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Gay People & Straight Facts
Room for Squares
by Philip Wong on Oct 17, 2008
With this yearís election looming not three weeks in the distance, itís important to get the facts straight. As with all things having to do with politics, public perception of ballot issues has become rife with misinformation. The litany of myths surrounding Proposition 8 alone has ranged from innocent misunderstandings to dangerous accusations. In what could be one of the most important elections of our generation, itís important not to let half truths or, in many cases, complete falsehoods determine our fates.
Misinformation, like all propaganda, is designed at its worst to create confusion. At its ďbest,Ē it instills fear. You can only imagine what stories are being told in areas where homosexuals, and more specifically same-sex marriage, remain clouds on an otherwise unblemished horizon. It makes sense that the proponents of Prop 8 would rally support from people who still donít understand the idea of same-sex couples getting married. We all fear things that we donít understand. Itís a part of human nature. But to prey on those fears to the detriment of others is cruel and underhanded. And thatís exactly what these myths do.
Iíve heard many stories about what would happen if Prop 8 were to fail in its quest to eliminate and deny the rights of gay Californians. All these myths have a sort of snowball effect. For instance, if the knight fails to slay the dragon, does it necessarily follow that the entire world is going to burn? No, it doesnít. Likewise, if Prop 8 fails, the children of California are not all suddenly going to grow up gay.
As surprising as it may seem to anybody who has a working head on his shoulders, this fear for the future of our children is actually a legitimate concern in the eyes of many Californians. Some people have even taken to registering to vote just to make sure Prop 8 passes. Thatís right. People are not registering to vote in order to secure their own rights. No, theyíre too lazy for that. They will, however, register to vote in order to deny the rights of other people. Folks are crazy.
Calm the heck down. We havenít put anything in the water, and we arenít planning to. We simply want to get married. Whether or not that will adversely affect your taxes, I donít know. However, I do know that whoever gets elected as the next President will. So if you donít want your taxes to increase, vote for whichever candidate you think will keep that from happening. And hell, if you absolutely feel you must vote in favor of Prop 8, at least make sure that youíre doing so for the ďrightĒ reasons.
In a sense, Iím preaching to the choir here. Because we are an LGBT community I canít imagine anyone being in favor of Prop 8 (undoubtedly, Iím sure some exist). But that doesnít mean that we donít individually know of people either at work or socially who disagree. These people are the ones with whom we must engage in thoughtful discussion and informative exchange.
To give you an example, my friendís coworker said that she was going to register to vote in order to help pass Prop 8 because she had heard that should the proposition fail, her young children, who are in primary school, will be taught by teachers that itís okay for them to marry whomever and whatever they want. While it can be assumed that the failure of Prop 8 will foster a sense of acceptance over tolerance in our society, it is not correct to assume that there will be any changes to school curricula. The proposition simply proposes to restrict marriage to being between a man and a woman. Itís still going to mean that. The definition isnít in danger, nor is the heterosexuality of their children.
Get it straight, folks. Thereís no brainwashing clause built into any of our marriage licenses. Simply put, no teacher is going to teach his students to marry other kids of the same sex, or goats, or vacuum cleaners for that matter. What they can be sure of, however, is that their children will be taught to accept the kids who do, and that itís not okay to throw stones at them. At the end of the day, only their parents can teach them that.
by Philip Wong on Oct 17, 2008