Saturday, November 15, 2008

California's Proposition 8: I Should Have Spoken Up!

A few weeks before the recent election, fire broke out in the hills north of LA.  A friend of mine from high school, who is now a Hollywood screen writer and producer, lives there and as news of the fires covered the airwaves, I IMd Matt to make sure that he and his (large Mormon) family were OK and that their house was spared.  He assured me that everyone was OK and mentioned that he'd been pretty busy with a new project lately, offering that he was producing commercials for California's "Yes on Proposition 8" campaign.

gay rights B

Needless to say, our warm and friendly IM became instantly strained and cool. Matt and I have had a few conversations about religion and politics over the years and we are each well aware of our vast differences, but we've always shown each other respect and restraint.  This time, though, I struggled to remain civil because I adamantly oppose Proposition 8, which strives to take civil rights away from gay couples in California by changing the state's constitution, stripping them if their right to marry.

Our IM lasted hardly 30 seconds after Matt told me what he'd been doing during the weeks before the election.  I told him that I disagreed with him vehemently.  He told me he was aware of how I felt and that he disagreed with me vehemently.  And then we cordially wished each other well and clicked out of our IM.

Yes, part of me wishes that I had engaged him in a discussion, but I know that my chances of changing his mind about gay marriage being wrong were as likely as him changing my mind that  marriage is a right of all human beings -- both gay and straight.

gay rights A

Yes, I wanted to ask him how gay marriage threatens his marriage and his family, but I didn't.

And now, a week after Proposition 8 passed in California -- some say at the last minute due to an expensive media blitz paid for by religious groups, especially Mormons -- I wish I would have.

I feel guilty that I didn't speak up.  Yes, chances are that it would have put an irreversible strain on Matt's and my friendship, and chances are it wouldn't have changes his thinking, but I wish I had said something. 

How many other people could have made a difference but chose not to speak up?  When something like this happens, could it be that staying silent because we don't want to infringe on others' beliefs is actually the wrong thing to do?

Matt, we really should talk.

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Anonymous said...

We should boycott Mormons and all Mormon businesses. The only way to get through to hate-filled people is through their wallets.

Anonymous said...

Oh man. I'm just blown away that CALIFORNIA would pass such a thing. I would have never thought that possible. (WTF?) I'll never be able to understand how other people's happiness and commitment toward each other is an apparent "threat" to others. The outcome of this makes me so sad (and so angry). I don't get Mormons. I don't get any religion who strive to impose their narrow-mindedness onto others. It just makes me feel even more disgusted about their beliefs.

I also don't believe there was anything you could have said, Carol, that would have made a difference. This will take some time, just like the election of a black president.

Margaret said...

My daughter would agree with that, but I am still hung up on respecting others' opinions. However, when it crosses the line into telling everyone else how to live, I get VERY uncomfortable. Maybe we do need to have those awkward conversations.

Goofball said...

I think I would have done as you did: not triggered the discussion as I think you can't change some people's minds at all. It would be a "black" "white" discussion with no mutual understanding.
Yet I understand your feeling now as well.

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