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To the Woman Who Lives Across the Street and Watched Me Grow Up

Daniel Gonzales

October 20th, 2008

I grew up across the street from a soft-hearted Mormon woman (and her late husband) in Ventura, CA. Back during the Prop 22 election she confessed to my mother her guilt and conflict because she felt a “yes” vote was a vote against a gay man down the street she knew personally.

Today I received a text message from my mom (she’s so hip) alerting me to a “yes on prop 8″ sign that had appeared on the soft-hearted Mormon’s lawn.

I’ve never formally come out to her but I think the time has come to mail her a hand-written card:

With the upcoming vote on prop 8 I’m sending letters to people in my life who may not be aware people that I, and other people they care about are gay or lesbian. Under prop 8, I would no longer be treated as a full and equal citizen in the place I call home.

Comments

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johnson
October 20th, 2008 | LINK

Good for you, it will be interesting what kind of response you recieve. Please share it with us.

Pomo
October 20th, 2008 | LINK

Thats the kind of thing we have to be doing if we want to win. Unfortunately i’ve been met with little success. But you never know right?

I’ve donated money. I’ve got the sticker on my car. I’ve written letters to the editor of local papers. I’ve talked to people. I blog about it.

We’ve gotta do everything we can. Kudos for your work.

Kevin
October 20th, 2008 | LINK

Go for it.

They should know the people they are hurting. And if they believe that God will judge them for the life they lived, they must be ready to answer for their sins against thier neighbors (or former neighbors).

Micah
October 20th, 2008 | LINK

I’m sorry you feel like prop 8 takes away your freedom. A couple also cannot conceive a child the same way a heterosexual couple can. Does this mean you are not equal? No. Marriage is beyond love, it is about procreation. The day a man can naturally produce an egg or a woman can naturally produce sperm is the day I will support that individual marrying someone of the same sex.

If a gay couple wants to make the same commitment to each as a married heterosexual couple that is fine with me. You are free but the definition of marriage need not change to make us equal.

Timothy Kincaid
October 20th, 2008 | LINK

Micah,

I’m surprised to learn that civil marriage is about procreation. You see, I have an aunt that chose not to procreate. Should I demand that her marriage license be revoked?

And all the tax codes and inheritance laws and immigration rules and even gym memberships and car insurance discounts, well we must immediately revoke them. After all, marriage is only about procreation.

You see, Micah, you don’t REALLY believe marriage is about procreation. Do you? I think it’s just an easy excuse to justify your own desire to reward yourself for being heterosexual. You’d feel bad if you let yourself see what you really think, wouldn’t you?

Louie
October 20th, 2008 | LINK

I think Justice Sachs of the South African Constitutional Court (same-gender marriage is LEGAL in South Africa) blew a hole in the “procreation” argument so wide you can a drive a car through it:

“…however persuasive procreative potential might be in the context of a particular religious world-view, from a legal and constitutional point of view, it is not a defining characteristic of conjugal relationships. To hold otherwise would be deeply demeaning to couples (whether married or not) who, for whatever reason, are incapable of procreating when they commence such relationship or become so at any time thereafter. It is likewise demeaning to couples who commence such a relationship at an age when they no longer have the desire for sexual relations or the capacity to conceive. It is demeaning to adoptive parents to suggest that their family is any less a family and any less entitled to respect and concern than a family with procreated children. It is even demeaning of a couple who voluntarily decide not to have children or sexual relations with one another; this being a decision entirely within their protected sphere of freedom and privacy.”

California – Vote “NO” on Prop. 8!
Arizona – Vote “NO” on Prop. 102! AGAIN!
Florida – Vote “NO” on Amendment 2!
Connecticut – Vote “NO” on Question 1!

Wanda
October 21st, 2008 | LINK

Good for you Daniel! Perhaps if it becomes personal to them some people will realize how much harm they’re doing….

Great response Timothy.

Louie, thanks so much for that info; now I know how to answer people who come up with that “procreation” argument.

Jennifer
October 21st, 2008 | LINK

Gosh, Micah, my husband and I had to get some medical help to conceive. I have lots of friends who are infertile. Should our marriages be annulled? Maybe they can take away our kids, adopted or otherwise.

I have to thank the Catholics across the street from me (in Berkeley, CA) for posting a “Yes on 8″ sign and getting me motivated to track down No on 8 signs, post them, and donate to No on 8 campaign. I come from a long line of Mormons, I dearly love my LDS relatives (some of whom are gay), and I am so very disappointed in the statements and actions of the Mormon Church leaders on this issue. But they are trying to hold back the tide. Younger Mormons, as younger people everywhere, are much more accepting of homosexuality.

I fear Prop 8 is going to pass now, but it will eventually be overturned.

Ben in Oakland
October 21st, 2008 | LINK

Daniel: thanks for doing this. It is the constant process of coming out that will end this prejudice. as long as people are not will to take the risk, then the Religious right continues to win.

Micah– here’s a little slap upside your bigoted head. your arugment is bankrupt.

you base your argument against gay marriage on preserving the link between marriage and procreation. The Supreme court addressed that issue by stating the obvious: though there is such a link, it is neither necessary nor exclusive. Procreation is not required for heterosexual marriage. Old, infertile, paraplegic, even child-phobic people can get married. But if a same sex couple want to marry, procreation suddenly seems to be an important issue. Do you think that might have more to do with people’s prejducie against gay people than it does with procreation?

Likewise, marriage is not required for procreation. Many women and many men, both straight and gay, procreate outside of marriage, some responsibly, many not. Some communities are in fact plagued by children born outside of marriage, born by child mothers to absent fathers, perpetuating cycles of poverty and family breakdown.

Stanley Kurtz absurdly claims that somehow, if gay people are allowed to marry, this will have an effect on heterosexual procreation. Using scare terms like “global decline in fertility”, “depopulating world”, and “asexual reproduction” he wants to blame gay people for falling fertility in western countries. Utter nonsense dressed up in psuedo-scientific drag! Is his “depopulated” planet the same overpopulated one I am on? I can see it now. John to Susan: “Look. Ben and Paul are getting married. Let’s not have kids!” If heterosexuals are not reproducing, maybe you need to talk to them about it instead of denying us marriage.

The issue of procreation is an obfuscation used because the anti-marriage people want to avoid using the more accurate descriptor of the issue: children– a descriptor which would humanize gay people. You want to believe that gay people do not procreate. Some have, and some do, when we are not busy adopting and raising the unwanted castoffs of irresponsible heterosexual procreation, many of whom are literally dying for a home, dying for the love of two parents (of whatever gender), or maybe just dying.

The Supreme Court noted that there are some 70,000 children being raised by same sex parents. Do not the children of gay people, however gotten, deserve the same protection, provided by marriage, that is afforded their counterparts in “traditional” families? Or are those children just not important to the anti-gay industry?

Micah– how important are they to you?

PSUdain
October 21st, 2008 | LINK

Daniel, congratulations, that can be a pretty tough step to take. In many ways it’s not a step that I have taken yet, and I’m pretty open about who I am (on the record in the paper at college several times).

To come out in the community where I grew up is a little scary to me, just because there’s a lot of potential for rejection, and seemingly little potential for personal gain from it.

However, I recently put together a panel for National Coming Out Week about faith and LGBT issues, and I was inspired, between that and a supportive editorial I read from a former pastor (no a member) at my home congregation, to be just a little more open, and just wear that little rainbow lapel pin. Your courage is just further inspiration toward being open and out.

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As to Micah, isn’t that a massively oversimplified view of marriage? That it’s about procreation and that alone, basically?

The answer to my question, of course, I think, is YES, ABSOLUTELY! All the other arguments made here on this site are great and certainly hold true.

But if you want a religious veiwpoint (not sure if that’s where you’re coming from), have a look at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s Draft Statement on Human Sexuality. There is lengthy discussion about marriage, and about all matters relating to sexuality. And the study really points to the fact that marriage is absolutely not just about procreation. This is not some “secular” social institution; this is a large, mainstream church body.

Louie
October 21st, 2008 | LINK

Jennifer – If you haven’t done so already, you may want to check out the website of “Mormons For Marriage”. They have lots of information on how and why to vote “NO” on Prop. 8.

From their website:

Mormons for Marriage supports marriage equality for all, and stands in respectful opposition to California Proposition 8.


California – Vote “NO” on Prop. 8!
Arizona – Vote “NO” on Prop. 102! AGAIN!
Florida – Vote “NO” on Amendment 2!
Connecticut – Vote “NO” on Question 1!

Denise
October 22nd, 2008 | LINK

Thank you for sharing your personal action here. It’s an example of what we can do wherever we are and make small differences that add up.

Here in PA there is no ballot question on marriage, but the issue of a marriage amendment is raised regularly in our State Assembly. The measure was defeated this last year, but I think it demonstrates the relevance of candidates’ positions on LGBT issues regardless of whether there is an immediate threat to our rights.

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