I've said before that this isn't a political blog. I am not opposed to writing about politics. I just think that there are a lot of people out there who are a lot more informed than I am who do a much better job of it than I could. But I read a blog post today about Proposition 8 in California, and I considered it a personal call to action about our similar Prop 102 in Arizona. So I'm not going to write about politics. I am going to tell you, as a parent, how I feel about Prop 102 and you can like what I have to say, or not like it, but be a grown up and go vote on the issues based on what you really and truly value in your life, not out of fear and hate.
Unless you have been living under a rock, you know that these propositions have to do with same-sex marriage. In Arizona, we already defeated this proposed amendment to the state's constitution in 2006. But it is back this election cycle with a vengeance. It is now being called the "Yes for Marriage" proposition. This initiative, if passed, would add a provision to our constitution stating: "Only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this state." A provision which our forebears didn't deem necessary to define. This is an amendment to the constitution, people! (BTW, we already have a law in Arizona, which has been upheld in court, prohibiting same-sex marriages. I'm not saying I support this law, but simply asking, "what's the point?" Is there really no better way to spend our resources than attempting, once again, to constitutionalize discrimination?)
So let's look at this "Yes for Marriage" amendment from the perspective a parent thinking about the values she wishes to instill in her young children as they grow up. Yes, let's pass an amendment protecting marriage in our state. Here is what I propose: That marriage be a choice between two people who are choosing to be together, who love each other and are mutually committed to support each other throughout their lives. That marriage not be entered into lightly, because it might be fun to jaunt off to Vegas and do it on a whim. Obviously, there are a lot of things I could say here about what marriage should mean. Simply defining marriage as between a man and a woman certainly isn't going to protect the values that should be inherent in a good marriage.
Think about what a constitutional amendment would take away from same-sex couples who are in a loving, committed relationship raising a family together. If passed, it would trigger lawsuits to take away all domestic partner benefits for state, county, and city employees, including public university faculty and staff. It will also negatively impact private businesses that provide these benefits to their employees. Whether or not you agree with same-sex unions, would you really propose to take away these benefits, not just from domestic partners, but also their children? Benefits that you are entitled to with your spouse to whom you are legally married, regardless of whether or not you have a loving, committed relationship with him or her?
When I think about what I want my children to learn to value, fear and hate aren't on that list. But that is all that I see when I look at those Yes for Marriage signs up all over town. Because they're not at all about Yes to Marriage. They're about Yes to Fear what is different than us, and Yes to Hate a lifestyle that is not of our choosing.
I don't know what lies ahead for my children. They may become doctors, or teachers, musicians or circus acts. They may choose to marry or be single. They may be straight or gay. Will any of these life paths, should my children take them, make me love them any less or be disappointed in them? Absolutely not. Do I want for them to look back on this moment in our state's history and think for one second that I was lured by the fear and hate, and the empty promise of protecting everything that this one woman who chose to marry one man holds dear in the sanctity of her marriage? Absolutely not! On November 4, I will cast a vote to protect everything that I value most in my life. I will vote no on Prop. 102.