Why I Voted Yes On Prop. 8
I am a supporter of all gay rights.  I believe in equal rights for all.  I see no reason why one human being should have less (or different) rights than another.  Being heterosexual, allowing or disallowing homosexuals to marry will have absolutely no effect on my life.  I do not even categorize homosexuality as being "aberrant."  Why then did I vote to ban gay marriage?  The answer might surprise you.
The institution of marriage has been around since prehistory, that is, more than six millennia, a full four thousand years before Christ... at least.  Throughout those six thousand-plus years the concept that the word marriage represents has held the same meaning.  Without quibbling over precise wording, marriage has always been defined as the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law.  On May 15, 2008, the California Supreme Court decided to change that timeless definition.  Proposition 8 only restores the long-held definition of the word marriage.  What I voted against was not gay rights but the arbitrary redefining of an age-old word to suit a transient political or personal agenda.  I say “transient” because homosexuality is nothing new; like marriage, homosexuality predates recorded history.  The faddish agenda to redefine marriage is what is new.  To me the idea of redefining marriage is about as sensible as redefining equally timeless words, like air or dirt.  It makes as much sense as if I were to suddenly decide that my marriage to my wife be redefined as a homosexual relationship.  Our partnership simply does not fulfill that definition, just as a homosexual union does not fulfill the definition of marriage.
If, as No on 8 supporters claimed, passage of the proposition would deny gay citizens some right that heterosexuals enjoy, then I would have voted against it, albeit without redefining long-accepted words.  The truth, however, is that Proposition 8 took away no one's rights: gay couples who choose to enter into a domestic partnership continue to enjoy all the legal rights and privileges as heterosexuals who enter into a marriage.  The same tax benefits; the same right to have one's spouse covered by a company's group health plan; the same right to be overcharged for room service in the Presidential Suite at the Beverly Hilton.  All the same rights.  So what's the beef?  Apparently nothing more than petty semantics.
If gay citizens do not like the term domestic partnership then they should lobby to change the name to something more pleasing, but don't try restructuring one of the most enduring institutions in all of mankind by redefining an existing and well-understood word.  I support the rights of homosexuals but not when they fight for rights they already have!  Especially when that fight holds no reverence for words and history.  The fight to redefine the word marriage for purposes of semantics resulting in no new rights or benefits reaches a level of absurdity that insults their own righteous movement.
After my mother died my father remarried.  He married a widow.  After twenty-one years they remain married.  But I am lying. My father never remarried.  He and his chosen went through a ceremony with a preacher, a best man, a reception attended by family and friends, a wedding cake, rice, and all the other familiar trappings of a traditional wedding.  But they did not get married.  For various reasons they chose to go through a wedding ceremony that did not result in a legal marriage.  Now in their 70s and 80s they remain together.  No marriage, no domestic partnership, no nothing... except love.  A word that has been glaringly absent from the whole of this debate, and no matter what you call it — marriage, gay marriage, domestic partnership, civil union — isn't love what this whole crazy mixed-up mess should be all about?
My advice to all gay people everywhere is to take and hold your lover, kiss your lover, caress your lover, make love to your lover, pamper your lover, experience the full preciousness of love, but for the sake of love do not scar its beauty in the abyss of semantics.  Be above that.
November 10, 2008
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