Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A Matter of Freedom and Love

“It is never too late to give up your prejudices. ~Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)

The CA Supreme Court decision today upholding Proposition 8, the Gay Marriage Intuitive was disappointing. In fact, as a native Californian, the vote last November was surprising. The majority of the people I know are in favor of allowing gay marriage. But what I believe, and many of the people I have discussed this with believe, it passed by a narrow margin in November (approximately 525,000 votes) because the political/religious advertising was filled with untruths and stirred fear.

I heard on the radio today that older people are the ones who are responsible for Prop 8 passing and outlawing gay marriage, and the woman said that the younger generation will make the difference in the near feature and it will be allowed. I disagree that older people are against gay marriage. I only know one older person (in her 80s who voted for Prop 8). All the rest of the older people I know, male and female, in their 50s, 60s, 70s, 80’s and even 90 years of age, are for gay marriage. And they are all heterosexual. I also know younger people, teenagers and young adults, who see no problem with gay marriage.

Thankfully the Court upheld the 18,000 marriages that occurred prior to this ruling today.

In the past California was often said to be open, and progressive. It was here that one might believe that equality was available, equality in all areas of life. It was here in California that people came to enjoy a life of more equality and freedom of choice that was not, or even may not, be available elsewhere right here in our own country. California is a diverse area, so it has been surprising that other states are steps ahead of California in allowing equality for all their citizens. States such as Iowa, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, and hopefully soon, New Hampshire, have all moved ahead in allowing their citizens the right to marry no matter their sexual identity.

I recently had a conversation with a friend about our surprise that Iowa was forward thinking. But I discovered it was not unusual for Iowa to be liberal in their laws and interest in civil rights. In doing research on divorce laws in Iowa for my novel on the Civil War period, I learned that in 1851 Iowa considered it lawful to end marriage when the “parties could not live in peace and harmony together.” That was on their law books before the Civil War! But it was not until 1969-1970 that California put in place ‘no-fault” divorce. Instead of treating marriage as an institution that should be preserved at all costs, no-fault divorce viewed it as a voluntary union between two equals that could be dissolved at will. A spouse who wanted a divorce no longer had to prove wrongdoing in an adversarial setting, such as adultery or desertion. "Irreconcilable differences" made divorce possible. Other states quickly followed. And apparently today some form of no-fault divorce is available in all fifty states.

I guess my thought is let’s hope it does not take more than 158 years for California to come around to accepting gay unions. I still cannot figure out why it should matter to anyone that a couple, straight, or gay, want to marry. Hey, it’s all about love. And it seems childish that someone can force their beliefs in denying marriage to another.

I also still believe the real objection is being veiled, and the federal government not wanting to give up an Income Tax category of a single taxpayer (single straight, widowed, single gay or lesbian) to the lesser tax rate of a married couple. So the government may be very happy to have the religious interference and objections taking place, and in turn saving them from giving up billions in Income Tax revenue.

Isn’t it about fear? It takes courage and love for those who not only are out of the closet but wanting equal rights. Gays and lesbians deserve equal rights, just as any straight person does, just as someone of a different race or nationality does, or as someone of a different religion does. Woman have fought a long time for equality, for property rights, for voting rights, for equal pay (not quite there yet), and the same is true of Blacks and minorities fighting for equality, voting rights, civil rights. This is the 21st century and about time we got over it and treat everyone with dignity and respect.

This is really about freedom. Change is coming.

And as singer/songwriter Melissa Etheridge said today, “I am hopeful as I see more and more states turn to the inevitable future of equality, California will get there. Change takes time."

“I leave you, hoping that the lamp of liberty will burn in your bosoms
until there shall no longer be a doubt that all men are created free and equal.”
~Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)



John Hayes said...

I'm sorry to hear this, tho I'm glad to see the existing marriages were upheld--at least a couple of our close friends were in danger of having their marriage dissolved.

Thanks for such a thoughtful & articulate examination of the issue.

Linda Pendleton said...

Thanks for your comments, John. Hopefully change will come in the next few years, here in CA and elsewhere. Yes, that is great your friends' marriages are safe. The same for a couple I know. It is nice they were able to marry when the time was good and it wasn't taken away with this ruling.

Cynthia said...

Hi Linda, thank you for coming over to Oasis Writing Link and following. (How did you find it?) I look forward to sharing more with you and reading your work as well. It's dissappointment about California's decision. I had hoped it would go another way.

What a shame that groups of dogmatic closed minded people were able to convince the majority. I also thought that CA was a place to be free and "live large" as you husband would have said. I think in time the opinion will change.

I'm sorry about your loss...and will read more so I can understand more about your life. Take care and love to you. <3

Cynthia said...

I figured out how you found Oasis Writing Link (OWL) blog...I visited your other blog! You sure are busy!!!<3

Ricky Kendall said...

I loved your blog and the picture said it all. Those rings should be on the fingers of two people who love each other.

I agree with you that it is not the elders who voted for Prop 8. I believe that those who voted for it have been misguided by their religions beliefs. Considering it was religion that kept us in the dark ages for a thousand years, It is obvious that it takes an enormous amount of convincing to change their convictions.

I think it takes being a victim of prejudice to realize the damage it causes others. Had I not been born gay, I'm not sure where I would stand at this time. I will always wonder if I would have made the enormous effort to understand others had I been born straight, and not been the victim of prejudice.

Being born gay has been a blessing to me. I did not consider it a so while in the closet. I considered it a curse. I think I am a better person because of my sexual orientation.

Though I prayed for years to be straight, I now give thanks to the creator for the awesome blessing of being born a gay man.

Linda Pendleton said...

Hi Cynthia,
Thank you for your comments. Progress is being made, but it is a shame that some have the need to take equality away from others. And worse, as you well know.

Linda Pendleton said...

Knowing you as well as I do, if you had been born straight, you would be doing exactly what I am doing as a heterosexual, protesting the prejudge, hate, and intolerance that is out there in our midst. You have lots of compassion, spirituality, and love, and that is who you are. We are not alone in standing up for individual equality. Change is slowly coming across the country. 45 states or less to go. :-)

scarlethue said...

I usually try to steer clear of politics in my blog as I do in my life. (No one seems to ever completely agree with me and I hate confrontation!) But I can't stand the idea of denying rights to deserving individuals. I agree that it's not just older people either. I think the advertising had a lot to do with it, and also churches and such motivating their entire congregations to vote when normally they might not.

Linda Pendleton said...

Hi Scarlethue,
I had posted this and then later saw your blog regarding the same subject. You know, some things are too difficult to ignore, and this issue happens to be one of those. The more of us that speak out for equality and even speaking out about the conflict some religion is creating in our politics, is well worth it. If we look back at the last 150 years plus, we will see how important "standing up," "speaking out," has been. Thanks for your great blog sharing your thoughts on the issue.

Ronda Laveen said...

Thank you for stopping by my blog. I have seen (read) you on Reya's blog lately. I checked both of your blogs and I love your ecclectic blend of topics. I will be back when I have more time to delve further. How far north in Cali do you live? I am in upper norther Cali, Redding, about 2 1/2 hrs north of Sacramento and and 1 1/2 hrs south of Oregon border. I'll be back, as Arnie would say.

Linda Pendleton said...

Thanks for stopping by and please come back. I never know what topic I will blog about next. LOL
I sent an email to you.