Friday, September 25, 2009

The new battle in California

Society protects and defends the rights of prisoners, who have been stripped of most of their civil rights, to enter into a civil marriage. Those who argue that homosexuality is a “lifestyle choice” are willfully ignoring the American Psychological Association and of the science of psychology, that homosexuality is an orientation. It is not a choice anymore than being heterosexual is a choice. On which calendar date did you sit down and chose your sexual orientation? Most of us discovered our orientation when we went through puberty. Some of us experienced discrimination, hatred, verbal, emotional and physical abuse in addition to the general angst, which marked that stage of development. Prop 8 legalized discrimination against a minority group into the California State Constitution and in so doing, promotes bigotry and social stigmatization of persons who have a same sex orientation.

Being a Christian is a choice, yet no one would dream (so far) of placing the rights of people to freely choose their religion up for a public vote. Regardless of one’s religious views, we all live in a pluralistic civil society. The only way that such a society can function peacefully is for all citizens to respect each other’s civil rights. Stripping any minority of its civil rights, which is precisely what Prop 8 accomplished, threatens the civil rights of every minority group in our society.

Several religions, many theologians, the APA and almost all international Psychological Associations agree that homosexuality is not a choice, but like heterosexuality, an orientation. Laws, such as Prop 8, which target a minority group and strip away their civil rights, are born of ignorance, prejudice and they promote discrimination and bigotry. I am honored to be one of the proponents of a ballot initiative, which will restore the right to a civil marriage to all Californians regardless of their sexual orientation. This new proposition will also write into our State Constitution the right of religious groups to deny religious marriage to same sex couples. This new proposition restores and protects civil marriage for all Californians while simultaneously protecting the rights of religious groups to deny religious marriage to same sex couples.

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