Whenever I drive around my neighborhood, I bristle at the almost ubiquitous “No on 8” signs, with their slogan “Equality for All.”Â This line suggests equality of results, not of opportunity and represents a perversion of the America creed.
Equality for all, I fear, means freedom for none.Â And freedom is the ideal which inspired our nation’s founders as well as those of my own political party.Â It is the animating idea of almost every great political speech in American history.Â Indeed, even Barack Obama uses the word, “freedom,” three times in his celebrated 2004 address to the Democratic National Convention.Â (He did not once use the noun, “equality,” but did use its adjectival form, “equal” when quoting the Declaration of Independence.)
It’s not just that slogan which troubles me.Â It’s also the attitude of many opponents of 8 who treat supporters of the initiative as narrow-minded troglodytes animated by a hatred of homosexuals (and yes, there are some guilty of such animus).Â But, many of them simply see marriage as the union of one man and one woman and have legitimate concerns about how state recognition of same-sex marriage will impact their freedom and that of their religious organizations to maintain the traditional definition of that ancient institution.
(To that end, as I expressed in this post, this line in the latest ad against 8, “Because regardless of how you feel about marriage, it’s wrong to treat people differently under the law,” could be quite effective.)
A reader wrote in, telling me that 25 “Yes on 8” signs had been stolen from his neighborhood in Orange County. Yet, more evidence that gay marriage advocates don’t want to discuss this issue and resent those who criticize them.
Not to mention the e-mails I get reminding me of the imperative of supporting the “No on 8” campaign because of how mean-spirited and dishonest the “Yes” campaign is. Can’t they just make a positive case for gay marriage?
So, on Friday, troubled by the “Equality for All” slogan and reading much vindictiveness from the “No” folks, I felt I couldn’t possibly join their cause.
Then, at synagogue, I saw a lesbian couple who had recently gotten married. Both sported “No on 8” stickers. Having spent much time with these two ladies, I know they understand what marriage means. I realized there could be a human cost to a “Yes” vote. Their relationship did more to influence my vote on this initiative than the myriad e-mails cluttering my in-box.
Perhaps that’s why I thought the first ad against 8 would be so effective.