On March 11th, 2008, after an absence of 19 years I returned to live with my new wife in Southern California. I had, since 1989, lived in the United Kingdom, in Coventry.
Living in England was not without its difficulties and challenges, some minor, and others rather important to myself and my family.
What kind of challenges? Well, to this day I still can’t figure out that pesky beast known as the "round-about". Why on earth anyone should be forced to go in a semi circle just take a right turn is beyond me. Then there’s cricket. Some love it, others, myself included would rather lick boiling tar off of the motor way (free way to the Yanks), or watch paint dry.
There were some issues that were serious enough to warrant concern, not just too myself, but to those who shared my moral values concerning marriage. A few years ago, an act of Parliament passed into law a decree that no made the state of matrimony non-exclusive to men and women.
The system of government in the United Kingdom is such that any legislation to be passed is not voted on by the people, but is the domain of the elected officials. On matters as serious as the institution of marriage, the only thing that the people could do was to mount letter writing campaigns to members of parliament, newspapers etc. This was of limited effect.
Usually in times or moral uncertainty, people look up to religious leaders for some measure of comfort. In this instance, the State Church, the Church of England, took the position that to continue the prohibition of marriage to those of the same gender was unfair and would drive people away from the Church. The Archbishop of Canterbury sided with proponents of same gender marriage, and a schism occurred within the Anglian community. Those who maintained that the status quo needed to remain were seen as intolerant and some how behind the times.
I was angry that those who had stewardship over the moral teachings of the nation as a whole, caved in, rather than remain true to Biblical theology, while those Christians, and others of non-Christian faith, who fought for the traditional definition of the family were seen as fanatics or worse..
I was angry that public debate was confined by and large to letter writing campaigns, and that the electorate did not have a direct voice, via referendum, and that ultimately, the legislation was rammed through that the wishes of the many were apparently ignored in favor of political and social expediency.
I was angry that the very people who were shouting intolerance were the very one who were and still are crying "homophobia" to anyone who had a disagreement on either that lifestyle/choice, or who felt that the pendulum of expediency or political correctness had swung too far to the right.
I was sad that this major erosion of a keystone/cornerstone of society was removed with apparently very little notice from the general public.
Still life goes on, and I would return to the United States where this erosion of morality would not perhaps be as wide spread as it was in the United Kingdom.
However, sad to say, such dreams are the stuff of 1930s Jimmy Stewart -Frank Capra movie I fear.
In March of 2000, Proposition 22 , which was known as the "Marriage Defense Act", which was a fourteen word document was placed on the ballot in order to legally codify the definition of marriage. That Proposition declared that: "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California."
The political debate of this proposition was lengthily and at times heated. However, even after sides were drawn, debate was heard. In March of 2000, Proposition 22 was ratified by an overwhelming majority of California voters, prevailing by a 23-point margin. Statewide, 4,618,673 votes were cast in favor of the proposition, comprising 61.4% of the total vote.
Opponents garnered 2,909,370 votes, for 38.6% of the vote.
Almost as soon as the results were released, opponents of Proposition 22 began the legal process of overturning this vote on the grounds of discrimination. The process took eight years, and in June of 2008, the California State Supreme Court made their 4-3 decision, and over-turned the wishes of 61.4% of the California electorate.
I find it ironic that as part of the reasoning behind the overturning of Proposition 22, the majority of the California Justices’ used an earlier California State Supreme Court decision that overturned a State law that prohibited inter-racial marriage. In their June 2008 decision, The State Supreme Court Justices cited the the reversal of the inter-racial ban as part of the reason for overturning Proposition 22, and said that the current law that defined marriage as being between a man and woman as also discriminatory.
The irony is that the prohibition of inter-racial marriage was still founded on the legal principle that marriage was between to men and women. The legal definition of marriage was not the issue there.
We are now faced with Proposition 8, which seeks to enshrine in the California Constitution, that same fourteen word statement on marriage that: "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California."
This time however it appears to be an uphill battle as those who opposed Proposition 22 have taken this, cowardly back door approach to overturning the wishes of the majority of California voters.
Personally I would have much preferred proponents of same gender marriage to have taken the more open and honest route and placed on the ballot papers their own proposition concerning marriage.
But nobility and honor seem to be a rapidly vanishing character trait I suppose.
So here we are. The lines have been drawn in the sand and a State wide collation of churches, organizations, and private individuals we currently are working to get this measure passed.
In the interest of full disclosure, let me reafrirm that I am a Christian and am an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, so my interest in this Proposition has a lot more to do with a religious spiritual reason for my support of this State Constitutional amendment, than with notions of secular nobility, honor, or ethics, important as they all are.
Five years prior to Proposition 22, the leadership of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued what was to be only the fourth general proclamation to the world in its 170 plus year history. This document entitled " The Family: A Proclamation to the World" codifies the Biblical Christian beliefs of the nature of the family.
The following statements are found on this document: "We, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator's plan for the eternal destiny of His children.
"The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ."
My support of Proposition 8 has nothing to do with seeking to curtail the civil liberties or rights of those men and women who make the choice to live in a same gender relationship. Their rights are already protected by State law. My support of the balloted proposition has to do with my personal belief that it is not for society to decide what the definition of marriage should be, or that the historical theological teachings, both Christian and non Christian are somehow out of date.
My support of the constitutional amendment has more to do with insuring that society doesn’t go so far as to compromise what many see as a cornerstone of a society, the family unit, and when I write "family unit" I am referring to the so-called traditional perspective that this unit includes, to whatever degree, a mother and a father. Marriage cements this unit and solidifies this commitment.
The problem is that many in our society see marriage as either a simple social contract, or a piece of paper. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Marriage is much more than that. It’s more than a cultural contract. It is a divine pattern that has existed since the days of Adam and Eve.
So here is where we are now. The phrase "a turning point in history" is sometimes over used, but guess what? We’re in it. We’re Smack dab in the middle of it, and, to some degree or another, it’s time for all to choose sides. Fence sitting can be comfortable for a season, but sooner or later the time will come to get off the fence and make a decision.
Some may choose to stand in the road, like a startled deer looking at the oncoming head lights, others may choose to do nothing.
I’m opting for the third option, that of activism. I am an activist for the so-called traditional family unit, which unit comprises of a mother and a father.
I’m opting for the so called old fashioned notion that marriage is more than a social contract, that marriage can be expanded to include same gender couples etc., and that nothing will happen to society as a result of this.
If the identity of what makes a marriage a marriage, is to be changed into what can be best termed as a politically correct definition, as those who seek the failure of Proposition 8 are seeking, then there will be a loss of identity for society as a whole. Those who ascribe to the current view of what marriage should be defined as, will , in some form or another, to some degree or another, become outcast and will perhaps somehow be labeled as being intolerant of others.
I sometimes wonder why it is that tolerance seems to be a one way thing insofar as this issue is concerned.
If Proposition 8 fails, the world will not end, life will continue onward, I will still live in the hope that one day, perhaps within my life time, the Los Angeles Dodgers will regain those glory days of old and not only win the pennant, but also the World Series. ( I also believe in Santa Claus too!) However, something importnt, even special, will have been removed, and, in all likelihood, never be restored; the complete identity of what marriage is truly meant to be.
The loss of this definition will, in all likelihood, mean that those who still cling to this so-called "old fashioned" notion of exclusivity will be seen as increasingly intolerant, by those who have, what could be best termed, "liberal" views.
The loss of this definition will mean that one more secular nail has been hammered into the coffin containing a nation founded upon the principles of Christianity.
So what do we choose to do?
Get out and vote.
I’m not concerned or particularly bothered about political party affiliation, there are many good men and women in the State of California, from both the major political parties, and from other political affiliations who are concerned enough about this issue to lay aside their confecting political ideologies enough to take a stand in defense of the family, and of marriage.
Get out and speak with our friends, co-workers, family members, members of our Church congregations.
Take part in the grass roots drive to "spread the word". http://www.protectmarriage.com/ is THE starting place to go to, to volunteer to do canvassing, post yard signs, bumper stickers, and, more importantly, donate some needed funds to continue the good fight. I’m not connected with them in anyway, but find that, by and large, the information on this site is accurate, and is needed.
There are few moments in history when a society will be called upon to make a decision that will closely define it for future generations. Today. Here. Now. This is the time in California for such a moment.
Join us and preserve the God ordained institution of marriage.