I have been nominally paying attention to all the various reactions of the passage of Proposition 8 in California regarding the issue of gay marriage. This controversy has recently become even more heated when it was announced that President-Elect Obama has invited Rev. Rick Warren, a staunch anti-gay marriage proponent of the Proposition, to give the inaugural invocation. From all that I have heard and read, I have a few thoughts I would like to share:
- I am under the impression that in a democracy (or a so-called democracy), one is allowed to have, express and advocate for ones opinion. .. within certain boundaries of-course. One of the ways that one can express their opinion is at the ballot box and if a democratic society creates a process by which the majority opinion will be the premise of a law, then so be it. However, if you hold strongly that it is an unjust law, then you have the opportunity and I would also add the moral obligation, to work to overturn that law through various strategies, with the assistance of those who hold the same view. The efforts of William Wilberforce, Gandhi, Martin Luther King and even the Quebec separatists here in Canada come to mind.
- I have never, never understood why in a democratic society, if I don’t hold the same opinion as you, why… at best I should be ridiculed or at worst demonized for expressing my beliefs!? Wasn’t it for the right to express my opinion that my ancestors… in North America, in the Caribbean and in the motherland of Africa… struggled and sacrificed so much, including their lives!? What therefore makes you feel entitled or gives you permission to devalue me as a human being because I don’t think as you do!?
- Then I’m hearing this notion that because the majority of Black people in California voted for Proposition 8, they are collectively to blame for the ban on gay marriage… and are therefore hate-mongers. I urge you to read these articles in The Black Agenda Report and The Black Sentinel on this allegation. They address it much better than I ever could.
Maybe it’s because I live in Canada, where the issue of gay marriage is no longer a controversial issue, that I don’t understand all the name-calling and demonizing from both sides of this issue south of the border. Canadians as a whole, rightly or wrongly, for better or worse, don’t get twisted and go way over the top on issues anyway. The Supreme Court of Canada found that it was unconstitutional for governments not to recognize gay marriages, so laws were changed and that was that. I remember at the time that some Christian leaders asked their members to write letters and submit petitions to their Members of Parliament to voice their disagreement, but I don’t remember any bitterness and/or nastiness from either sides of this issue. Don’t get me wrong, Canada is far from perfect and we have our own issues around racism, sexism and homophobia… but you would find more passion around the issue of which hockey team you support than around gay rights.
I also read that Rev. Joseph Lowery, an outspoken advocate for gay rights and marriage, has been invited by the President-Elect to do the inaugural benediction. So it appears that Obama is indeed a “uniter”.
From all that I have read, the most enlightening comment came from Marc responding to this post at The Kitchen Table: