Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Proposition Eight and Marriage

At the risk of sharing a bit too much of myself with my audience today I decided, instead of posting about the unjust story of Rumpelstiltskin, I would talk about a current issue.  That is gay rights.  First before anything else I would like you to know that I fully support gay rights.  I think that we as law abiding citizens should all share the same rights as other people.  There should be no discrimination between people in matters of employment, rearing a family, or privileges and rights offered by the government to a person.  However there is a place where I draw my line.  It is in religion.

As I mentioned in another post recently I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (in other words a Mormon).  And as many of you know in the Proposition Eight controversy many members of my church donated money to the cause of seeing Gay Marriage blocked in the state of California.  In 2010 it was overturned and then people appealed it.  And yesterday that decision was upheld by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in California.  Which means it is finally truly legal for homosexuals to marry in California.  The entire issue of Proposition Eight has caused a great deal of challenges in the homes of many Mormons.  Even in my home.  My wife entirely believes that gays should have the right to marry.  I don't.

Most of the difficulty of the issue comes from the idea of whether or not marriage is a religious term or a legal term.  Because if it is meant to be a legal term then, of course gays need to have the right to marry and you cannot deny them that.  It would be a gross violation of civil rights.  And this is exactly where my wife and many people in the LGBT (or Lesbian-Gay-Bi-sexual-Transgendered) community are.  Because it is a legal term to deny them the right isn't only unconstitutional, but it sends us back to hundreds of years in our treatment of people in our nation.

I believe that marriage is supposed to be between a man and a woman who are joined in a holy union before God.  It is a religious ceremony and I would prefer it to remain that way.  However because of the nature of how our country was founded and has grown, it is no longer simply a religious ceremony as I would like.  It is so riddled with political and legal rules that it cannot ever be simply a religious ceremony of the union between a man and a woman again.

Do not misunderstand me, I do not mean to say if a church decides they desire to endorse a man and man or a woman and woman relationship that it is wrong.  I am saying that I personally don't believe in that.  There is a huge difference between those two concepts.

So now with all of this legal mumbo-jumbo concerning marriage and civil unions, I find myself wondering how in the world do we make this just?  How do we make this fair?  Gays can't get married in every state, and civil unions aren't accepted universally to my knowledge either.  And because I want the world to be a place where we can accept the diversity and uniqueness of everyone in the world, I need to have a solution to this current problem.

So I decided that we should abolish the legal function of marriage and instead institute civil unions throughout all those who are currently married.  This would do several things.  It would have all the companies who have their current laws set up to help only those who are married rewrite their rules and laws for their companies in such a way that it would have to include all those who are currently in civil unions.  It would also remove marriage which is a religious term from the vocabulary of politics.  It would return the power of declaring what marriage is and is not to the individual churches and religions themselves.

Personally I wouldn't mind what I am in being known as a civil union legally and a marriage religiously.  It wouldn't change how I feel about my wife.  It wouldn't change my rights or privileges.  It wouldn't make me any less of an Iraqi veteran.  It would enable people who love each other to have legal rights to their children with their partner, to change the way people see the LGBT community in their neighborhood, and perhaps most important teach us as a nation that each of us has an individual worth and value.  That we shouldn't hate each other so much, nor should we fight against each other so much, and instead we should seek to find how we can envelop the entire human family within the bounds of respect, truth, and love.  And I now stand by the overturn of Proposition Eight, grateful that the people of California spoke for what they wanted for themselves.

I chose this as my subject because during my writing today I was writing about a young female warrior who has PTSD (or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) in my story.  And it got me thinking about how sometimes people are so misunderstood and especially in that community.  Speaking of communities, perhaps I should share my goals now.

My ROW Goals for the week are now as follows:
1. Finishing a Scene of "Crimes of the Umbramancer" each day.
     I've been searching for a job lately and the same time that is dedicated to the job search is often shared with writing, so I'm behind.  I plan on catching up by this evening however though.  (For the record I got an interview coming up this Monday, which I'm super excited about.  Hopefully this will work out for the best.)
2. Comment on ten blogs in ROW80:
     I've been working hard on this goal.  I'm starting to retweet blogs of things I find important and also comment as much as possible.  I've commented on nobody's ROW80 posts for this week, but a lot of their regular blogs.  I'll take care of this tonight when I post however.
3. No more than twelve hours of video games per week.
     I haven't played anything this week at all.  I'm pretty proud of myself.
4. Bedtime between 11PM and Midnight each day so I can be up at six or seven to take advantage of the early hours to write.
     Of seven days I got about four.  Much better than last week.  But I think I still can do a lot better than that.
5. Walking at least a mile five times a week.
     I've probably gotten to this honestly about three out of five days this week.  I'm kinda bummed about that.  Being so busy with various obligations has made it difficult to find the time.  But I'm hoping this upcoming week will be better.
6. Finding a new job in the upcoming month.
    This past weekend I had a conversation with an Amir Jackson, the Founder of a Nurture the Creative Mind and perhaps I might be able to work with his organization and bring some of my talents to helping the minds and talents of local youth grow.  And as recent as this afternoon I spoke with a woman at a local Junior High about being able to work in a program at their school to help them out.  So things may be looking up in terms of jobs.  I worry only because I need to find enough employment to support my wife and I.  I am ever hopeful though.

You might also notice that I recently changed the design of my blog slightly.  I am working on branding myself and I wanted colors that represented me as well as something I could have in my twitter profile also.  I chose the topic today, because part of who I am, is about being fair and just as best as I can see how.  I might be wrong, but part of taking a stand for what you believe in is taking the chance that you could be wrong.  And I would love to hear you tell me why I'm wrong, or why I'm right, or what you liked about this.  Please comment below and I'll make certain to get back to you as soon as I can.  I sincerely enjoy responding to everyone's comments.

Here's the links to other ROW80 blogs.  Hopefully you find interesting comments there too.  Happy reading!


  1. We have discussed this so much at home, I don't think there is anything that has not been said... But I will repeat it anyway for the sake of conversation :0)

    1. I love the picture, I think it's fabulous! I think it might upset some conservative folks, seeing as how it shows "sacred symbols" of our country in what they might deem a "sexually perverse action." But personally, I think it's great. I think just now I called it "cute."
    So peoples, if it offends you, just pretend it's the Jolly Green Giant and She-Ra in a married folks lip lock.

    2. If marriage is defined as a religious union before God... What about the Atheists who get married? Is their marriage less valid because they have chosen to not include God or religion in their lives?

    3. Also, if marriage is defined as a religious union before God, why can't gays and lesbians who believe in God get married? Some folks would say "God doesn't approve" but I ask, how do you know that? And if you're going to quote Leviticus at me, make sure you have read the book in it's entirety before you use that argument. I think God cares more about how we treat each other than who we sleep next to at night.

    4. The Episcopal church, one of the largest Christian denominations in the entire world, generally (many congregations, but not all) approves of gay marriage, and at times has been known to break the law to marry homosexual couples. Is this not a religious union before God? I mean they are at the church with a priest...

    5. I am all for civil unions that include the same legal protections as "traditional marriage" but what about the gays and lesbians who want a religious union? Should they be legally denied, even if they can find a church that would accept them?

    6. Just because "it's weird" "it's different" "it's gross" or "it makes me feel uncomfortable" is that a just reason to make it against the law? Can religious folks morally reject homosexual relationships based on their own religion, while at the same time allowing them to go about their lives in peace and get married if they want to?

    I just think that any adult should be able to get married if they want to, to whom they want to. I will go so far as to say I think the FLDS adults who want to enter into a plural marriage should legally be able to do that as well.

    I have heard someone recently make the argument that "Marriage is a legal state intended to advance and promote families, the backbone of civilization. A family is a unit that is capable of producing children. Only a fool or someone with devious purposes advocates marriage between like sexes. " I find this so silly when you consider the heterosexual people who get married who are incapable of reproducing, or are simply too old to reproduce. The family IS the backbone of our society, and family does not always mean 1 man, 1 woman, and their offspring. I was raised in a home with a mother, grandmother, and grandfather. I currently live in a home with a husband and a teenager who isn't related to us in any way - and yet we are still a family. Maybe not a nuclear family, but I wouldn't allow anyone to say we are not a family. And I think many gay couples feel the same way - they just want people to respect their non-nuclear family.

    Those are just some thoughts I have. You have heard them all before. I respect your stance, even though I don't fully agree with it. Love you Bear!

    1. Thanks for commenting sweetheart. It is always good to hear your opinions. I love you too, Luce.

  2. I would like to point out that gay marriage is still illegal in the state of California due to a stay placed on the 2010 ruling by the ninth circuit court. They up held the ruling, but didn't lift the stay. Chances are that stay will be there until the supreme court rules on the case. I hope to see the Supreme Court follow the Ninth Circuit, in up holding individuals freedoms by once and for all repealing Prop 8.

    1. Thank you for that information, Button. It is good to know.

  3. Hi Jayrod,

    This is a tough issue

    Just as a Button23 noted... in California marriage is still not legal with the Stay that has been put in place halting same-sex marriages. Appeals will take this issue to the U.S. Supreme Court leaving them to decided and at this rate the government want to leave the states to decide. The federal government will not take a stance on the issue until a larger percentage of states instate same sex marriage. In my belief, I dont think this is going to happen because many more people will fight harder for this not to happen than to fight for the bigger atrocities that are happening around us. I think this happens because in the grand scheme of all the 'bad' things that happen in the world this is small enough idea/ concept that people can handle, thus feel like they can do something about.

    They can't completely fix world poverty, global warming, or even understand what's going on in Wall Street and in Big companies or know to begin to address the fiscal problems of our a nation. But watching two gay men walking down the street holding hands is something that's tangible and immediate in they eyesight and something they can handle and affect (good and bad).

    The problem with Civil Unions is that Civil Unions are defined on a state by state basis. The rights and privileges of Civil Unions in Washington state is far different than Maine. The federal government will not step in and dictate the definition of each.

    So this leave us 'the people' to decided for the many that this affects.

    I don't know about you, but most times the majority of people tend to do the 'right' thing when it directly affects them. Otherwise the rights of others is inconvenient and not as important.

    1. Natasha, in a single paragraph you just changed my opinion of gay marriage. I had no idea that civil unions were defined on a state by state basis. That changes everything, because then it is much easier to discriminate against gays if each state has a different standard for what rights a couple in a civil union has. In my post I defend the right of gay marriage if it must be a legal term, I now recognize that our government has taken the spirituality of the term and made it only a legal term. That saddens me, but I'll stand behind Gay Marriage 100% now. It is still a complicated issue, but when people's rights and freedoms are at stake, each of us must make a choice of where we will stand. Often that choice comes down to having a correct knowledge of the facts. Thank you, Natasha.

    2. Thank you, Natasha. After several years of debating about this topic, you have finally gotten my husband to climb into the same boat with me. Funny how that works.

  4. I commend you for your attitude about this issue. There's nothing wrong with disagreeing with others, but who are we to dictate the pursuit of happiness for others? Appreciate your thoughts. I gave you a shout-out on my blog today.

    1. Thanks David! I returned the favor, today. I learned a lot from you this past weekend and I just wanted to say thanks. I'll be keeping an eye out on your blog and I hope to see you publishing here in the near future!


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