Sunday, October 26, 2008

A Brief Digression into Politics

A plea for you to vote "No" on CA Proposition 8, and maintain the rights of same-sex couples in California.

I really hate using this blog as a political forum. I have a personal blog I use for that, read only by people who know me. This blog should be expressly for computer-related topics. I apologize to readers expecting me to talk about concurrency or APIs or anything else. I apologize to readers who don't like to see discussion of this issue, or to those who have a problem with the way I handle it.

Today's post is just for the California voters. On November 4th, we are going to be asked to vote on Proposition 8, which is only 14 words long: "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California." Please vote no on this proposition, and keep California safe for families of all kinds.

A lot of you might wonder why a heterosexual who only blogs about software engineering and computer science might feel compelled to write about this topic. The answer is simple: I see it as one of the most important American civil rights issues of the early part of the 21st century (there are obviously much more serious issues in other countries).

I know lesbians and gays with children. Why should they have to explain to their children that their friends' mommies and daddies can be married, but that their mommies and daddies can't?

I know lesbians and gays who have been together for decades: through pain, and joy, and hardship, and victory. I've seen the love in their eyes when they were finally able to say those vows to each other and have it mean something in the eyes of society. They have just as much right to that as I do. Don't take that away from them.

I wonder what will happen when my friends in same-sex couples get sick when they are in a state with the wrong kind of law, and their partners can't visit them, or make life-or-death decisions for them. I wonder what happens when two people work all of their lives to build something together, and, when one of them dies, the state comes and takes half of it away because they didn't happen to be in a relationship that fits everyone's idea of what a relationship should be.

A lot of people say that civil unions provide the same thing without calling it marriage. This is simply not true. The issue is that civil unions will be treated differently by other states and by the Federal government, many of which don't recognize civil unions.

A lot of people are worried that churches will be forced to perform these ceremonies. This just clouds the issue. If you are worried that churches might be forced to perform weddings against their will, then lobby for a change to the constitution that says that churches can't be forced to perform marriages against their will. Don't side with the people — and we all know that they are out there, and how they will vote — who hate without reason, and take the right to be married away.

A lot of people are worried that their children will be exposed to homosexuality in the classroom. There is a law in our state that says that you can't teach children about those issues without their parents' consent. It's that simple.

A lot of people talk about how marriage is just for people who want to raise children. This is a smokescreen. Lots of same-sex couples raise children. Lots of heterosexual couples don't.

Don't destroy peoples' lives and families by trying to ban their marriages. Everyone is entitled to be treated equally under the law.

One last note: I know some people who feel that the government shouldn't be in the business of marriages at all. That's a completely separate issue, Libertarians.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled Java.