Keeping a straight face at all costs

On November 2, I will vote no on Measure 36. For all thewide-eyed pleasantness of the Yes on 36 contingency and the FoxNews/ MTV-styled graphics on their youth oriented web site, thismeasure is clearly discriminatory. As such, it is diametricallyopposed to the values and best interests of a free, opensociety.

The disingenuousness of the Yes on 36 campaign’s message isdisturbing, to say the least. How these people can keep a straightface while insisting that continuing to prohibit same-sex marriagein no way discriminates against gays is beyond me. Their web site,, says, “Marriage is defined by the God ofnature and nature’s God…All people have the same right to marry,as long as they abide by the law.”

I take this to mean that gays can get married – just not to eachother.

The web site Q and A goes on, “Marriage has not been ‘imposed’upon culture by some religious institution or government power fromwhich it needs to be ‘set free.’ It was established by God, isenforced by the nature which God bestowed upon mankind, and wetamper with it at our own peril.”

If this is the case, then why is it necessary to amend our stateconstitution? The idea that the institution of marriage itself isfatally threatened by allowing gays to enjoy it is almost tooasinine to be cited. I could be wrong, but I’m fairly sure that myengagement wasn’t crippled or rendered meaningless when City Hallbegan signing marriage licenses.

The Yes on 36 campaign’s rhetoric would be hilarious, if itweren’t so offensive. The way they toss around phrases like”established by God” ought to give any thinking person pause. Thereis a reason for the legal separation of church and state, and forthe freedom of religious expression. It is to prevent a powerfulfew – or many, for that manner – from imposing their spiritualityon the rest of us, and criminalizing variant views. How can anyonehonestly think that they have any say regarding the marriage ofstrangers?

On June 12, 1967, in the case Loving v. Virginia, the U.S.Supreme Court declared Virginia’s “miscegenation” laws thatprohibited interracial marriages to be unconstitutional. Thisdecision rendered all racial restrictions on marriage throughoutthe country illegal. Those who favor Measure 36 believe that thisdecision has no bearing whatsoever on the issue of gay marriage,because whether or not someone is gay is a “matter of choice,”unlike race. I disagree.

“Gayness” is as intrinsic as the color of one’s eyes or skin.The scope and tenor of the civil rights movement were obviouslymuch different from this campaign, but there is a commonality ofpurpose. The fight against the exclusion of anyone from the rightsdue us all is part and parcel of our country’s great struggle: thequest for freedom and equality for all people.

Nevertheless, central to the vitality and legitimacy of ademocracy is the right to voice your opinions, to engage those withwhom you don’t agree in open, honest debate, and to learn fromthese exchanges.

The human barricade formed around the Yes on 36 table a week agoin the Park Blocks was ridiculous. To behave in this manner is toactively seek to stifle the democratic process. It’s not onlypetulant, but it gives fuel to the very ideologies the blockade wastrying to squelch. Doesn’t it seem that the best way to raisesupport for No on 36 is to direct the interested, undecided voterto their opponents’ web site?

See for yourself: (Watch the movie.)