Mama Shannon plus two snotty girls.
That is all.
I'd like to write a moving, eloquent post about why this election means so much to me. But I am tongue-tied in awe. So let's just leave it at this:
Get out there and do it, folks. Nat and Selina are counting on you!
My post at Strollerderby on church-state separation and same-sex marriage kicked up quite the discussion. What began as a tse tse fly of annoyance in the persona of one "moviegirl" became something of an educational colloquy on the issues as moviegirl again and again ignored what folks were saying in response to her and continued to hammer away with old chestnuts from the Prop 8 propaganda machine. Now it's a veritable primer on what same-sex marriage does and doesn't mean for citizens of California (or anywhere else in the U.S.). I decided the discussion was too good to leave hiding over there today in the final day before California voters go to the polls on this issue and so I'm reproducing the conversation here for your edification. Please feel free to pass it on to anyone you think might find it useful:
I'm not in California so I'm not totally familiar with Prop 8, but isn't this the citizens of one state voting on an issue? Everyone's vote is equal, is it not? It doesn't seem like groups imposing beliefs if there is a vote.
It also seems like calling a spokesperson from the AUSCS a "religious perspective" is a bit of a stretch.
October 29, 2008 11:08 PM
i think allison missed the point.
October 29, 2008 11:56 PM
The problem is that there is actually a lot more to it than that, and it has nothing to do with bigotry, it actually takes rights away from parents and churches and allows the government to tell us what is right and wrong, which takes away many freedoms that we are privileged to in this country.
If it does not pass then schools are obligated to teach that same sex is OK- regardless of what parents say, even send home literature against parents wishes. There will be serious clashes between the secular school system and the right of parents to teach their children their own values and beliefs.
1. Churches are not allowed to turn away same-sex couples.
2. Churches will be sued if they refuse to allow same-sex marriage ceremonies in their religious buildings that are open to the public.
3. Religious adoption agencies will be challenged by government agencies to give up their long-held right to place children only in homes with both a mother and a father. Catholic Charities in Boston has already closed its doors because of the legalization of same-sex marriage in Massachusetts.
4. Religions that sponsor private schools and which provide housing for married students will be required to provide housing for same-sex couples, even if it runs counter to church doctrine, or lose tax exemptions and benefits.
5. Ministers who preach against same-sex marriages will be sued for hate speech and could be fined by the government.
It has already happened in Canada, one of six countries that have legalized gay marriage.
While there are arguments for both sides, I have boiled it down to one basic question:"Is it appropriate and desirable for public schools to be teaching second-graders that same-sex marriage is just like any other marriage."
I don't think so. As a parent, I have the right to teach my child what ever I want. Especially when it comes to personal beliefs and religion. My rights are a stake here, my right to teach my child.
If prop 8 does not pass, the government will tell me what I should be teaching my child regardless of religious values and that would be mixing state and religion.
I think that the question is not one for the courts, but for the people. If you don't believe me, go and find out yourselves. A lot the above has already happened in Massachusetts. Just google it and see what I mean.
Please urge your family and friends who live in California to do their research and VOTE YES on prop 8, not because they are prejudice, but because they don't want their own government taking away their right to speech and freedom of religion.
October 30, 2008 1:41 AM
I am rabidly No on 8. Lawn sign, bumper sticker, button and working the polls on election day. Denying people fundamental rights because you think it's 'icky' is ridiculous.
Still, Allison is right that calling AUSCS a religious group stretches credulity to the breaking point.
October 30, 2008 3:13 AM
The basic premise of this article is that people cannot seem to seperate church from state in their own minds long enough to make a vote, right? Or maybe I'm wrong. I've been unsuccessfully using this argument for years (states shouldn't be allowed to discriminate, but churches can since they're private), but it doesn't seem like anyone is listening! And from my POV Prop 8 is just another way to yank the chains of all those same-sex couples who got married. They got married last time the law was in their favor, and the state reportedly (I have not done all my research, tell me if I am wrong) reverted to hetero-only marriage again and recinded all the same-sex marriages that took place. And it looks like they want to do it again. THAT is really wrong IMO! If it's legal and you marry, then you should be grandfathered if the laws change. I would be uber-pissed if someone came by and said "Oh, sorry, we changed the law and now your marriage is no longer legal, and you're no longer entitled to medical insurance through your husband's employer, and you can't both have legal custody of your kids anymore either."
October 30, 2008 8:29 AM
Shannon LC Cate said:
Like the Baptist Joint Committee, AUSCS is full of religious people. And other people. That would be the "united" part. If you read the article linked here, you will find a Baptist preacher talking about this issue as a Church-State issue.
October 30, 2008 10:30 AM
What's with all the hullaballoo about "Schools will be FORCED TO TEACH THAT SAME SEX MARRIAGE IS OKAY and we're all GOING TO HELL IF THAT HAPPENS"? I grew up without same-sex marriage being ok, and schools never taught me one flippin' thing about marriage at all. I don't see them "NEEDING" to start now! - Oh, wait, I take that back - in highschool, we might have learned about how it was forbidden for white folks to marry non white folks before we made some limited civil rights progress. But that was in the context of Jim Crow laws and learning about slavery. I don't think the homo-haters need to worry about a similar thing happening with gay marriage.
Also, schools might have to teach that it happens. But any good school would likely encourage debate about whether it is "good" or "not good" rather than teaching one thing or another, right? I was lucky enough that my teachers never told me whether something was good or bad - but they did teach me how to discuss and think about my views on moral issues.
October 30, 2008 10:34 AM
Shannon LC Cate said:
"I don't think so. As a parent, I have the right to teach my child what ever I want. Especially when it comes to personal beliefs and religion. My rights are a stake here, my right to teach my child."
This makes zero sense, moviegirl. No one will come into your home and gag you if there is same-sex marriage. You mean to tell me that right now, the public school system is in 100% agreement with everything you believe and want to teach your children? God help you if so, but how nice for you. You must be the only person in the country who feels this way.
Yes. It's bigotry, plain and simple to oppose equal rights for everyone. The children of same-sex couples are already in public schools all over this country. The only thing that will change with same-sex marriage is that those children will have the same protections for their families as your children.
Churches CAN and do discriminate all they want to now. They will continue to do so. And given that lots of churches welcome and celebrate queer Christians I seriously doubt there will be many same-sex couples breaking down the doors of bigoted churches to "bless" them.
October 30, 2008 10:36 AM
PS - if Prop 8 does pass, moviegirl, you can teach your kids that gay folks are going to hell and aren't worthy of respect and love. I feel bad for your kids if you do - but it's your call. The government isn't coming into your home, either way. White folks still can raise their kids to believe that non-white folks are all kinds of horrible things - and they do. It's just that white folks aren't allowed to kill and beat non-white folks anymore, and those non-white folks are allowed to go to school, vote, and things like that. But you can still raise your kids to beleive whatever hate you choose - allowing gays to marry won't change that.
What it might change is whether your kids believe the hate. But that's what happened when we started allowing black people and women to vote, too. It's the hazard of living in the real world instead of finding an isolated community with no gay people in it - which you could also do. This doesn't impinge on your freedom to teach your children squat.
October 30, 2008 10:37 AM
moviegirl - what has happened in Massachusetts is that, even with more people eligible to be married, the divorce rate is still among the lowest. So, yes, PLEASE google the facts! You'll find, as John Stewart has said, that the facts have a well-known liberal bias - and in this case, support granting gays the right to marry, if you're going to make that cause-and-effect argument.
October 30, 2008 10:39 AM
How does it have nothing to do with bigotry? It IS bigotry, pure and simple. Are you saying that any prejudice at all is excused if cloaked in religion? I take exception with every single point in your comment. You are a bigot, whether you like to think of yourself as one or not. I hope that your children will grow up to reject the biases you are unfortunately imparting to them now.
Same sex marriage IS the same as any other marriage. I realize there are plenty of other bigots who agree with you, and you have a right to your feelings (just as neo nazi skinheads have a right to their feelings), but lawmakers sure as hell shouldn't satisfy your prejudices and narrow-mindedness by denying many people of basic rights.
October 30, 2008 12:29 PM
There should be as Thomas Jefferson put it a separation of church and State. The interpretation of defined marriage is between a man and a woman is a religious belief, not a State belief. The State should not be interpreting the difference between homosexuals and heterosexuals as far as marriage is concerned. The only component that the State should care about is the legality issue between two people. Now if the Church decides not to recognize marriage between homosexuals, then so be it, but this should not be a State issue.
Now I can see the argument that the teachers may take upon their self to teach gay marriage in School, but I think, and this is my opinion. Schools should be prohibited to educate children about marriage whether it is between heterosexuals and homosexuals. A child should be educated from their parents concerning this topic, not the School, and from my understanding 90% of the Schools already fall into this category as it is.
I would also argue with moviegirl’s points that the vast majority of them are inaccurate. Because there is suppose to be a separation between church and state, churches have the option to turn down same sex marriages just as the catholic church has the option to not marry anyone that is not catholic. It is a religious belief which is covered under “separation of church and state”.
October 30, 2008 12:30 PM
Mike Adamick (Cry It Out!) said:
The guy you quoted nailed it, Shannon. Religious groups are trying to impose their morals on the state. And the state should not sanction one religious belief over another. Everyone should have the same rights under the law, regardless of religious beliefs.
October 30, 2008 12:40 PM
I'm sure that folks like Moviegirl used the same sort of arguments in favor of segregation. You don't have to scratch to deeply to find the bigots in the yes on 8 contingent.
October 30, 2008 1:11 PM
It makes me so sad (and angry--grrr!) that people think they have the right to stop others from having the same rights. You love who you love, and everyone should be treated the same, regardless of gender, race, etc. Nobody should be treated as a second-class citizen. We as Americans have learned that lesson before, but apparently we like repeating our mistakes.
As far as what to teach your children if you don't agree in equal rights for all: I would suggest teaching them tolerance. That would sure be refreshing!
October 30, 2008 2:24 PM
You all have missed the point. I see what you are saying. I could care less if two gays got married. But is not that easy. It is the "unknown", we don't know what will happen if prop 8 doesn't pass. We don't have a guarantee that the points that I made earlier are NOT going to happen. What if they did? What if all of a sudden churches started getting sued left and right because there is NO law protecting them. Then what? That interferes with their freedom of religion. The same with Church owned adoption agency's, their doors will be closed, it has already happened in MASS. You might not agree with what they believe, but if you ask them to respect your believe, shouldn't you respect theirs?? Is that fair to people who have a RELIGIOUS believe that a child should be in a family with a man and woman?
If you believe in the bible, GOD said (not me) that marriage is between and man and a woman. I did not come up with this. I can't change it. I believe in what the entire Bible says, I don't pick and choose parts of it that I want to believe. The Bible also says don't judge others, so I don't. I could care less if someone else is gay. What I do care about it my rights being taken away because someone chooses to be gay. And my rights being the freedom of religion.
It is the unknown if prop 8 and if it does not pass then religious freedom "could" be in danger. It has NOTHING to do with bigotry.
Can you guarantee me that my religious beliefs won't be harmed if it doesn't pass?
October 30, 2008 3:33 PM
Shannon LC Cate said:
moviegirl, I'll tell you what I told "brighteyes" on the "how low will they go? post: When people say they don't pick and choose what to believe in the Bible it is my absolute proof that they have never actually read the Bible.
As I told brighteyes:
"I have read the ENTIRE Bible many times and I am willing to bet my right arm that you absolutely pick and choose what you follow about the Bible and what you teach your children about it.
The Bible has very, very little to say about sex between people of the same gender. It has nothing to say about same-sex marriage. It prohibits eating all shellfish. It prohibits wearing clothing made from more than one fiber (polyester/cotton blends, for example). It endorses polygamy, concubinage, prostitution as part of religious observance, daughters having sex with their fathers in order to give him sons, and many other things.
On the upside, it commands the forgiveness of all debt every seventy years.
And any number of things they don't teach you in Baptist Sunday School (I went to Baptist Sunday School for the first 18 years of my life)."
If you base your life on the Bible it is only responsible that you learn what the Bible in fact, actually says. It's only responsible that you learn the complex history of that book rather sloppily using it as a crutch to prop up some belief you had before you ever cracked it open.
October 30, 2008 4:48 PM
Moviegirl, the bible also says that lending money is a sin too. But I'm betting you don't pay too much attention to that part, or the parts about owning slaves.
There is no "unknown" regarding Prop. 8, California will continue with state mandated bigotry. None of your religious freedoms are at stake in this vote. That is the problem, you are trying to force your religious values on others in a secular state.
October 30, 2008 4:53 PM
Then please explain why adoption agencies in MASS were closed because they were threatened with law suits for NOT placing a child in a gay family? They were not placed in a gay family because it would go against their religion.
October 30, 2008 7:37 PM
I don't know enough about adoption in Mass. to say that there are no adoption agencies that have had to change how they operate based on the legalization of same sex marriage. However, it seems to me that there is a huge difference between taking a person's right to religious freedom & worshiping as tbey choose and requiring an organization that essentially aids the state in creating familial connections via adoption to adhere to the laws of the state.
Adoption agencies are NOT churches. Adoptions take place in courtrooms not sanctuaries. Adoption agencies effectively work FOR the state by doing all the leg work that the state then stamps as official. It is absolutely appropriate that the state would bar such organizations from discrimination. A church, however, can discriminate on whatever basis it wants. That's why church and state are separate.
October 30, 2008 9:16 PM
Catholic Charities in Boston shut down its adoption services BEFORE the marriage laws changed in Massachusetts. They shut down after an internal controversy about whether they should place children with unmarried adults (including gay adoptive parents). Some members of the CC board resigned; four MA bishops encouraged the CC to stop placing children with unmarried adults. The state law--BEFORE THE MARRIAGE LAWS CHANGED--required that adoption agencies not discriminate on marital status. The Catholic Charities adoption decisions had nothing to do with the marriage laws. see https://tinyurl.com/5kmxht
October 30, 2008 10:42 PM
First of all, moviegirl, we can look and see what will happen. Canada, Belgium, Norway and Spain (I may be missing some) have allowed same-sex marriage for years. Also, looking at Mass and Vermont we can see that the world is not ending, the institution of marriage has not desolved, school children have not "turned gay", our host's adopted children are thriving along with a proportionate number of other children raised by same-sex parents, etc. Look around you. Same-sex couples are all around us, and you are still free to believe whatever it is that you want.
Also, I think Shannon makes a good point about the confusion on the church-state issue. They are completely separate. The ONLY small link is that ministers, along with captains of ships, judges, justices of the peace, etc. are recognized as officials that can conduct a marriage ceremony and sign a marriage certificate. This is not the same as FORCING ministers to sign marriage certificates.
As for religious discrimination, right now, Unitarian Universalist ministers honor same-sex marriage, perform ceremonies and sign marriage certificates that are not honored by the state, even when this particular religion believes in the rights of same-sex couples to marry. So it is NOW that states are imposing on religious freedoms. If same-sex marriage is made legal in the future, only then will all religions be able to have the freedom to practice their beliefs.
October 31, 2008 1:47 AM
My marriage was officiated by a High Priestess of the Dianic Order of Wicca, which probably makes the heads of many Christians explode every bit as much as same-sex marriage. Like Lexie explained about Unitarian Universalism, the Dianic Order of Wicca and many other non-Ambramic faiths honor marriage between consenting adults who desire to create family with each other through the bonds of marriage. The difference is that my marriage is legally recognized in my state because I married a man, not another woman. The High Priestess of the Dianic Order of Wicca has married many same-sex couples as well, but none of those marriages are legally binding in our state because of prejudices that have no place in a country that purports to promote freedom of religion OR the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty.
I want religious freedom just as much as you do, Moviegirl. So I don't understand where your religion get off feeling entitled to decide for the entire nation which beliefs are legitimate and which are not, based on it's scripture over any other? Where does your religion get off deciding whose marriages should be legally recognized and whose shouldn't? That's religious domination and religious monopolism, not religious freedom. Religious freedom doesn't simply mean that everyone who practices apart from your faith be "tolerated", i.e. allowed to live in the U.S. while your church/faith gets to make all the rules about who will and will not access legal protections such as those afforded by marriage. You're free to follow what your God dictates, but I don't see why *I* should be held to the dictates of a deity that I don't worship -- or more importantly, be held to the dictates of a group of people who believe they speak and act in accordance with a particular deity. Religious freedom includes freedom FROM religion, as well as freedom from religious governance and religious intolerance.
In my ideal United States, legal marriage would be a civic matter only, presided over by officials such as Justices of the Peace. Religious marriages would be conducted apart from state officiation - in which case faiths that want to define marriage as between men and women only would be able to do so without depriving anyone of their right to determine their own next-of-kin partnerships through legal marriages recognized by all states in the U.S. Other countries do it this way, and it seems to work just fine.
October 31, 2008 2:20 PM
Marriage is not just religious. Many of my friends were married by judges.
Schools are not mandated to teach anything about marriage. That argument is a sad excuse for feeling like not everyone should have the same rights as heterosexuals!
I actually know someone that feels like Prop 8 not passing will open the doors to beastiality! Ok, talk about bigoted-- AS IF same sex marriage is even remotely similar to people performing sex with animals!
People are crazy. I am adamantly NO on Prop 8! I know it will do nothing to impact my family and that other families will be able to have the same rights as any "married" couple as they should!
October 31, 2008 3:54 PM
Yeah, I do not understand this perception that heteros stand to lose anything if same-sex couples are able to legally marry. I mean, I understand how same-sex marriage challenges the belief that man-woman pairings are the only unions deserving of legal recognition and protection, but false beliefs are better shattered anyway. Since no one's gunning to take marriage away from hetero couples, I don't get the fear.
And unless infertile people are prohibited from marrying or forced to divorce, the argument that same-sex marriage can't be allowed because the sex isn't procreative doesn't work. Prop 8 supporters haven't said anything about prohibiting the fertility-challenged from marrying, so the only motivation I see is anti-gay bigotry.
October 31, 2008 8:22 PM
Can you guarantee that none of the above that I mentioned won't happen? I am not buying it. I want to know for sure that Churches won't be sued, ministers won't be sued, etc. I want that guarantee. All I keep hearing is that can't happen, that shouldn't happen. But it is all a possibility, it is the UNKNOWN and that little chance is enough to make me vote YES on prop 8.
Can you guarantee me???
November 1, 2008 12:19 AM
"If you believe in the bible, GOD said (not me) that marriage is between and man and a woman. I did not come up with this. I can't change it. I believe in what the entire Bible says, I don't pick and choose parts of it that I want to believe. The Bible also says don't judge others, so I don't. I could care less if someone else is gay. What I do care about it my rights being taken away because someone chooses to be gay. And my rights being the freedom of religion"
Okay Movie what if I don't believe in the bible. Why should an ideal i don't have faith in dictate my human rights.
Why should me, being me, have anything to do in religion. Especially a religion that I don't have much credence in. It is about rights given to all citizens of America, and not about what a religious books says. Religion is a state of mind, not law. Your religion should not dictate MY LIFE.
November 1, 2008 12:40 AM
movie "Can you guarantee that none of the above that I mentioned won't happen? I am not buying it. I want to know for sure that Churches won't be sued, ministers won't be sued, etc. I want that guarantee. All I keep hearing is that can't happen, that shouldn't happen. But it is all a possibility, it is the UNKNOWN and that little chance is enough to make me vote YES on prop 8."
Um why would churches be sued. We are fighting for legally recognized marriage, not a religious ceremony that does not legalize a marriage. The state legalizes it, not the church.
SO why would a minister be sued? Or the church itself for not allowing gays to hold a CEREMONY in the church...
That would be like a non-catholic sueing for not being allowed to have the ceremony because he/she did not convert.
Why not just make gblts drink from specially assigned water fountains, and assigned seats on the bus.
How about straight only schools???
Good Googly-moogly...what age are we living in?
November 1, 2008 12:45 AM
Shannon LC Cate said:
Guess what? it is JUST as important to me as it is to you that churches be free to practice and preach their beliefs. I am a life-long Christian, who attended religiously affiliated schools from first grade through college and then went to seminary for a Master's degree in Christian education. I care DEEPLY that religious institutions be free.
In all sincerity, I encourage you to look further into this issue than the propaganda they are obviously giving you at your church or other small faith community.
This issue has been mangled by people who WANT to oppose same-sex civil rights BEFORE they look to their faith and its teachings. I encourage you as a fellow Christian to look into this for yourself.
In fact, opposing same-sex marriage at the civil level from a religious standpoint is what threatens our religious freedom. It asks the government to endorse our beliefs in law. And I do not want the government deciding which religious beliefs are okay and which aren't. Do you?
As many have mentioned here, there is no more reason to think that your church will be sued for failing to marry a gay couple--or preaching against gay relationships--than there is to expect it to be sued tomorrow for refusing to marry a Jewish couple, or for preaching that Jesus is the only way to salvation. That is a discriminatory belief and no one has ever sued a preacher for advocating it.
It is homophobic fear-mongering to suggest otherwise and you are being duped by it. Or you are trying to dupe others here.
And since you keep pounding your opposition here for promises and proofs and responses to your concerns, how about responding to mine about believing ALL of the Bible and living it out? Do you wear only single-fiber clothing? Do you abstain from shellfish? Do you refuse to speak in Church as women are forbidden to do in parts of the Bible? Are you okay with polygamy and slavery?
Read the Bible. It is irresponsible to base your life on something you haven't studied as extensively as you possibly can. I have done that. And I am still a lesbian and still a Christian. No problem with it whatsoever. No doubts about standing before my God on judgement day. Read the Bible if it really is that important to you. You will find it amazingly freeing, i promise.
November 1, 2008 8:40 AM
Moviegirl, I can guarantee you that ministers and churches that refuse to marry same-sex couples won't be sued. If they can't be sued for refusing to marry interfaith couples (states don't care even if faiths do), they won't be sued for refusing to marry two men or two women. Why are you clinging to this in the face of perfectly good examples cited by several posters already?
In fact, churches will also not lose the power to defrock clergy who DO perform marriage for same-sex couples if such marriages become legal in all 50 states. Individual churches will retain their ability to discriminate at will, preach prejudice and hate, refuse to rent out their campgrounds for wedding parties where same-sex and unmarried couples will be staying overnight (an incident we experienced when trying to find a place to hold our wedding in 2004), and otherwise behave badly in my sight. I believe Jesus disapproves of such BS and will hold perpetrators accountable for their lack of love, but that's an issue way apart from lawsuits and other earthy concerns.
What *will* change is that none of this church-sanctioned bad behavior can touch the right of loving couples to make each other their legal next of kin through marriage. It won't matter if the marriage is officiated by a JoP, a clergyperson, a spiritual advisor, or someone ordained on the internet -- the marriage will be legal as long as it's officiated in accordance with the laws of the state where it's performed, and will be legally recognized everywhere in the U.S. just like mine is. All that will change is that it'll be illegal for states to refuse marriage to couples based on sex, just like it's now illegal for states to refuse marriage to based on race.
If you believe that would be a bad thing, then go ahead and vote Yes on Proposition 8. But do it knowing what you're voting for, and do it because you honestly believe that continued state-sanctioned discrimination (just like we had around interracial marriage) is better for the country than extending the right of marriage to same-sex couples. Quit hiding under the false fear that churches will be persecuted the way some so freely persecute those they believe to be "sinful" - which is why separation of church and state remains so vitally necessary in this country. I'll stay out of your church, and your church will kindly stay out of other people's marriages.
November 1, 2008 9:38 AM
Guess what...it has already started! Did you read about the teacher in California that passed out gay pledge cards out to her Kindergarten class? Google it, it just happened. So, don't tell me it won't happen. There is proof out there already.
If there is a LAW in place that says that a marriage is between a man and a woman then this would be illegal.
I have 2 issues with this pledge card that the teacher passed out;
#1. "How do you teach a 5-year-old to sign a pledge card for lesbian, gay and transgender issues without explaining what transgender and bisexual is?"
#2. I don't want public school teachers telling MY child that this is Ok, when it is NOT Ok in our religion. I am NOT judging you, I am just teaching my child, as a parent. Just as you teach your children is it OK to be gay.
I am not taking that away from you, so why do you insist to take my rights away from me?
Even though you don't agree with me, it is my religious RIGHT to teach my child whatever I feel is correct.
November 1, 2008 11:56 PM
Shannon LC Cate said:
No one gave kindergarteners "gay pledge cards." The cards were part of an anti-bullying program and asked the children not to harass other children for a variety of reasons including sexual orientation. A great idea seeing as such bullying gets kids killed:
Anti-bullying programs have no relationship to who can get married. They have similar programs here in Chicago where my legal, Canadian marriage is not recognized.
And I'm not sure why it is so hard for you to say "well honey, I know they told you in school that a man can marry a man, but our family doesn't believe that is the way God wants families to be made."
Look! I just wrote it and I don't even agree with it.
It's called PARENTING. How could someone with such strong religious beliefs really abdicate so much parental responsibility to the school system anyway? I have to tell my children every day that what other people do is their business, but in our family we do it differently--from solving problems with violence like they do all over our culture to being biologically related, which my adopted children are not.
And you still haven't answered me. Do you or do you not advocate slavery, polygamy and concubinage as the Bible does? Are you wearing single-fiber clothes?
Or are you picking and choosing a very obscure biblical passage as an excuse to support your fear and loathing of one of God's creations (ME)?
November 2, 2008 9:32 AM
Moviegirl: Jesus was a big anti-violence advocate. I would expect Christians to support children in pledging not to torture other children for any reason, including their perceived or real sexual orientation and gender identity. So I don't understand your fear of the anti-bullying pledge cards. No one's asking children to pledge to engage in homosexual or gender-bending activity, just not to torment other children who are thus perceived.
Bullying is not OK in your religion. Teachers have an obligation to promote anti-bullying measures in their classrooms, and children growing up in such a virulently homophobic society as ours learn very early to hurl "faggot" and "dyke" at those they want to hurt, regardless of what any given bullied child's sexual orientation actually is. And did I mention, bullying is not OK in your religion? Whatever your church may believe about homosexuality, I doubt it advocates overt bashing. If it does, I'd suggest the entire congregation take up Shannon's challenge to read the Bible, esp. the Gospels.
November 2, 2008 12:32 PM
I Googled the issue as Moviegirl suggested, and found this link: cbs13.com/.../bay.area.school.2.851071.html . Sounds like the issue has nothing to do with Prop 8 and everthing to do with the anti-violence curriculum already in place in California.
And as for "How do you teach a 5-year-old to sign a pledge card for lesbian, gay and transgender issues without explaining what transgender and bisexual is?"
Actually, you can explain it just fine, no matter how much you disapprove. Let me give it a shot; I taught in a religous elementary school for years, and I have an 8-year-old:
"You know how I explained about what gay and lesbian is? How some girls choose to be sweeties (or special friends, or make a life like Mommy and Daddy, or however you want to put it) with girls, and boys with boys? And how they might think that's right for them but we believe that's not what God wants for us? Well, some people believe that they have the choice to be special friends (etc.) with boys OR girls. And some people believe that even though they were born a girl, they want to live like a boy, or the other way around. In our family, we believe that that's wrong, and they should try to do things in a different way."
And then: "But even though they are making a choice that's against what God wants, it is NEVER RIGHT to say mean things to those people or to hurt their bodies. We can feel bad for them, and we can pray for them and hope God will help them to change what they're doing, but it is against the school rules to call them mean names or to hurt their bodies, just like it's against school rules to call ANYONE mean names or hurt ANYONE'S bodies."
November 2, 2008 4:13 PM
I think that's probably about as good as it's going to get for people who truly believe that homosexuality and transgenderism is against their god's plan. However, I would leave "choice" out of the discussion, since homosexuality and transgenderism are no more a choice than heterosexuality or gender-normativism. Bisexuals sort of get to choose (as much as anyone gets to choose who they fall in love with), but that's only because a partner's sex is fairly irrelevant to sexual attraction and formation of emotional bond, unlike with monosexuals of either hetero or homo inclination.
We don't recruit either, in case anyone's worried. That toaster oven thing is a big myth.
November 2, 2008 7:46 PM
Oh, for sure. I was trying to channel someone who believes bisexuality and transgenderism etc. are a choice and is against what God wants etc. I suppose you could still disapprove while believing that theyy're not a choice, just a terrible involuntary disability that God somehow still disapproves of, but my mind starts to boggle and I just won't go there.
moviegirl is free to go there, however, while still perhaps understanding that even without Proposition 8 the schools will not be required to teach her children about sex that she disapproves of.
November 2, 2008 8:11 PM
The narrow decision of the California Supreme Court isn’t just about “live and let live.” State law may require teachers to instruct children as young as kindergarteners about marriage. (Education Code § 51890.) If the gay marriage ruling is not overturned, TEACHERS COULD BE REQUIRED to teach young children there is no difference between gay marriage and traditional marriage.
We should not accept a court decision that may result in public schools teaching our kids that gay marriage is okay. That is an issue for parents to discuss with their children according to their own values and beliefs. It shouldn’t be forced on us against our will.
Proposition 8 does not take away legal rights of gay domestic partnerships. Proposition 8 DOES NOT take away any of those rights and does not interfere with gays living the lifestyle they choose.
However, while gays have the right to their private lives, they do not have the right to redefine marriage for everyone else.
CALIFORNIANS HAVE NEVER VOTED FOR SAME-SEX MARRIAGE. If gay activists want to legalize gay marriage, they should put it on the ballot. Instead, they have gone behind the backs of voters and convinced four activist judges in San Francisco to redefine marriage for the rest of society. That is the wrong.
Voting YES on Proposition 8 RESTORES the definition of marriage that was approved by over 61% of voters. Voting YES overturns the decision of four activist judges. Voting YES protects our children.
Please vote YES on Proposition 8 to RESTORE the meaning of marriage.
November 2, 2008 9:44 PM
1. Since there WOULD BE no difference between same-sex marriage and hetersexual marriage in the eyes of the state if everyone could be legally married, I'm not sure why the notion of this truth being made public upsets you so much. I understand that your religious views won't accept same-sex marriage even if/when it does become legally recognized, but your religious views (and mine!) aren't meant to be taught in public schools anyway. Civics, yes. Religion, no.
2. You keep using the word "Okay". I do not think it means what you think it means... i.e. I do not think you're making the distinction between extending a civil right and enforcing societal acceptance. Legalizing same-sex marriage won't force you or anyone else like homosexuality or to believe it's a natural state of being. It will just enable same-sex couples to be married the same way opposite-sex couples can be.
3. Domestic partnerships as they currently stand do not provide all the protections of legal marriage. In particular, domestic partnerships do not establish legal next-of-kinship, which becomes a big problem when your spouse is ill, hospitalized, disabled, or dies. There are many excellent writings available online that detail the difference between domestic partnerships and legally recognized marriage. I suggest you check them out.
4. "Gays" would not be "redefining marriage" for heterosexuals if their marriages were legally recognized. Straight people's marriages would remain the same as they've always been, completely unaffected by whatever those crazy "gays" get up to with their wedded bliss. You would lose nothing but the misguided priviledge of being the only kind of couple worthy of state-sanctioned marriage.
5. Cutting & pasting from Prop 8 propaganda emails isn't making you sound any more thoughtful on this issue. We know you can read (which is great), but what do you THINK?
November 2, 2008 10:04 PM
Moviegirl, did you READ any of the comments above your latest one? Look, obviously you oppose same-sex marriage, and no one here is going to change your mind about that. But several people (including me) went to some trouble to answer the specific concerns you raised. I'm pretty annoyed that you haven't engaged with those answers at all.
I don't think that you really care about any of that stuff you said you were concerned about; I think it's all a red herring. You don't want gay people to have the same rights as straight people, and you want that bigotry legislated into the California constitution. Fine. But call it what it is, and don't hide behind false concerns.
I think I'm done here.
November 3, 2008 12:19 AM
I am not trying to convince you to change your ways. You live your life and I will live mine.
It is NOT ok to mention GAY or LESBIAN to my kindergartner. It is NOT acceptable to mention gay or lesbian to any school age child. Being GAY is a sexual preference and is not a conversation for a child. That is MY choice...not yours and NOT the choice of the teacher. And you know that the ballot she had them sign was not just a bully form. The teacher had an agenda and that is the fact. It was not appropriate and that is why it is on the news and why parents are upset.
Just because you think it is OK to be gay, you seem to think it is ok to push this belief on to others and then call us bigots because we don't think it is OK to be gay.
Your sexual preference is just that....a sexual preference. I don't agree with your lifestyle. You can call me a bigot if I judge you by your skin or even by your hair color. But I am not a bigot because I don't agree with your lifestyle.
What you do behind closed doors is between you and God. I won't judge you, but I will stand up for my beliefs.
And I won't let others tell me what is right and wrong and tell me what I SHOULD accept or I am a bigot. Who is the Bigot? You are the one judging me because I don't think it is Ok to be gay.
And to answer your question about adoption agency's being closed down. Not everything is black and white, there is too much grey area. Do you really think that private religious adoption agency's have a standing chance to stay open if prop 8 doesn't pass? Because adoption agency's have state government involvement this directly affects them the most.
It is really sad that a young mother who wants her unborn child to be in a family with a mother and father may not get that choice. She will loose the right to make a decision for HER baby because gays in california think it is ok to pass their sexual preference onto others.
And it is sad that many many adoption agency's might close because gays want to pass their sexual preference on others.
We are NOT dealing with black and white, every single issue I am concerned about is GREY, and I am NOT comfortable with that. You can not promise me or guarantee me that the won't happen, because there is NO law protecting me. But prop 8 does, it guarantees me that the things I am worried about most won't happen.
I don't care that you are gay, but don't try to push your lifestyle on me. Nobody forced you to be gay, you made that choice on your own.
In the state of California gay couples have every right that married couples have, this measure won't affect gays rights at all. It only takes away rights from everyone else.........
I think I am done here.
November 3, 2008 2:25 AM
Shannon LC Cate said:
"It is NOT ok to mention GAY or LESBIAN to my kindergartner. It is NOT acceptable to mention gay or lesbian to any school age child."
Good luck raising your kids in a cave, moviegirl. God Bless your poor little cramped-up, grinch-sized heart and God Bless your poor children.
My turn to be done here!
November 3, 2008 9:22 AM
I'm glad you're not trying to convince me to change my ways, because this is one happy little Queer here at the keyboard.
You, on the other hand, sound like a very miserable fear-based individual whose heart & soul will be continue to be severely challenged by any aspect of life that does not conform to your narrow definitions of acceptability. That your religion is the primary dictator of those definitions is totally your business, and I support you in practicing the religion of your choice regardless of how hateful and twisted I think it encourages its followers to be. I'm a good American that way! God Bless Me!
But your sexuality isn't better than mine. Your love isn't better than mine. Your marriage isn't better than mine (actually your marriage is probably much the same as mine in the eyes of the state, since I'm married to a man), and your family isn't better than mine. And when same-sex couples and their families gain the ability to benefit from the legal protections of marriage the same way you and I do, I will think fondly of you as my flaming pals and I celebrate in the streets. *KISS KISS*
And I pity your children, especially any who turn out to love someone of their own sex.
Also done! Too busy being happy/gay to keep this up.
November 3, 2008 10:03 AM
And I agree with you on one point, which is that no one forced me to be Queer. I consider my sexual orientation a blessing, not a curse -- and lots of us believe our sexual orientations come straight from God (however we envision that). You don't own God anymore than you own love, so why should you get to own marriage?
If you don't want to live in a country that embraces religious freedom and separation of church and state, you have many options for emigration. Or you could leave the planet and start a new colony on the moon, if you've got the $$. Meanwhile, we'll stay here and fight for our civil rights, like good Americans.
November 3, 2008 11:02 AM
Robin, from The Other Mother comments to tell us:
"Hi Shannon, Dana and I will be giving away 20 DVD sets of The L Word Season 5 starting tomorrow. We have staggered our schedules as follows: Friday 5 copies given away at Mombian Monday 5 copies given away at The Other Mother Tuesday 5 copies given away at Mombian Wednesday 5 copies given away at The Other Mother If you could let people know, that would be cool. Thanks!"
Now you know!
I am laid low with illness and will soon be over my head in babies as my BFF arrives tonight with her 15-month old. So I am not going to be blogging here or Strollerderby much in the next few days. But I promise to get back to that list soon and give you babysitting preference explanations and hair styling funformation!
Nat and I drove to the polls and voted for Barack Obama today after waiting in line for about an hour and a half. Nat was a champ in the long, boring line. She was patient and friendly and tantrum-free. She nibbled fruit and rice cakes and we finally had our turn and she got a sticker and then we headed back to the car and I started buckling her in and she said "what are we doing?" and I said "we're leaving" and she said "but I want to vote for Barack Obama!" and I told her that's what we just did, in the booth, with the funny curtain, right before we got the sticker, and she let out a wail like someone stole her balloon and exclaimed "no! I want to vote for Barack Obama!" I repeated that we had just done that and she insisted "I want to do it again!"
Poor thing. After all that waiting the actual voting was really anticlimactic. I guess she was expecting something really exciting. I told her that if Obama wins, we'll have a big party. It was little consolation.
By the way, Selina got to vote today too, with baby sitter, C. who kept her all day so Nat and I could wait in that long line by ourselves. Apparently, Selina did great in her own 45 minute wait. I don't think they would have done as well together. They're going through a stage (I tell myself) of getting each other in trouble nonstop. Not fighting with each other, just ganging up on me.
I am debating whether we should go to Grant Park for the big returns party. I want the girls to be there, but I also fear crazy neo-nazis with automatic weapons. I know security will be insanely tight, but still... I'm debating. What do you think?
Smart Nat Story
Last week, we were planning an afternoon trip to the aquarium and Nat was very excited about it and was telling me what we'd see there. She was talking and signing at the same time, which she often does to add emphasis to what she's telling me. She signed "fish" and "shark" and "turtle" and "snake" and then she said we'd see all these things at the aquarium and held up the sign for the letter "K."
I gave her a puzzled look and she looked at her hand, gave her own puzzled look, switched the sign to "Q" and announced "there, 'quarium!"
When we don't know a sign, we spell or sign the first letter in the word. So she was thinking about the first letter in the word aquarium, except she doesn't hear the "A" when I say "the aquarium." I can't believe she got the tiny difference between a "k" sound and a "q" sound! I was pretty stunned and had to write it here to put it on record for her so she can brag to her own children about what a little genius she was, back in the day.
Smart Selina Update
Meanwhile, quiet little Selina is slowly accumulating words and signs. She has about 30 words in her vocabulary and about 15 signs (all overlapping with English words). This at a week shy of 17 months! I don't remember, but I actually think Selina has a handful larger vocabulary than Nat had at this age. We think of her as quiet, but maybe it's just that Nat is loud. Selina is also a climber. Nat still halts dead in her tracks at a relatively low baby gate, but Selina has already started trying to climb over them.
Ah the Two of Them Together...
They stay up at night talking and giggling and reading books. Nat climbs into the crib in the morning and brings bunches of toys with her and they goof around in there until somebody cries (Selina) because somebody overdid it (Nat). Overall, they are very tight sisters. Today, when we got in the car without Selina, Nat kept looking over at Selina's seat and saying "there's no Selina" and "where's Selina?" And all Nat has to do is say "come on, Sister!" and Selina will about-face and follow Nat anywhere. Last week they got into a big potted tree and managed to cover Selina with dirt, right after I had bathed her and washed her hair. It took three more washes to get the sticky mud out. (This was one of those things I had to keep telling myself would be a funny story someday, as long as it didn't tragically end with me killing someone.)
They say when you have three kids, you're outnumbered, but some days, these two feel like a dozen!
I thought it was lovely when John Stewart called Palin out on suggesting that only people in small towns were "pro American." Talk about elitism. That leaves out the vast majority of the population of the country.
I have lived in small towns, big cities and everything in between. The reason I like big cities best is because, as Aunt Nancy noted on her recent visit "you're an extrovert in the city!"
I am in fact, a painfully shy person (though high-functioning as such) with a considerable dose of inertia making it very hard for me to leave the house when the slightest impediment arises. Two babies cause a fairly considerable impediment, which means I've spent the long, dreary winters mostly in my home with children bouncing of the walls like whiny, slobbery pinballs for the past two winters.
In the city, I barely have to step outside my door and there is external energy to make up for my internal lack of it. Suddenly I'm making conversation with perfect strangers. I'm picking up friends and even baby sitters. In my first two weeks here I had made as many friends as I made in 6 years in the small prairie town.
This is all just personality stuff for me. It's particular to my temperament and would not necessarily apply to anyone with different factors to her own temperament. For someone else, peace and quiet outside the front door might very well be mandatory. For me, a little adventure is critical.
Then there are the social factors. So often, I find that the oppression of being a freak is so subtle and so constant that I don't really notice it. It's like carrying a ten-pound backpack all the time. You adjust and get used to it and until you take it off, you don't even realize it's affecting you. Once in the city--particularly this neighborhood--it's as if someone said "here let me take that" and suddenly I'm ten pounds lighter and can move freely in ways I had forgotten existed.
When I go to the playground with my kids, no one gives us furtive glances wondering just exactly who the heck we are. They just know I am a mom and these are my children. Everyone calls their partners partners and there are zero assumptions about the gender makeup of spousal dyads or parenting units. We do run into more folks with families similar to ours--two same-sex parents, transracial adoption or both--but even the families with two opposite-sex, white bio parents just "get" us in a way that removes the awkward coming out moments (zillions of them I had stopped noticing) of my daily life.
Whatever stress city life adds to our routine is more than made up for by the removal of wondering if we are safe, if we are "okay" if people are saying horrible things about our family behind our backs (which they did extensively in our old town as my various spies have told me--including the nice preschool teachers who brought their children to the park where my children played every day in nice weather, from the school I had assumed I'd send Nat to this fall, thank god I didn't!).
I think big cities in general can be much friendlier than small towns. There is less suspicion of strangers--everyone's a stranger; there's less shock value of people and families outside the norm--everyone's seen it all already; people are squashed together in smaller spaces and when forced into someone's personal, physical space, it seems natural and sensible to make friends. I remember noticing this the first time I visited NY City. All my life I had heard about the cold, impersonal concrete jungle, and then I found myself sick from overexcitement and rich French food on a street corner, taken in and taken care of by some newish immigrants who worked in the pizza place I collapsed in front of. In DC I noticed that the nicest people you could ever meet were people who worked the Metro system--bus drivers and subway station managers. In a pinch, these people would give me the shirt off their backs and did on any number of occasions, especially when I was new tot he city and confused by the whole crazy quadrant thing. And it wasn't just me. I observed plenty of people without my white, middle-class privilege treated with humane kindness by these folks too.
The city also forces me to confront parts of the human populace I could easily avoid in other places. The second week we were here, a homeless man in the Starbucks asked me to buy him some food. I did, he "god-blessed" me, I "you too'd" him back and we went our separate ways. No big deal, but I had forgotten how often I used to have similar encounters in DC. For me, the opportunity to make real human contact with people the mainstream society has cast off and dismissed reminds me of what matters in life and what really, really doesn't. You don't have to be Christian to find such value in these exchanges, but for me it offers a chance to touch base with my faith and the command to love and respect every person as one would love and respect Christ.
And as far as the mainstream system goes, shopping at small, immigrant-owned businesses restores my faith in bourgeois capitalism like perhaps nothing else could touch.
I see the city as a place in which to practice the values held dear by the people who fought from 1776 to 1865 to 1930 to 1968 to 2008 to bring a fantasy of democratic ideals to fruition. We are far from there, but in the city, I see the best the United States has to offer. It's as close to patriotic as I ever get.
A note to my Australian readers:
I'm so sorry, but my editor says there's no solution to the problem you're having getting to the US Babble site. Something about a proprietary deal made by Australian Babble. I don't really understand it. But I'll try not to abandon this site so as not to leave you out of the loop!
A comment from Strollerderby:
So now my kid has to read a book in school about families made up of 2 dads or 2 moms? I think people are mad not because of the exclusivity of marriage belonging to a man and a woman, but because it is being thrown in our faces beyond the simple law change. Why are we subjected to the overly-flamboyant even lewd participants in lavish parades through our towns to "celebrate" this? I don't want to know what other people do behind their bedroom doors, and I especially don't want to have to explain it to my young child. Keep your private lives private, people!!! I don't go around forcing you to learn about what my husband and I do in bed.
You know, my kid is bombarded 24/7/365 by the heterosexual lifestyle. It's forcefully shoveled down her impressionable 3-year old throat nonstop.
Anyhow, thought someone from over here might want to weigh in over there, if you didn't already see this.