Thursday, May 7, 2009

Not just about semantics

In this morning’s Ventura County Reporter

Prop. 8 is just about semantics

Your recent letter from a reader equating any support of Prop. 8 (letters, 4/23) to the worst kind of bigotry was just one letter too many for me. The writer, as so many others have recently, rants and froths about his views and describes all who disagree with him as equal to those who carried out the Holocaust. Perhaps he should hold a mirror to himself when he quotes Wikipedia defining a bigot as “a person who is intolerant of, or takes offense to, the opinions, lifestyles or identities differing from his or her own.” I would say he certainly fits the picture. As would the judge who dropped Miss California from the beauty contest last month for stating that she believed in the traditional view of “marriage.”

Talk about bigotry!

Throughout my long lifetime, I have had many gay and lesbian friends who were very near and dear to me. Yet I am one of the “Nazi’s” who voted in favor of Prop. 8. Perhaps it might be because for centuries the honored term of “marriage” has referred to the lawful union of a man and a woman. When I marry a heterosexual couple, I refer to husband and wife. Were I to join a gay couple, I would use the term spouse or partner, whichever they chose, and use the term union or something similar, not marriage.

If the writer were not so rabid and closed-minded on this issue, he might awake to the realization that a huge majority of “yes” voters felt the same. They do not “hate” those who are different. But they did not wish to see the word “marriage” diluted by having it encompass absolutely any domestic living arrangement possible.

These voters did not wish to prevent “rights” from being granted to others. They just do not wish to see their age-old contract of “marriage” diminished in any way. Opponents of Prop. 8 are certainly free to promote any type of union they wish. Just don’t change the historic role of marriage and make it something it has never been.

Bud Stuart, Santa Barbara

Bud Stuart’s view of same-sex marriage in the Ventura County Reporter online this morning is a classic example of the kind of misinformation we are up against in the struggle to recognize the prejudices that have kept gay people from being fully American. He’s not against gays, he says – some of his best friends, etc. etc. He’s only protecting the institution of the “honored term of 'marriage'.”

Mr. Stuart could do with a bit of study on the actual history of marriage. And it wouldn’t hurt him to read up as well on the struggle for rights for women, for blacks, for Catholics and Jews, for the handicapped in this country, to throw off the conviction by those who held them down that they were doing the Lord's work in maintaining their status as lesser beings in terms of the law.

He speaks of others as “rabid and close-minded” but fails to see the closed-mindedness in his own view when he insists Prop. 8 supporters only wanted not “to see the word “marriage” diluted by having it encompass absolutely any domestic living arrangement possible (italics mine).”

He does a great disservice to those loving couples who have struggled long and hard in their own lives to establish a long-term loving relationship with a life partner. To make not just "any living arrangement," but a lifetime commitment.

Until the Bud Stuarts of the world get their facts straight, we’ve got a lot of work to do.

posted by Erasmus on 5/07/09 @ 07:16 a.m

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