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Open Letter To California

Posted by jeresk on November 1, 2008 in Personal |

Thousands of years ago a marriage was generally preformed when a man had reached his 30’s and took one or more children in their early teens.  In the 1200’s it was illegal for women under 24 to marry.  Marriages just a few hundred of years ago were often pre-arranged to stave off war, start war, and even bring economic prosperity to different regions.  Not too long ago marriage was banned between people of different ethnic backgrounds.  At one time or another these were all considered forms of “Traditional Marriage.”

This year I had the amazing opportunity to marry my husband, Mike in California.  Since then battle lines were drawn and a proposition was drawn up to overturn the law that allowed us to marry.  Proposition 8 was written to put in a constitutional amendment to ban marriage between anyone other than a man and a woman.  Many people want to know why this should matter.  I have seen ads that  make sure everyone knows that in California domestic partners can register and have many of the same rights as married couples.  Many people believe this means that the fight is no longer about rights, but about something else.  I have seen ads that make the threat that it is about making sure gay marriage will be taught in schools.  Church adoption agencies will be forced to close and churches will be forced to allow gay marriages happen on their property at the threat of losing tax exempt status.  Many of the ads to say vote No on Prop 8 run all the information on why all of the above couldn’t really happen.  I will say, from the bottom of my heart – I don’t care.  Maybe it means everything above will happen.

I know this may make people nervous, and politically it seems like people only figure out how to skirt the issues.  Many of the Vote No people will talk about “false threats.”  What if they are real?  They might be.  Any change will bring about uncertain futures.  Although standing still can sometimes mean the world runs by.  Every decision has consequences and keeping things at a status quo doesn’t even insure that problems won’t crop up.

Mike and I have several children in our lives – all of them know that we are together and are in a relationship.  Our nephews and niece know that we are their “uncles.”  Our friends’ kids know we are together.  So far, they seem to be ok.  I know very few sadistic homosexuals who would demand a place of worship be the venue for the most sacred of days for them, while hating them and resenting them the whole time.  Most people want their weddings to go off perfect and I do not believe many would chance screwing up the day trying to book a venue where they are not wanted.  All of the worst fears of Prop 8 voters may indeed come true.  I don’t believe they will, but it’s always possible.  So do we all try and sit still and hope nothing ever bad happens, ever?  What if we were to leave marriage as it is in California and see what happens?  If the worst really does happen, the proposition could always be re-run down the road.  Nothing says it has to happen now.

Mike and I have a home, we share our lives together, we share our bills, we visit family and do volunteer work, we vote.  I mow the lawn and Mike does the laundry.  We split the housework, we argue, we make mistakes and pay for them together, and we share each other’s celebrations.  Until this year we had everything any other marriage has, other than a state certificate saying we were married.  On June 17th 2008, that was fixed.  Once we were married, the world did not crack in half.  Everything in life went on as it always has.  Mike and I do not hide our relationship.  We live in a very conservative neighborhood, but if a child were to ask, I would let them know that Mike was my husband.  Yes On 8 says people will lose control over whether they choose to teach their kids about gay relationships or not.  To ensure that they never hear about gay relationships, you have to make sure they never encounter a gay person, never watch TV, and never bring them around us.  I would never get graphic with anyone, but I will never hide the fact that we are in a relationship.  No, I don’t care if a teacher reads King and King.  I don’t care if teachers talk about gay relationships as long as it never got any more inappropriate than what a teacher would say about straight relationships.

Marriage used to be about politics and by today’s standards was completely inappropriate.  But it was traditional.  People had to stand up and say, “We believe things should be different.”  Marriage used to be controlled by one gender.  It wasn’t right, but it was – at the time, traditional.  People had to stand up and say, “We believe things will be better if we make a change…” One group again controls marriage.  It is again, political.  It loses a lot of its meaning in the very fight to preserve it’s meaning.  Ask someone what marriage means to them.  You will either be told it is about love and equality, or you will be told it is about traditional family values.  Both are the sound bites of each side.  Dig deeper and see what people believe their sound bites mean, and most will be stumped, not because people don’t really understand marriage – it’s just that it hasn’t been any more than a sound bite for quite some time now – all because of the fight.  I don’t think people really even know what they are fighting for anymore.

November 4th 2008 is day when we can look at all of this political fodder about traditional and non-traditional “lifestyles” and “choices.”  We all have the chance to say – “I don’t know what the future holds, but it just doesn’t make sense any longer to make sure certain couples never hold a piece of paper.  I ask everyone in the country – California residence and non…  ask yourself…  “What do I KNOW will happen?  If things turn awful, can it be changed later?  If we don’t know the worst will happen, can we really ask the world to stand still out of our own fear of what may change?”  The answers may still propel you to support vote Yes on 8 – but I hope people all over the country will accept that “Traditional Marriage” has changed.  It has changed a lot…  Our society is better because we change things every day.  There are things we wish we could go back and change, but everything teaches us something, and if we have learned anything, sometimes we have to stand up and be the ones that say, “I think things should be different…” If Prop 8 fails, it may just mean that people start re-focusing back on what their marriage means to THEM, and stop focusing on what my marriage means to their marriage.  If my marriage can damage your marriage, then your marriage really needs your full commitment now – because it’s weaker than you give it credit for.  The people of California have the power right now to force our divorce.  If that happens, I want to know how your breaking our contract made your contract stronger…  How our divorce strengthened families.  All families, or just yours?  We love one another – I beg all Californians…  Please, let us show you this will make our country stronger – if we can’t prove that, re-run the amendment proposition and I will vote for it myself.  I love you all…

-Jeremy

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