Prop 8 arising in part from her experiences with her beloved Uncle Leopold, who played such a pivotal in her life well in adulthood and who died of AIDS on October 27, 1989.

As LA Progressive’s editor, I have edited and posted nearly all of these articles and played a role in recruiting several of the contributing writers. So, naturally, you can assume that I also oppose Prop 8.

That’s certainly true enough – but it’s also not nearly enough.

This is the moral issue of our day and it’s important that all of us – gay, straight, and “decline to state” – take our stand.

My stand: I oppose Prop 8, and here’s why.

Prop 8 Is Morally Wrong
The gay people I have known came by their sexual orientation naturally, it has always seemed to me. I understand that there is a continuum of positions to take between strictly straight and utterly gay. Still, I don’t believe that my gay friends and acquaintances sat down at some early point in their lives – any more than I did or you did – and said, well, what’s it going to be – boys or girls? Their sexual desires came to them, as mine did, a gift.

I recall my best buddy from high school coming to me years ago in some alarm to report that two fellows we had known in high school were living together. Not roommates, he wanted me to know, but lovers. I thought at the time, and said at the time, well, gee, didn’t we know that in fifth grade? He had to agree.

And if it is true, as I believe it to be, that people’s sexual orientation is largely determined for them – indeed, then, is a gift from God – who am I or my government to deny my gay friends all the pains and pleasures of marriage?

Prop 8 Is Legally Wrong
The First Amendment of our Constitution states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free experience thereof.”

And, by God, I don’t want Congress or anyone else setting forth a law – about anything, but especially here with gay marriage – that enforces someone else’s religion on me. Thank you very much, but I want the freedom to exercise my chosen religion – or lack of same – as I see fit, provided I don’t harm others in doing so. My gay friends deserve the same.

Sharon is reading A Year of Living Biblically, by A.J. Jacobs, who tried to live for one year according to every precept found in the Bible. There are not 10 Commandments, he found, but more like 625, including one that requires that if you get into a fight with a man and his wife jumps into the fray and grabs your genitals, that you’re required to cut off her hand.

Now, I’m a peaceable soul at this point despite my demeanor and I’ve lost at least a step at 60, so I don’t see myself getting into a fight anytime soon. But if I do, and if his missus grabs me by the nuts, I don’t want anyone putting their religious edict into a civil law that requires me to amputate her hand. As a certain governor would say, “Thanks, but no thanks.”

Prop 8 Is Just Wrong
As you can tell from these paragraphs, I am neither a doctor nor a lawyer. But I do have a strong sense of right and wrong.

Our church – Neighborhood Church in Pasadena – is working hard to defeat Prop 8. Our senior minister, Rev. Dr. Jim Nelson, has set a goal for having at least 75% of our congregation do at least five things each to defeat Prop 8. For weeks now, the “No on 8” group has set up a table outside between services on Sunday so people can learn about the issue and sign up for phone-banking, donations, and fund-raising events.

After service two Sundays ago, my 14-year-old daughter dragged me over to that table – two of her favorite Sunday school teachers, Samantha and Erin, got married this summer in joyous celebration that we attended – and Nea, my daughter, wanted to buy a “No on 8” t-shirt.

She has a couple of friends at school who are wrestling with being lesbians and come to her for support. Nea wanted to wear the shirt to school to show solidarity for her friends. It put me in mind of my own childhood, when my church had us teenagers going door to door in suburban Minneapolis to raise funds for the freedom riders in the South. I was proud of my daughter at that moment – I’m always proud of her, but especially then – so I got a shirt for her and another for me.

I’ve known too many gay people and seen too many gay people who have suffered for the way they are, who have had to hide their sexuality to get by in the world, or who have tried to change the way they are through prayer or drinking or force of will. We’ve all read of gays who have been beaten, as was Sharon’s uncle Leopold, or killed, as was Matthew Shepherd, just for being gay. And we’ve all known gay couples who have had to live as second-class citizens, denied the equal treatment under the law that their straight friends and neighbors enjoy.

dick-price.gifIt’s time that stops. That’s the way America stands tall, not by ginning up a reason to invade another country, but by breaking down the differences between one American and the next, so we can all live in harmony. And the way we do that here in California is to make sure Prop 8 goes down to defeat.

One to Go
So, Rev. Jim, that’s one of my five tasks you want all members of the congregation to do. Four to go, unless you count the articles we publish, the “No on 8” sign in our front window, and the “No on 8” shirt I wear to work and the market, in which case I’m down to one.

.

Dick Price
Editor, LA Progressive.

Articles by Dick Price:

About Dick Price

Dick Price is Editor of the LA Progressive. With his wife Sharon, he publishes several other print and online newsletters on political and social justice issues. He has worked in publishing as a writer, editor, and publisher for a quarter century. In earlier releases, he was a cab driver, bartender, construction worker, soldier, and farmhand, and for many years helped operate a nonprofit halfway house for homeless alcoholics and addicts. To contact him, please use the form on the Contact Us page.

Comments

  1. Dick Price says:

    Tandra,

    You are entitled to your religious beliefs.

    You are not entitled to impose those beliefs on the rest of us.

    Marriage is a civil procedure, not a religious one. Gays and lesbians are entitled to equal protection under the law. They should not have to live as second-class citizens, just because your interpretation of what you think your God says. This is not Iran and you are not the Ayatollah.

    And this talk I hear of loving the sinner but hating the sin is hypocritical, and quite deadly, nonsense.

    – Dick

  2. I have so many arguments about Prop. 8 and I can see what some say is taking away there rights, but that is not true. I do not know how anyone who says they love God and are a Christian who can condone such behavior that God calls an abomination. This world is coming to an end and we are living in our last days when men loving men and women loving women is considered okay within the body of Christ. I do not hate anyone so gays can stop using that as a reason why I personally disagree with them marrying. I love God and the word of God and I do not care who does not agree with me, God does agree and I’d rather please God than man. In no way should anyone professing Christ condone sin period and it is a disgrace for pastors and so-called religious leaders to stand against God’s word and stand on the side of sin. God says to lean not to your own understanding but acknowledge Him in all your ways, whether you agree or not. Many of you are being tested by God concerning this matter and have failed. How can you use the umbrella of civil rights to condone sin that God is against, it is a shame. I feel if gays/lesbians want rights as far as visitation in hospitals and social security and whatever else they are fighting for, get power of attorney or a living trust. I will never vote for anyone to change the sacredness of God ordained marriage for something God calls an abomination. For those Christians who haven’t repented yet and have voted for same sex marriage, what will you say to God when he asked you, why did you condone an abomination? What will you say? I think everyone should have equal rights. When have the world ever had the same privileges of church or followers of Christ? These people most of them talk so much hate against the bible, against God’s people and against the Church because we do not agree with their sinful lifestyle or any sin for that fact. I love the people but hate the sin and will continue to speak out against sin of any kind and I definitely will not join in with the devil to go against God’s word.

    • Dr. Jim Hamilton says:

      As a pastor reading your statement ! You are a true believer and i don’t think anyone of us could have said it better..
      Peace be with you always !

      Dr. Jim Hamilton

  3. Thank you so much for your opposition to Prop 8 and this very eloquent article.

  4. mike chattom says:

    well, I am voting yes on prop 8. it is real clear to me that when we marriage is made it is between Man and Woman. I hope you can make a clear distinction between a Man….so many are faking people out there. But really what can be the difference between Man and woman. that is there is a Womb within the woman not the man. That is there because someone or a higher being has given her the ability to reproduce. Man to Man can’t do that. Don’t care how long or how deep or how many surgeries or implants or oversea trips it take to make Stevie look like Eva…. PLEASE UNDERSTAND THAT. MY POSITION IS REAL. HOMOSEXUALITY IN THE SCHOOL PLACE IS REALLY GOING TO THE NEXT LEVEL…..REALLY HAPPENS IN THE HIGHER EDUCATION LEVEL LIKE COLLEGE. BUT THEN IT IS REALLY THE INDIVIDUALS CHOICE. I AM SAYING MY POSITION IS CLEAR…MAN TO MAN CAN’T PRODUCE….MAN TO WOMAN CAN GIVE YOU JUICE!!!

  5. Karen Wingard says:

    I find it morally reprehensible that anyone, and most especially churches at which I don’t worship, would ask us to amend our state constitution to take away a right.
    As far as the state is concerned, marriage is a civil contract binding the contracting parties to certain mutual commitments and the state to recognition of the union. When the state Supreme Court found that the right to marry was not limited to heterosexual couples, that decision affected only the civil contract, not the right of any church to grant or deny what it deems a sacrament. So no one’s marriage or faith is endangered by anyone else’s right to marry. Vote NO on 8.

  6. I feel that marriage should be between a man and a woman, I think that the word marriage is sacred and it is approved by God. I also feel that if a person or persons chose to live with a same sex partner; they should have that right as in a heterosexual relationship.

  7. Well if anyone STILL hasn’t decided, after all this passion, eloquence, and logic….
    Come see the documentary “Preacher’s Sons” – free showing at Neighborhood Church, Monday evening Nov. 3, 7 p.m. – 301 N. Orange Grove –
    It’s the story of a minister, formerly with Neighborhood Church, who is raising (with his gay partner) a family of five adopted sons.

    • I know hwere you stand on Porp. 8 and I do not know where this we came from, but am for Prop 8. I believe in tradtional marriage between a man and a woman. I further do not believe that anyone has the right to teach my child in school about same sex marriage. It is a moral iss and biblical fact and I believe that anyone who believes in the bible should vote YES ON PROP 8

      • prop 8 has nothing to do with schools, watch the ad featuring the california superintendent of schools debunking that lie. and you have every right to believe marriage is between a man and a woman, but in this country we don’t use the constitution to take away rights.

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