Monday, October 24, 2005

The Gay Vote

Note: I don’t know where I stand on the gay marriage issue. I just want that pointed out in the beginning of this entry.

Over the past 1.5 years I’ve taken on a new area of study in my life. I’ve set aside my psychology textbooks and have paid boo-koos of dollars on books that say “social work” on the front. I will be honest and say it was and still is hard for me to not be treading along my psychology path any longer. Psychology is SO me! And if I thought I could handle school long enough to go all the way for a doctorate right now, I’d still be in psychology, but since I was, and still pretty much am so burnt out on school right now, I’m traveling the way of a social worker, simply because a masters in social work opens up a lot more downs than a masters in psychology, plus, I can eventually go into practice on my own with only a masters in social work, unlike having a masters in psychology. Enough with that though…

So, while I’m still yet to be really “sold” on social work, I can tell you I’ve recently found myself complaining about all the stuff I don’t like about the social work discipline in comparison to the psychology discipline to some fellow psychology undergraduate friends of mine who are also “stuck” in this social work program….HA! One thing that I probably should keep hush-hush about, but I don’t really care, is the fact that I don’t know how much I like our social work code of ethics….HA! Without going into a lot of detail on that specifically, let me give you a scenario I’m working with right now on this topic…

Many of you Texans who are big political follows I’m sure already know about this, as many of you other Texans who might have gotten some of the circulating emails. And apparently, there is even an automotive phone calling service going around about it…HA! Whatever the case, there is going to be a proposition on the November ballot, here in Texas which is to write into the Bill of Rights of the Texas Constitution an amendment which would be banning marriage, civil unions, and domestic partnerships for gay and lesbian couples.

Now here is where I stand…

I don’t know where I stand on the issue, but let’s say I went along with my Church of Christ family background and valued the sanctity of marriage and its definition of being between a male and a female. Having said all of that, that would mean I would totally for this proposition. I would want it to be in place to keep gay couples from taking part in the unity of marriage which I believed is only to be for a male and a female couple. Obviously this would represent a personal value of my own, even religiously based I suppose.

Now, as a social worker, based on our code of ethics, I’m supposed to always put the best interests of my clients first. Realizing I will have gay clients, I am supposed to treat them justly. Let’s face it, social work is ALL about the treating everyone the same thing, which is cool you know, I’m not dogging it. So, as a social worker, I’m being asked to set aside my value of marriage being between a man and a woman; I’m being asked to set aside my religious beliefs; and stretching it even further, as the good ol’ Church of Christ ways are, the belief that homosexuality is a sin—that means I would be being asked to encourage a sinful lifestyle when I’m allowing for gay marriage to exist.

Okay, so do you see my struggle here?

Let me bring it more home with this…

Over the past two weeks I have gotten two emails about this Proposition from two friends of mine. One email was from one stance on the issue and the other from the other stance. One of the emails was written on October 11th, which was official “coming out day,” and it was written by a lesbian friend I have. Her email was written from a personal standpoint and really made me think.

The other email, though not to discredit it, or the person it came from, was the typical “let’s circulate this form email as quickly as we can to EVERYONE we know before November 8th gets here.” If this email did anything for me, it really just made me think how judgmental “Christians” can be. I don’t say to in reference to any specific Christians I know, I say it in reference to the “Christians” that the email was so frequently referring too.

Let me share the two emails with you here and let you judge for yourself. And let me end with this…

Like I mentioned in the beginning, I don’t know where I stand on the topic of gay marriages. I even wrote a paper over it last semester for a class where I had to debate both sides of the issue and I STILL couldn’t pick a side, but I will say this, if anyone out there, Christian or not Christian wants to shoot me a comment or an email defending the reasoning for voting “Yes” to this proposition (which means saying, yes, gay marriages should be banned), I’d love to hear a less “form email” explanation for that defense. Not saying I’m leaning one way or another…I just love hearing both sides! HA!

Email one…
Happy National Coming Out Day!
Today is National Coming Out Day--a day that some people choose to let people who are close to them (or not) know that they are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transexual, queer, etc. It is also the day that I am asking you to "come out" in support of human rights for everyone in Texas.

In the upcoming November elections in Texas, there will be a measure on the ballot--Proposition 2-- which seeks to write unequal treatment for gay and lesbian Texans into the Bill of Rights of the Texas Constitution by banning marriage, civil unions, and domestic partnerships for gay and lesbian couples.

I have thought long and hard about this amendment and why I care about it. It's not just because I am in a same-sex relationship; it's not just because it will affect me and my partner significantly in ways beyond state recognition of our relationship--like our home ownership, our ability to visit eachother in the hospital, our ability to name eachother as emergency contacts with hospitals and other agencies, our ability to name eachother in our wills; it's not just because it will affect the family we build. All of those are great reasons to vote against this measure.

But most of you receiving this email, while you may care about me and my partner, won't be affected similarly. I will be voting against this amendment, and I am asking you to do the same, because it sets a standard for entrenching the denial of freedom and liberty to an entire group of people based on culture, lifestyle, personal choice, and biology. Please consider the impact of this movement on something that you care about and something that you take for granted every day--it might be your freedom, it might be your family, it might be the security that you draw from living in a society that purports to grant us all the same civil rights.

As I have said before, if you are unsure of how you feel about this issue--I welcome the opportunity to talk with you about it. Not because I want to "sell" you on my ideas, but because I think we will be a more cohesive and tolerant community if we understand and listen to views that are different from our own.

When I sent out the last email like this, I didn't hear from a whole lot of people, and thankfully, most of the people who did reply did so to let me know of their wholehearted support of human rights for all people in our state. But much later, I did hear from someone who originally disagreed with me and thought that same-sex marriage should be banned. She told me that after meeting me, knowing me and reading my letter, she thought about it for awhile and had changed her mind. Talking about it, "coming out" if you will, REALLY DOES MAKE A DIFFERENCE. So not only am I asking you to vote against Proposition 2, I am asking you to talk with other people about it. Let them know how you feel. Forward my email on to them.
Please "come out" with me--
P.S.--If you want more information about this proposed amendment or what you can do to defeat it, you can visit
http://www.nononsenseinnovember.com/ or http://www.lgrl.org

Email two...

If you get this and you are not a Texan-please forward it on to people who ARE Texans and encourage them to go to the polls and VOTE on Nov. 8. And other states need to watch for this. This is how Roe v. Wade got voted in; Christians were complacent and didn't realize what was going on, and being voted on. SO PLEASE MARK YOUR CALENDARS-and go vote on NOV. 8!!!

Proposition 2 - on the November 8, 2005 Ballot

Please forward this email to every Christian that you know. It is important that the Christian voters of Texas speak loud and clear in November, by SUPPORTING and voting YES to Prop.2.

You may be wondering why you have not heard of this proposed amendment before? The answer is simple. There is a grassroots effort in our Texas gay communities to keep conservatives in the dark. Since there will not be any big elections this November, the probability of people getting out to vote are slim. The gay community is planning to use our complacency against us. While we are not voting, they will be!


PRAY!!! that the believers in Texas will rise up to vote in support of this resolution.

ACT!!! We are in need of Christians to educate the community of Prop. 2

The proposition currently reads as follows:

A Joint Resolution Proposing a constitutional amendment providing that marriage in this state consists only of the union of one man and one woman.

Be it resolved by the legislature of the State of Texas:

Section 1. Article I, Texas Constitution, is amended by adding Section 32 to read as follows:

Sec. 32. (a) Marriage in this state shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman.

(b)This state or a political subdivision of this state may not create or recognize any legal status identical or similar to marriage.

Section 2. This state recognizes that through the designation of guardians, the appointment of agents, and the use of private contracts,persons may adequately and properly appoint guardians and arrange rights relating to hospital visitation, property, and the entitlement to proceeds of life insurance policies without the existence of any legal status identical or similar to marriage.

Section 3. This proposed constitutional amendment shall be submitted to the voters at an election to be held November 8, 2005. The ballot shall be printed to permit voting for or against the proposition:

"The constitutional amendment providing that marriage in this state consists only of the union of one man and one woman and prohibiting this state or a political subdivision of this state from creating or BR recognizing any legal status identical or similar to marriage."

9 comments:

Mark E. Lopez said...

I haven't read the two emails, but that's because I have a very strong personal opinion on this matter.

And, in truth, I believe there shouldn't be ANY governmental hand in something like marriage. If it's become such a 'religious' issue with people, I really believe the concept of a 'legal' definition is preposterous. Religion shouldn't be brought into 'any' argument regarding the American government.

Also, people engaged in same-sex relationships are 'not' second-rate citizens, and should be given the 'exact' same rights as every other citizen. I would be perfectly happy if all of the 'legal' benefits and side effects of marriage were removed, and it became purely a 'religious' experience. It would make it so that if 'this' priest won't marry you, you go find another one, and I'm SURE there are priests and religious figures who'll marry couples (regardless of what some people believe are 'core' beliefs of "the Christian faith"). Or perhaps, they could make it so that while you filled out a 'civil union' licence, same-sex or heterosexual couple, you could do whatever religious ceremony you wanted. Just DIVIDE them.

Amanda B. said...

I don't live in Texas, I'm not homosexual, and I do consider myself Christian. But looking at the proposed amendment from a purely "logical" standpoint, isn't it quite contradictory that an amendment to be included in the BILL OF RIGHTS is actually calling for ensuring that rights are DENIED?

I'm sure you can guess where I stand on the issue.

In response to Mark's comment about marriage being reserved for the religious sphere: Perhaps I misunderstand your comment, but reserving marriage for the religious sphere may not be such a good idea either, since marriage for some people has nothing to do with religion. Although I identify with the Christian faith, my husband is an athiest, so our marriage actually didn't have anything to do with religion. To deny those who are not religious the opportunity to proclaim their monogomous relationship to the world is, in my eyes, just as bad as denying gays and lesbians the right to do the same.

FeedingYourMind said...

Mark: I'm not going to say this to be rude in any sense, but I think your first statement in your blog is what bothers me the most. I think choosing to not read the two emails based on the idea that you have a strong personal opinion on the matter is a PERFECT example of what I find frustrating on people who are being close-minded on an issue.

It's one thing not to read something because you have no interest in it, but if you obviously have interest, but your opinion is just SOOOO stong and passionate in one direction, so strong to the point that simply reading (or hearing) the other side has the potential of ruining your day, or bringing out complete anger in you, you have one of two situations in my opinion:

1) a situation where you might need "passion-management" (it's a close cousin to "anger-management"...HA!)

or...

2) a situation in which you choosing to be only open to your view on the matter...AKA close-minded to even hearing out the other side. No one is requiring you to agree with them, it is simply the other side. If anything, it allows an opportunity for you to bring up points from what they say to try to debate how you think your view is "more appropriate" (I won't say right or wrong, but you know what I'm saying).

Hear people out. That's just something I try to preach in my blogs. I encourage differences and feel we all should be willing to look at things from other sides, whether we agree with them or not...religion is a BIG one with me. ;)

Having said that, I appreciate you comments!

I will tell you this, at first when I was just beginning to go through your comment I was thinkin, "Well, I think you can't take government out of marriage completely if you still want the benefits that government offers with marriage", but then I saw you say that later, that you would be fine with removing the "legal benefits."

Hmmm...as for making marriage totally a religious ordeal, I don't know what I think of that either though. Personally, as one not really into a particular religion at this point in my life, I still would love to be married, and I don't see that religious in any way. I suppose it comes down to what are we considering "marriage." Just the idea of two people being together and giving each other rings? I mean if you take away the "legal" benefits, what else completely signifies a marriage? Just getting the marriage license?

Oh well....who knows...HA!

FeedingYourMind said...

Amanda: HA! I love it! Way to point out the irony to this amendment! HA! But as a "converted Texan" I'm gonna have to stick up for my fellow converts and true-born Texans and say...

Don't go making this out to be a Texan thing...HA! Missouri actually already has this amendment to their constitution I'm almost positive. While I'm too lazy to dig out my paper I did on this topic last semester, I'm almost positive Missouri was actually one of the FIRST states to add it, though many have already followed.

Sorry, I just HAD to throw that in there, because I like to think you're giving me a hard time for coming down here and I like to give ya a hard time back! I know you weren't making it out to be a Texas thing, but I wanted to make it seem that way...HA! ;)

Anyways...

I really appreciate your comment about marriage not necessarily having to be a religious thing. And though I don't think Mark was saying it HAS to be, he just said he had no problem if we wanted to make it a strictly religious thing, I have to agree with you and say I think marriage can be an important NOT religious aspect of two people's lives.

On another note....an atheist huh? Me and your hubby might need to talk...HA! I enjoy a good discussion with why people choose their beliefs or lack there of! ;) It is just an area that really interests me, since a lot of people think of it as "bad"...those atheists you know! ;) HA!

However, as I know you probably read my blogs a few back, I suppose the real question is....though he may be an atheist, is he agnostic or nostic! ;) HA!

Sorry...didn't mean to devert this comment to another topic. I'm done...HA!

Amanda B. said...

Kimberly--oh, geez! In no way did I even mean to make it a Texas thing!! I just meant to say that I'm not from Texas, so I'm not all up on the exact situation surrouding the Texas amendment, etc. Lord knows that Missouri does a TON of things that I disagree with, so I in no way meant to imply that Texas was the only state doing this or even that Texas was a horrible state for considering it. Sorry for the confusion.

As for the agnostic/nostic thing, I think he's agnostic, doesn't believe that there could possibly be a god. He's very scientific about things, so I guess that's his reasoning. To be quite honest, we don't talk about religion stuff often because our ways of thinking about it (not just our beliefs) are so extremely different. Only when we're both prepared to get into a great long discussion do we attempt religion! Hah!

FeedingYourMind said...

Amanda: I was TOTALLY messing with you! HA! You know me better than that! I just made it up that you were making it out to be a Texas thing...HA! It was obvious that you weren't making it out to be a Texas thing...I just thought it'd be fun to act like you were! ;)

Second...awww, but don't long discussions make life grand! HA! ;)

And, based on what you appear to be saying, I'm going to have to correct you, but FIRST I must correct myself...

I wrote agnostic or nostic...that's wrong...it is agnostic or gnostic...my deepest appoligies! HA!

Now, if he "doesn't believe that there could possibly be a god" then that would make him 'gnostic' not 'agnostic.' Which in case would make him a "gnostic atheist." Which means he he has a lack of a belief in God (or gods) because he believes there is knowledge (science in his case) that can prove that God does not exist...assuming it is how you said, couldn't possibly be a god.

Agnostic on the other hand believes there isn't enough knowledge one way or another to say God (or gods) exist or not. ;)

Once again...I was just messing with you about the Texas/Missouri thing! HA!

However, if we WANT to go back to 5th grade when we hated each other, just let me know! ;) HA! just kidding about going back there too! ;)

Amanda B. said...

Hah! I TOTALLY was confused about everything yesterday! Whew, now I can clarify/correct myself.

First, I thought that you thought that I was making it into a Texas thing. I completely missed the part of your comment where you said that you knew I wasn't but wanted to make it seem like that! Regardless, while I personally am not a Texas gal, I respect you crazy Texans just as I do people from all of the other wonderful states--hehe.

Second, I was apparently confused on both the definitions and Matt's views. I appologize about the definition thing; I even looked it up to be sure I was saying what I meant and then said the wrong thing anyway! In addition, either I completely don't know Matt or he has changed his views since we last discussed this, because when I asked him last night, he went into this big explanation about why he is TECHNICALLY agnostic. Apparently he has decided that there is no way to prove one way or the other that there is a god or not; however, he strongly believes that there is none. Although I got the feeling that he didn't like the "agnostic" label and prefers to identify himself as an athiest, somewhat going against the comment from the comments to your earlier blog that being athiest and agnostic are not necessarily different things. In other words, I get the feeling that if forced to admit he is agnostic, then he would do so, but to him, that suggests that there may be a god that he doesn't believe exists.

Ouch, all of this thinking is making my head hurt! Guess I better get back to the becoming a lawyer stuff--Oh my! ;-)

And, no, the 5th grade mentality doesn't sound so appealing now! :)

Mark E. Lopez said...

I did not mean that I did not read the emails because I have a personal opinion on the matter - I didn't read them 'yet' because I just wanted to put forth my ideas first, because I'm very solid on them. Reading the emails was interesting, now that I've had a spare moment to and remembered to, but they don't change anything about my previous opinion.

To Amanda B. Even if you are not religious, you had a marriage with someone religious, yes? I merely presented the idea of having the 'marriage' be an act of the church itself. Make the 'legal' side purely into a civil union. The shared taxes, the relatives allowed to visit one another on a death bed, or who recieves the legal voice in the event of a death or accident, etc. You can still pronounce your monogomous relationship, with rings, etc - but divide it, if people are going to have a fit about the religious side about it.

Mark E. Lopez said...

to Kim.

What I was 'trying' to say was just seperate the idea of 'marriage' from the 'civil union.' The Civil Union being those legal benefits, and whatnot, and the 'marriage' being the ceremony in the church, with your family, etc. The 'marriage licence' isn't something that has to have anything to do with a church, as a courthouse clerk is authorized to see a 'marriage' happen.

Though, 'personally' I wouldn't care at all if they just removed those benefits. But that's merely because so many people want to deny those benefits to people they don't agree with the lifestyle of. And, if it's to become a right denied from citizens, why not just remove it from everybody. If they can't have it, nobody should.