This is part of my concluding reply from a discussion about Proposition 8. I hope it will explain why someone who neither hates, nor is afraid of gay people or same-gender relationships, would still support such a proposition. Please consider it and know that I am sincere.
Thanks to everyone who has been a part of this discussion so far. I really appreciate being able to have a thoughtful, respectful exchange like this. I'm afraid everyone may be tired of hearing from me, but I would like to say how much I love and respect you all. I hope you don't mind if I shift the discussion here to clarify one important point and to share what defending this issue has meant for me personally.
I realize I've been pretty vocal about defending my constitutional right to have and legislate my views. And while I may be accused of discrimination, because of the sincere belief I hold about what marriage truly is, it cannot be claimed as unlawful discrimination. To be sure, in the purest meaning of the word "discriminate" (recognize or perceive the difference) I AM discriminating, but it is not based on
prejudice. It is based on my firm belief--which can be debated, but cannot be conclusively proven false--that marriage means, and has always meant, the joining of man and woman. The claim that it means, or should be changed to mean, anything other than that is a relatively new claim in the context of human history.
Now please, on a personal note, I would like you to consider something else that I consider significant and would like to make perfectly clear. I do not hate gay people. I do not think they should be prevented from loving and committing themselves to someone they love. Further, I do not think marriage should be reserved for me because I think I am better than another person. To the contrary, I believe marriage and family are the most important, most fulfilling, most noble things in this life, and yes, because of my religious beliefs, in all of eternity as well. And I sincerely desire for ALL to have it. I find it truly heartbreaking that good, loving, committed people, some of whom I know and love personally, should be denied this opportunity. But it is not because they are less of a person or less deserving, or even less righteous than I am. It is because they have chosen a pattern which is inconsistent with the true definition of marriage. (Also, I would like to reiterate that defining marriage as between a man and woman will not revoke any rights that civil unions and domestic partnerships currently allow and will not prevent same-gender couples from being committed to each other.) Furthermore, I am NOT asserting that homosexual desires are something a person can choose or control, but behavior is. I am not ignorant of the fact that someone who is attracted to the same sex would find it incredibly, even painfully, difficult to not act on those desires. To the contrary, it hurts me as well and I don't think I'm overstating it to say that I feel sincere anguish. But these points relate to the reason I define marriage the way I do and are beyond the scope of Proposition 8. Prop 8 does not pass judgment, prevent, or punish a person from acting on homosexual desires or from committing to any person they choose--it merely defines the term "marriage" as being between a woman and a man.
So if I'm not motivated by hate or fear, and I know that what I am defending is causing sincere, loving, capable people pain, why should I do it? Why don't I put my personal beliefs aside and allow for a change in marriage? Consider also, please, that by defending my view I will (and have been) be accused of bigotry and stupidity. Why go through all this unnecessary pain on both sides? Can you imagine, please, what it
might feel like to knock on a door, pick up the phone, or write out a message when you are certain to be reviled and persecuted? You may not think so from the way I have been so vocal in this forum, but I am not a confrontational person. I normally avoid it whenever possible. Those of you who know me personally can affirm this. I am extremely uncomfortable with the thought that something I do brings another pain. The only thing that could motivate me to defend my belief in marriage so fiercely is that it is true.
Sincerely and respectfully,
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