For those of you not in California, State Proposition 8 is on our ballot this November. If it passes, it will officially ban homosexual marriage in our state. Naturally, this is a very controversial proposition!
On my way home tonight, I got caught in a traffic jam. I thought at first that there had been an accident, until I got to the pedestrian overcrossing. Spanning the walkway was a group of people holding up 'Yes on 8' signs.
I got angry. Someone should get up there with a 'No on 8' sign, I thought to myself. This was quickly followed by, Hey, I have a 'No on 8' sign! Go up there and face them all by myself? This was not something I'd ever done before, but I knew I'd regret it if I didn't. I went home, grabbed the sign, and drove to the overcrossing entrance.
I was trembling as I walked up the ramp. I wasn't interested in causing trouble, but there was a big group of them, and they were holding heavy signs. I realized I might have to stand my ground, which is something I'm not very good at.
I stood on one end of the overcrossing and quietly pressed my sign against the chain link. It was hard to tell sometimes which cars were honking for me and which for them, but I definitely had drivers waving directly at me (and flipping off the 'Yes' group). That felt good!
Eventually, one of the 'Yes' people, a girl who looked a little younger than me, sidled up to me. (I think she was sent to 'feel me out', as it were.) "So, how did you hear about this?" she asked. We carried on a civil conversation. She told me that she was in favor of Prop 8 because she felt marriage was about procreation, and kids should have a mother and a father. I countered that plenty of heterosexual couples can't or don't want to have kids, and they can still legally marry. She asked me if I'd mind being referred to as "Party A" instead of "Bride" on the marriage license should my boyfriend and I wed. I replied that it didn't matter what the license said; I'd still be in a veil and bridal gown, and nobody would mistake me for anything else. There was also the "domestic partnership is the same as marriage," argument, which I compared to the old "Separate but Equal" laws of segregation. "If it's truly equal, why not just call it the same thing?"
After about 15 minutes, the group dispersed. Two ladies about my mom's age came up to me. "It's not about marriage," said one. "If it was just about marriage, we'd be fine with it. It's about the bigger picture. Schools are going to teach our children about homosexuality. Don't you know what's happening in Massachusetts?" She handed me some literature that claims schools HAVE to teach about homosexual marriage once it's legalized, parents will have NO say in it, and that a father in Massachusetts was arrested for protesting what his kids were being taught.
I knew this was nonsense, but I didn't have any literature of my own to back me up, and I knew they weren't going to take my word. I simply stuck to the basic points that: a) I didn't think it fair to deprive a large group of people of their right to marry because of what may or may not get taught in school; b) I agreed completely that it was the parents' job to teach their kids about sex and all that, so why didn't they go ahead and do that?; c) If they're worried about rights being taken away, why were they voting to take away others' rights?
I'm sure I didn't convince them of anything, but I felt good that I tried - and kept it civil and polite the entire time. I took a stand today, and I'm proud of myself. :-)
This is going to be an extremely close vote, so please - if you live in CA, and you believe in equality for all, then on November 4th, go out and do this: