My mother says she thinks that my Uncle Neil will probably vote against Proposition 8, and that he just doesn't tend to reply to any email he receives. However, she says my grandfather might vote for Proposition 8, because his church brainwashes him into it. I decided to send them both an email, using my letter to Susan's neighbors as a starting point to revise from. Here's the version I ended up sending to my grandfather. The one I sent to my Uncle Neil was identical except for putting the paragraphs in a different order and changing a few words here and there.
Dear Grandma and Grandpa,
Here are some reasons to vote No on Proposition 8:
Proposition 8 takes away freedom of religion. It prevents churches that support same-sex marriages, such as the United Church of Christ, from performing them. And it prevents people who don't belong to any church from practicing whatever form of marriage they believe in. By contrast,legalizing same-sex marriages has not forced any churches to start performing them - neither in California nor in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Canada, Norway, South Africa, Spain, or any of the other places where same-sex marriages are legal.
Proposition 8 is paid for by a campaign whose legal team openly refuses to hire non-Christians. On its job opening web page at http://www.alliancedefensefund.org/about/employment/Default.aspx , the Alliance Defense Fund requires all job applicants to swear they agree with a specific list of seven Christian beliefs as a condition of employment. They claim they have the right to discriminate because they call themselves "not a law firm, but a ministry" - yet the services they provide are legal services.
Proposition 8 harms children. Many opposite-sex parents divorce and remarry. Sometimes the stepparents are of the same sex. By making it illegal for same-sex parents to marry, Proposition 8 condemns their children to having unmarried parents. The lack of this legally and socially binding commitment between their parents, and between the stepparent and the children, deprives these children of the stability they need. Even if you believe the children would be better off with opposite-sex parents, do you really imagine that preventing their same-sex parents from marrying will somehow cause them to find love with the opposite sex instead? And do you really think it would benefit the children to be put through another round of upheaval and changing parental figures anyway? Surely, compassion, commitment, and responsible parenting behavior should be higher priorities in choosing a stepparent for one's children than gender.
Proposition 8 undermines primary purposes of the judiciary branch and the state constitution. Constitutions have traditionally been intended to guarantee rights, not to take rights away.The judiciary branch has traditionally been responsible for preventing majority groups from using their majority vote to deprive minority groups of their rights. The majority (white) population abused its majority vote when it outlawed interracial marriages, so the California Supreme Court had to step in and legalize those marriages in 1948. The majority (heterosexual) population abused its majority vote in the same way by outlawing same-sex marriages, so the California Supreme Court stepped in again in the same way. It is wrong for the majority heterosexual population to be given the opportunity to vote to make same-sex marriages illegal again six months later, just as it would have been wrong to allow the majority white population to vote about whether tore-outlaw interracial marriages six months after the Supreme Court legalized them in 1948.
Proposition 8 is promoted on the basis of false history. Its proponents continually repeat the false claim that marriage has "always" been between members of the opposite sex. This is completely untrue. Same-sex marriages existed for centuries in the Fujian and Guangdong provinces of China, and in more than 30 African cultures,including the Yoruba and Ibo of West Africa; the Nuer of Sudan; the Azande of the Congo; the Lovedu, Zulu and Sotho of South Africa; and the Kikuyu and Nandi of East Africa. A majority of Native American societies, including the Navajo, Mohave, Arapaho, Omaha, Sioux, Oglala, Cheyenne, Creek, and Lakota, also performed same-sex marriages.
Proposition 8 revives the long-disproven myth of "separate but equal." Its supporters claim it's fair and equal to label my marriage a "domestic partnership" and reserve the term "marriage" for opposite-sex couples, as long as the laws are the same. But how is that any different from believing it's fair and equal to reserve a certain water fountain for white people only, as long as the water in the black people's water fountains is the same? Being forced to spend the rest of my life introducing Susan as "my girlfriend" or "my domestic partner" or "this woman I love, who loves me too, but who isn't legally recognized as my wife even though that's what she is" is clearly not equal to introducing her as my wife.
Proposition 8 turns marriage into a commodity that only the rich have full access to. Because constitutional amendments are not retroactive, the same-sex couples who married before Election Day will still be married if Proposition 8 passes. Ellen and Portia DeGeneres will still be married. George Takei and Brad Altman, together 21 years, will still be married. Proposition 8 does not have the power to undo their marriages. But because Susan did not have the money to file for dissolution of her domestic partnership sooner, and didn't want to deprive her ex of health insurance by filing immediately, Proposition 8 has the power to prevent our marriage. Other couples who lacked money for a lawyer or health insurance are similarly deprived of marriage, while almost any upper-class same-sex couple that currently exists has already had the opportunity to marry.
Proposition 8 allows strangers to vote to call off your granddaughter's wedding. How much more Orwellian can Election Day get than that? It is my own and Susan's business to decide to get married. If other people disapprove, they have the right to choose not to congratulate me. They do not have the right to vote to call off my wedding.