On Sunday, I had scribbled a note to myself that I should blog about my “emotional” vote on Prop 8, largely because I don’t think some of our gay left readers understand why I wavered.
I considered leaving Prop 8 blank in part because I didn’t want to deliver a victory to those angry activists (yes, they were angry even before the vote) who regularly decried the proponents of the proposition as haters or otherwise mean-spirited.Â Few took the time to understand that legitimate objections to same-sex marriage that some social conservatives have.
In the end, it was emotion which caused me to vote against Prop 8, the warm feelings I held for a lesbian couple who had recently gotten married here in the Golden State.Â In the way those two ladies related to each other, they showed that they understood the meaning of marriage.
Earlier today, a reader e-mailed me Debra Saunders’s column where she expresses an ambivalence on Prop 8 similar to my own as well as my outrage at the narrow-minded mean-spirited gay marriage advocates who so readily demonize their adversaries.
Unlike me, however, she abstained on 8:
I was so conflicted, I punted. I did not vote either way. I’m not proud of my nonvote, but as I watch the fallout from Proposition 8’s 52 percent victory, I’ve seen things that are forcing me out of my closet.
Like me, she’s bothered by the rhetoric of some of those advocates:
There has been too little recognition of the fact that marriage has been limited to unions between members of the opposite sex since about as long as there have been laws.
Activists would argue that Prop. 8 “took away” their rights — as if the five months between the George decision and Prop. 8’s passage outweigh thousands of years of human history. . . .
. . .in California, domestic partnerships provided all the benefits that came with same-sex marriage a la Ron George — except the name “marriage.” . . . .Â In other words, when activists complain that Proposition 8 “took away” their rights, the only right changed was the ability to call themselves married under state law. The other benefits stand.
So, let’s have a civil discussion of gay marriage and be honest about the meaning of Proposition 8.Â It all boils down to having the state calling same-sex unions marriage.
Gay marriage advocates need do a better job of making clear what that word matters so much.