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Perrette Says No on 8

Perrette Says No on 8


NCIS star Pauley Perrette writes a letter against Prop. 8.

I realize that this could be entitled "Proposition Fear," but it doesn't rhyme and it doesn't exemplify the true nature of the issue, either in initial intent or the inevitable outcome. Proposition 8 is an initiative on the ballot set for November 4, 2008, that would change the California constitution to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry. There is nothing else to it. It is simply to "eliminate rights."

There have been many times in the history of this country where necessary reform has been both championed and enacted. Reforming our laws can be a positive process, one which makes this country better and more true to what we stand for, such as "All men are created equal," and "Liberty and justice for all." In the beginning, "All men are created equal" actually meant "All white male property owners" are created equal. Later reform meant this clause was inclusive of all white males. After a while, and an enormous amount of bloodshed, women and people of color would also be afforded most of the same rights.

Marriage has taken even longer to reform. Antimiscegenation laws prevented couples of different races from marrying. It was a felonious crime, in which offenders could be imprisoned, and were. This may sound like ancient history, but it certainly is not. The case of Loving v. Virginia, which finally rid us of this unfair treatment of some of our "equals," was finally litigated and won only in 1967. California should be proud that it was, as usual, ahead of the curve: California ended antimiscegenation laws in 1948.

There are many cultures that do not allow anyone to marry the person of their choosing at all. The person you marry is chosen for you. This practice is still in effect within certain religions. In this country, one has the right to choose their religion; thus, engaging in the tradition of your marriage partner being chosen for you, or picking your own mate, is voluntary. This should not be the state.

Religious persons are the overwhelming proponents of Proposition 8, although many do not support Proposition 8. In point of fact, two denominations, plus some religious advocates from outside of California, are taking the lead in supporting Proposition 8. In their zeal, they have made many false claims in their attempt to frighten voters into voting for Proposition 8, such as churches losing their IRS status or same-sex marriage being forced upon children in school. These allegations have been clearly stated as untruths, yet the campaign of false rhetoric continues in millions of dollars worth of false advertising.

Here's the real truth: Whether or not Proposition 8 passes, churches are allowed to discriminate against whomever they want, or to not discriminate. Some churches will not ordain women or allow them as members of the clergy. Some do. Some churches allow marriage ceremonies for anyone who wants to make that kind of commitment, some do not. Some do not allow divorce, or a divorce to remarry. Churches are segregated, delegated, and regulated by their own clergy and judicatory heads. Each of us has the choice to attend the church we want to, or none at all. Separation of church and state allows for religions to have their own set of rules as to whom they will accept and whom they won't, and the practices they support and the ones they don't. They will continue to be able to do so. Equal rights for everyone under the law allows churches to proudly define themselves as what they do or do not support. The bottom line? Proposition 8 will not affect religious communities at all.

As far as the continuous lies about schools go, California law prohibits any child from being taught anything about health or family issues against their parents' will. Not only does Proposition 8 mention nothing about education, [a Sacramento] superior court has already ruled these scare tactic claims...[to be] false and misleading. They continue making these claims regardless of the exposition of the truth to try to instill false fear. [Editor's note: In August, a Sacramento superior court ruled Yes on 8 must change its argument in the official voter information guide from saying gay marriage in schools "will" be taught to "could" or "may."]

And what is the fear? "Protecting marriage" and many other varied wordings of the same sentiment, seems to be the mantra at the core of this. This is very similar to the language used in the antimiscegenation laws of yore. "Protecting" suggests that something is in danger; could be stolen or damaged. When others are doing the same thing you are, when they believe in the same values you do -- commitment and loyalty and monogamy -- doesn't that lend support for the values of marriage? Is a gay married person going to sneak into your house in the middle of the night and steal your marriage? Your marriage may be threatened by infidelity, lack of interest, lack of commitment or, tragically, by abuse or deception; however, other committed married couples do not affect your marriage at all.

Many people are vehemently in objection to legal marriage altogether, for anyone whatsoever, to the point where they would like to have it legally impossible for anyone to be married. Same-sex couples who believe in marriage believe the same thing straight marriage-oriented people do if faced with an anti-"marriage for all" proposal. They believe in the right to make that commitment if they want to.

Personally, I am a churchgoing Christian. I love my church, my congregation; it's my favorite place to be. I feel the safest and the happiest when I am at my beloved church.

I am a straight, female, divorced Christian who has chosen an excellent mate (this time) and am about to get married, in my church. I love my fiance more than I thought a person could love another and thank God every day for him. Exactly the way many couples of differing races, religions, and orientations feel about their beloveds. In many places and times, I would not be able to get married. Because I chose my own partner, because I was divorced years ago, because I am of Native American heritage (now mixed with several other things), or if marriage was outlawed altogether, I wouldn't be able to be married. But I can. And I am.

I have been making arrangements, calling my family, speaking with my pastor, trying to figure out what to wear, trying to make a list of invitations -- the same things many other couples have been doing. I've been to, and have been in, many beautiful weddings of late. Some are same-sex, some are opposite-sex. They made plans for their day as I am doing now. Food, location, family, friends, flowers, reservations, flights... I've worn a dress, taken endless pictures, and cried tears of joy for all of my friend's nuptials in the exact same way.

The only difference is, there are people who want to amend the California constitution in order to strip some of my friends of their marriages. Forget about the food, the location, the family, the friends, the flowers, and the wonderful memories of that special day... It was their commitment and love that made me cry.

These are people.

People with pretty conservative ideals.

People who love each other so much, they want to make it official and legal, have a wedding, and celebrate with their loved ones. They have happy photo albums and saved their cake. They have rings and special things from their weddings. They love each other, just like straight people do.

Love is a big word. I believe in Love. I believe that God is Love. I believe in things like 1 John, Chapter 4: 7-12 and 20-21.

People who love each other.

Really? That is who you want to spend millions of dollars to "eliminate the rights" of?

I don't know what church you go to, but I'm sure glad I go to mine. A church that believes in love and equality for all.

And I'm sure glad that I will not have on my conscience and in my soul that I supported a bill of hate and fear and a campaign of lies.

I am proudly voting No on Proposition 8. And am proud to be able to say years from now, when there are plenty more married couples of all types and shapes and colors and sizes trying to do the right thing with their marriage, that I did the right thing.

I am an American who does what we say we are...

Liberty and Justice for all...

All are created equal.

And I am a Christian.

Who does what it says...

Love one another...

The greatest of these is Love.

No on Prop. 8.

Pauley Perrette

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

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