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Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
North County Times
March 6, 2000


Recently there has been a lot of talk about protecting marriage, as if that cultural ritual was somehow endangered. What needs to be protected in California is biodiversity, and in that regard Proposition 22 fails measurably on various levels. What the Knight Initiative does, is single out the gay and lesbian community for an extra dose of discrimination, as if current injustices weren't enough.

The Declaration of Independence states;"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." The last time I looked, "pursuit of happiness" included marriage, and liberty included the freedom of choice.

I would also suggest that the phrase, "all men are created equal" is clear in it's intent.

The question before us is what difference would it make if homosexual couples were recognized on par with heterosexual unions. The proponents of Prop 22 say same sex marriage would undermine the institution of holy matrimony. As if divorce and domestic violence aren't doing that already. Considering that divorce statistics are sky rocketing, perhaps the institution of marriage needs to be protected from heterosexuals. And then there are Bachelor parties, mail-order brides, Elvis weddings, and "Who want's to marry a Multi-millionaire?" Need I say more?

People serving life sentences are allowed to say vows while incarcerated, yet law abiding, tax-paying, contributors to society are not. Why is this? Convicted rapists and child molesters are also allowed to marry, How is that for traditional family values. Sentenced to death for the murder of 52 women, serial killer Ted Bundy was married while behind bars, and never once did anyone question his right to marry. Tell me again Proposition 22 is not about discrimination.

Currently only one segment of America's population is denied access to a legally recognized marriage, and this is due to something as arbitrary as sexual orientation. How is that not discrimination? Prohibiting millions of Americans from marrying, while encouraging their brothers and sisters to do so, is far from rational behavior. But then again when has discrimination ever been a matter of rationality.

Imagine being the sibling who has to attend countless weddings, while knowing the same ritual is out your reach. Imagine the thought of growing old alone, not out of choice, but because a certain segment of society needs to deny gay men and women healthy relationships, in order to validate their own. Imagine being so insecure in your relationships that you can't allow others to be happy in theirs.

Seen as a threat to the social fabric, there was a time when interracial marriages were similarly denounced as unnatural. Originally viewed as a threat to God fearing Christians these unions are now celebrated in the churches that earlier banned them. Time has shown that inclusion has a way of dismantling old prejudices, and slowly the wall of discrimination is coming down.

In my humble opinion, not only should Proposition 22 be rejected, marriage should be encouraged in the gay community, and embraced as a way of promoting monogamy in a time of AIDS. But this is not why Proposition 22 should be rejected. Proposition 22 should be defeated because it will not protect marriage, as it's proponents believe. Gay and Lesbians are already denied the right to marry in the state of California, approval of Prop 22 would do nothing but place an exclamation mark at the end of a preexisting discrimination.

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