Editor’s note: I listen to Roger Hedgecock. Every afternoon, every day, like clockwork.
Although I disagree with 99.9% of everything he says, I recognize that not all people share the same political beliefs. I also feel keeping myself up to date as to why the conservative right makes the arguments it does, allows me to keep a balanced mind. (It also allows me to make an educated argument for my case on the occasions I find myself in a political banter of sorts).
I’ve known the author of this editorial since high school and when I learned she was also living in California and had campaigned for Yes on 8- I immediately found myself put off. In a quick instant she went from being the girl I shared music classes with to “one of THOSE people”, a political arch nemesis.
Yet right after we launched SDGLN.com, I received an unexpected instant message.
“I read the article you posted today about the divorce ban getting approval for signatures My daughter and I just spent the past hour on line looking up the difference between domestic partnerships and marriage. I never knew they didn’t offer the same legal protections. Although I don’t support same-sex marriage, I’d definitely support making the legal protections of civil unions the same as those allowed by marriage.”
What ensued next was a 45 minute long exchange in which each of us laid out our own arguments on the gay marriage debate. I chastised the religious right for their strong crusade to preserve the sanctity of marriage- asking why if they’re protesting same sex unions why they’re not protesting television studios who produce shows like “Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire”. She then posed a well formed counter argument based on her faith and religious beliefs. At the end of the conversation we agreed to disagree- but both walked away with a greater understanding as to why the “other camp” believes what it believes. It was at that time I asked her to write this editorial.
Will I come under fire for running it? Probably. But with the race for signatures to have marriage equality back on the ballot in 2010- being able to take a peek inside the other team’s playbook can’t hurt.
A Conservative Ethic
By Lysa DeLancey
For nearly a year, I've been pondering gay marriage, my religious beliefs and my personal ethics. I have been thinking about and discussing this topic, contemplating how these ideas fit together. The key, I decided, was not to manipulate truth to discover how my spiritual belief in a one man/one woman marriage and my personal belief in equality for all could co-exist. Instead, I needed to find the truths connecting the two beliefs.
I believe all things temporal are spiritual. Decisions made on Earth have eternal consequences. Whatever understandings I came to as a result of this thought process have shaped my actions. However, there are consequences to my actions and I often have no control over those consequences. Therefore, it has been very important for me to study these ideas out in my mind and come to a conclusion on gay marriage that honored both my faith and my personal ethic.
I believe in God. I believe He loves all his children, regardless of the choices they make. This love is unconditional. God doesn't make mistakes.
I believe God made man and woman. The biological differences between men and women compliment one another, not only physically, as in conceiving a child, but a male/female relationship is one of balance, emotional and physical. Our brains and bodies function differently. Scientific research shows that men are more connected to the logic part of their brain, while women are more in tune with emotions. The increased levels of testosterone in men lead to more aggression, while fluctuating hormones in women cause mood swings. These differences compliment one another.
I believe in a perfect God who does not favor one child, or one gender, over another. He would not want rights, which are privileges granted to a person because of her intrinsic value, to be given only to a select few. I believe the Constitution of the United States was divinely inspired. All people are equal and deserve the same rights, regardless of race, religion, gender, sexuality, etc.
Based on these truths, the first question brought to my mind was, “Is marriage a right?” No. Marriage is not a right. “Marriage” is only a term used to describe the long term, government recognized relationship between a man and a woman. There are elements in my relationship that do not exist in a homosexual relationship because of the biological differences between my husband and I. For example, my husband has the distinct ability to think about nothing. This is a very male specific talent.
I don’t think two women involved in a relationship would never have the following exchange: “What are you thinking about?”
“How can you be thinking about nothing?”
Conversely, two men in a relationship might never think to question his partner's ability to think about.... nothing. Two women sharing a bathroom may never have to check to see if the seat is up and two men may never have to worry about putting it down. Clearly, men and women are different and the relationship they create together is not the same as the relationship created between partners of the same sex; not superior, just different. Therefore, the term “marriage” does not apply to a homosexual relationship.
Any homosexual person, male or female, can enter into a marriage, but why would she want to, since she's not attracted to the opposite sex? Society currently describes a committed, government recognized relationship between two people of the same sex as a civil union or a domestic partnership. A majority of people in this country feel the term marriage does not apply to homosexual couples. In every state where gay marriage has gone to the ballot, gay marriage loses.
I didn't know until nearly a year after the Prop. 8 vote that the rights, privileges and benefits given to marriages and those given to civil unions are not equal. Quite frankly, this knowledge would not have changed my vote. However, it led me to ask the question, “Why not work to ensure civil unions have the same rights as those associated with marriage?” As Washington State just demonstrated, people are ready and willing to give the marriage rights and privileges to homosexual couples with the title civil union or domestic partnership. Some have said having both heterosexual marriages and homosexual civil unions would be similar to “separate but equal” laws prior to the civil rights movement. Marriage and civil unions will never be equal because they are not the same. However, the rights and privileges given to marriages and civil unions can, and should, be equal. Civil unions will only be perceived as inferior to marriage if those participating in civil unions feel that way. Gay rights activists should be working to increase the benefits associated with civil unions rather than change the definition of marriage.
Finally, I believe in charity, the pure love of Christ. I believe in cultivating charity within myself, always striving for patience and understanding for people around me. In the same way a zero populationist would disapprove of my decision to have four children, they cannot deny the beautiful people my children are becoming. So, while I don't condone homosexual behavior, I relish the wonderful, beautiful goodness of a person. And really, that's what we all are. People doing the best we can to get along in this very uncertain world. Without helping and loving one another, we lose our humanity. You may characterize me as a bigot, hateful and hypocritical. To that I say, okay. I accept that. I am not perfect, I am not without my own hypocrisies. However, it is not me you're judging, but only a small part of me, the part of me you like least.