Thursday, July 16, 2009

You are a front line soldier in a war for justice. Here are some tools.

As part of serious preparation for a ballot initiative in California to repeal, Prop. 8 polling has been conducted throughout our state. The following four points are the ones, which received the highest positive response from the general electorate.

I suggest that you read them carefully and use them in speaking to co-workers, friends and acquaintances. I would also add two additional thoughts. First, the majority of those who have changed their stance on this position in our favor have done so, because they have a friend who is a member of our community. It is very important that each of us tell our personal story, from the heart. Secondly, “HOW” you speak is as critical as what you say! Be respectful; listen to their concerns/fears. Respond in a firm, but polite fashion. All of have disagreements with even our closest friends from time to time. Words can be weapons that inflict wounds and divide, or they can be a balm, which promotes healing and mutual understanding. Please, be a vessel for healing our society on this issue.

1). Banning gays and lesbians from marriage is unfair. Gay and lesbian couples have the same hopes, dreams and concerns for their families as everyone else. They should be allowed the dignity, commitment, and responsibility that come with marriage, just like everyone else.

2). This ballot measure would allow civil marriage for same-sex couples. At the same time, it will not change religious marriage or how each religion defines marriage, and it protects the rights of religious groups that do not want to perform or recognize same-sex marriages.

3). There are over 70,000 children of gay and lesbian couples in California, and these children deserve to have two loving, committed parents who are married. Having married parents would give those children the sense of security and the legal protections that all children should have.
4). A core value for people of faith is that all people are created in the image of God and to love your neighbor as yourself. Gay and lesbian people are our neighbors, our friends and family, and our co-workers. All our neighbors should be able to enjoy the dignity and respect and commitment that come with marriage – including gay and lesbian couples.

Finally, the work to repeal Prop 8 will not start in the summer/fall of 2010/2012. It started on 5 November 2008. Ad agencies or LGBT organizations and their staffs will not accomplish the work. We all will accomplish it, by each member of our community doing his/her part to restore full marriage equality and civil rights.

Some have argued that this will cost us lots of time and money. Yes, it will. However, it will also cost those who wish to keep us subjugated as second-class citizens lots of time and money as well. They will have to spend huge amounts of money in California to try to keep us down. Those are funds, which they will not have to fight us in other states. Those are funds they will not have to fight us on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Those are fund they will not have to fight us on the repeal of DOMA.

Both they and we have to pay with dollars to win, but if we lose, we have to pay with our lives. That is why we will win. They want to manipulate and control both society; and us whereas, we simply want to enjoy the same rights and freedoms as others in our society.

Why should you care? Remember what it was like when you were young and first realized that you were different? Remember the fear of being rejected by your family/relatives? Remember the taunts at school? Remember the fights? Many young people out there are just going through that right now in their lives. By working together for justice today, we are creating a more just, compassionate and healthier society tomorrow. A society where respect replaces prejudice and where love dispels fear.


Vickye said...

I believe in marriage equality, with all of my heart, but I still don't believe that letting the fickle public decide whether people should have equal rights is the way to go. I really think we should be leaning on the judicial system to repeal this or the legislative branch to change the law. Letting the people decide on this will only open up the opportunity for them to be able to come back in 2 years and fight us on this again.

Steven said...

I'll have to reiterate what Husseinmama said. But another point I'd like to add is that we also need to get those people who agree with us to "express that agreement" by getting out to the poles and voting; regardless of how unimportant the local elections (mayoral, aldermanic, trustee, etc.) may be.