Friday, November 14, 2008

Civil Rights

While I was overjoyed to see Barrack Obama voted into office, one thing has soured the experience for me - one thing has robbed the victory of some portion of its sweetness. In my home state of California, prop 8, the constitutional amendment to ban homosexual marriages, passed.

There have been massive protests ever since.

Today I heard on the news that, across the state, city and local officials are joining the protest against Prop 8, working to see this gross injustice overturned. I have never been prouder of them in my life.

The issue of whether or not homosexual couples should be allowed to marry is not a matter of religious conviction, but rather of secular conviction: it is a matter of convictions which, uttered at the dawn of our nation's history, hold no less true today. "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness..."

This is about civil rights. This is about the necessary separation of Church and State. This is about whether or not it is acceptable in a free society for a majority to strip civil rights from a minority; in the same faith with which our founders penned those mighty words, we assert that it is not. We have seen too much to believe for even a moment that the desire of the majority - 'separate but equal' - is anything less than institutionalized injustice, and in unified spirit with Doctor Martin Luther King Jr and every civil rights leader who ever stood up for a despised minority, we hold to the faith that though the arc of the moral universe is long, it bends towards justice in the end.

Monday, November 03, 2008

California's Proposition 8

I suppose there are very few people out there who are unaware of prop 8 on tomorrow's ballot, but in the unlikely event that any of you come across this blog, prop 8 is the one that strips homosexuals of the right to marry under the guise of "protecting traditional marriage."

It probably comes as no surprise to know that I am against proposition 8.

What the 'protect traditional marriage!' crowd fails to understand is that there is a difference between a marriage as facilitated by the state and the sacrament of marriage. It is an unfortunate coincidence of our language that we use the same word for both. One is a category in which couples receive legal benefits and protections. The other is a religious sacrament - in Christian theology, one of the seven sacraments of Evangelical Law (note: 'evangelical here does not in any way refer to the evangelical movement). Now, a church can do whatever it likes, but the state must not discriminate illegally in its contracts. If your particular church or denomination chooses not to recognize homosexual unions as participants in the sacrament of marriage, that is your right. I disagree with you, but I respect your right to make this decision. But it is immoral to exclude homosexual couples from the benefits and protections granted to couples in marriage as facilitated by the state.

It is my great hope that the majority of Californians will agree with me, and choose to say no to institutionalized hatred, discrimination, and injustice. We'll see what happens.