Sunday, November 2, 2008

Ghosts, Goblins, Gays, and Ghouls

November 2, 2008. 6:20 p.m., Pacific Standard Time. Halloween isn't over yet.

Nevermind that I still have a haunted house to tear down, or that the annual Simpsons "Treehouse of Horror" episode hasn't aired yet. These things would be enough to delay the official retirement of Halloween 2008, but something else looms on America's horizon, something more frightening than any ghost or goblin . . . Election Day. A friend of mine texted me a few days ago and asked if I thought the liberal media had prematurely declared their winner, and I didn't reply because the following day I listened to Limbaugh and Hannity in the radio, both of whom predicted a very different outcome than "the mainstream," so . . . It's more suspenseful than any horror movie. Though, to be specific, I feel like the kid in the corner of the room in The Blair Witch Project.* I know something terrible is going to happen, and I'm going to be a part of it, but . . . what?

In the meantime, citizens can assume some control over their more local circumstances. Propositions, we call them. Even as I sit here at Starbucks, fifty or more folks are protesting California's Prop 8, which means to amend the state's constitution and define marriage as a union between only a man and a woman. In short, it wants to eliminate "gay marriage." I've heard all sides of the pro-Prop 8 argument, from the corporate resistance to permitting same sex partners the insurance rights of a traditional spouse, to the standard religious arguments, but I can't buy either of them. I'm definitely voting no on Prop 8, for many reasons, the first and foremost of which is its discriminatory context. What business owners and the religious fail to realize is that once we decide to change the state constitution in a way that definitively excludes a certain group of people, they might be soon to follow as a potentially discriminated group. Like censorship, this sword is double-edged; even if you're the one swinging it, you still stand the risk of slicing yourself.

To the business owners, I would suggest that their fear about paying overwhelming, domestically defined insurance premiums is small change in comparison to how they might limit their potential employee pool with this rejection. Generally, married people are more stable and productive in the workplace, and I don't know how a "gay married" person would be any different. To the religious, my argument is more philosophical; frankly, by so publicly protesting Prop 8, they've given the homosexual community a bigger opportunity and platform to spread their word, too. In the case of wanting to abolish something, keeping it subversive is best, lest it attract more supporters. Folks that might have voted for Prop 8 for tradition's sake might have since reconsidered it as a civil rights issue and decided to vote it down. A more persuasive argument about the supposedly destructive nature of gay marriage is to let it pass; then, when the first gay couple divorces, religious zealots can proclaim, "See! We told you so! It just doesn't work!"

Of course, how many business owners have used the benefits of an insurance premium for their own ends? How many "religious" people (I'm avoiding the term "Christian" to be all-inclusive) have been divorced, defiling marriage's "sacred tradition?" There's that swinging sword again.

Homosexual themes have been pretty pervasive in my blogs lately. No, I'm not coming out, but I'm waking up to the reality that these people, men and women, are a vocal sect of our general American fabric, and they deserve a chance at life, liberty, and most specifically the pursuit of happiness as much as everyone else. Gay marriage won't lead to polygamy, or bestiality, or any of the other extreme hypotheticals I've heard. At the very worst, it will lead to either more families, or more divorce. Like this election at the Presidential level, it will lead to something different . . . that will seem somehow exactly the same. We're cornered, and it's scary.

* Speaking of Blair Witch, I reviewed the Oni Blair Witch comic book at A Comic A Day. Check it out!

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