Prop 8: Can people agree to disagree?

Covering Proposition 8 – the proposition hoping to place an amendment in California’s Constitution making marriage exclusively between a man and a woman – one thing is very clear: people are passionate about it.

Both sides have strong feelings of support for their cause, which leads to vigorous discussions and debate on the subject of gay marriage. The problem is, since it is such a contentious issue, some are wondering if it is truly possible to have open, progressive discussion concerning the subject.

From all of the people I talked to concerning Prop 8 for stories, while having extreme differences, seemed to agree on one thing. The proposition’s public debate hasn’t been a healthy one.

Take a look at the comments on the stories on the Tribune’s website. Each story on Prop 8 is met with hoards of comments that sling mud back and forth, often filled with personal attacks or ugly words.

“It is causing a major divide among the people of California and it is, unfortunately, doing that. It is going to cause more problems within the society,” said Shawn Tanuvasa, the director of the Institute of Religion for a local chapter of the Church of Later Day Saints. .

“I don’t think the campaign has been structured right. There is a lot of confusion around it,” said Julie Tinney, a recently married lesbian.

“I think it can be a polarizing issue and what I am hearing a lot in the last week or two is that just as people in the presidential campaign are fed up with the politics as usual, and they want to talk about the issues, I am hearing some of that talk around Prop 8,” said Rev. Susan Russell of All Saints Church in Pasadena.

It is easy to see why problems arise in the debate over the issue. One sees it as a matter of civil rights and basic freedom. The other, along very similar lines, sees it as a matter of faith and religious freedom. Either way, it is a fundamental difference in belief that is not easily swayed.

Most issues, journalists know all to well, are not black and white but carry with them varying degrees of positives and negatives. They are clouded by the nature of existence that doesn’t usually allow something good without some element of unease, that doesn’t create evil without some level of humanity.

And that is what seems to be missing, by all acounts, from the debate surrounding Prop 8 and gay marriage. Both sides seem to have left out the humanity. While advocating there own side, some have forgotten they are arguing against the beliefs and way of life as others. And to argue against that, often enough, is to argue against that person on a very personal level.

People carry their religion with them, as a well fastened part of their being. For some people, their worth and existence revolves around their faith in God and the Bible. Arguing against that religion, and often, trying to discredit that religion can be intensely hurtful.

On the other side, gay and lesbian individuals believe this is who they are and they have accepted and embraced that, whether or nor they chose it or not. To separate them from a portion of society because of that lifestyle can leave them feeling alone and rejected.

Either way, when this issue is decided Tuesday, someone will be left out in the cold. What the effects of that will be remains to be seen. What I do know is that whoever “wins” this battle may celebrate that victory on Wednesday, but we should all be a little sad because no matter what, that victory will come at a cost at our neighbors expense, by punishing them for who they are and what the believe. We will have taken something from them, pass or fail. And with that, we all may have lost a little bit of our humanity.

“I think there is a possibility to agree to disagree,” Tanuvasa said.

On the issue of Prop 8, I am not so sure.

  • Robert Thomas

    RE: What I do know is that whoever “wins” this battle may celebrate that victory on Wednesday, but we should all be a little sad because no matter what, that victory will come at a cost at our neighbors expense, by punishing them for who they are and what the believe.

    —–

    That is ridiculous. That’s like sayingm it’s sad that the nazis and Adolph Hitler were not allowed to have their say. You seem to miss the point that there is 1) separation of church and state, 2) gays pay taxes, churches don’t amd 3) taking away the civil rights of a large group of citizens in order to satisfy a church is immoral.

  • Daniel Tedford

    Did you just compare religious institutions in the state to the Nazis? That may fall under the realm of ridiculous.

    But I think you missed the point, and in doing so, provided evidence for mine. Civil discourse has been lost within this debate. Instead misleading ads have been presented, anger has been produced, and people are being divided.

    No matter the outcome, it seems we are going to have many people who are bordering upon hateful rhetoric on each side.

  • anonymous

    How can anger not be produced? Two separate groups are being asked to decide a fundamental belief that helps to identify who they are as people.

    However, if Prop 8 passes an entire group of individuals will be forced to live without the rights we all enjoy. On the otherhand, if it fails those that are opposed to gay marriage will not have to change their beliefs and can continue to believe as they wish.

  • Anonymous

    We all have the right to marry, as long as it is a person of the opposite sex. Legally, gays and straights may all have the same protections offered by marriage, without being married. Seems pretty equal to me.

  • Tony Mena

    If gays want the same rights of Married people. Fine. Make it a -Civil Union-. This than can be sancioned by the state and the state only. The Church is out of it. And cannot be sued if they feel morally wrong about it. Marriage/Married is a binding contract between a husband and wife, male and female as it always has been. Live your lifestyle whatever it be. But don’t try and push it on me. No on prop.8 tries to make it the same as mine. It’s not. And don’t try to make me out the bad guy. Get your rights – the right way!

  • Anonymous

    Isn’t a “Domestic Partnership” a civil union? Doesn’t it offer the same legal protections? What civil rights have been taken away from gays? Because they pay taxes and churches don’t, do they want to force the non taxpaying churches to do their bidding? That’s what it sounds like to me.

  • clueless mena

    Have you checked with your butt buddy the mayor on this issue? The mayor might have bisno get rid of you he won’t like you talking about his gay issues. I suggest you get permission from all your little groupies before making any comments cause you know the mayor is very revengeful. Who knows he might send the bulldog after you and you know she is a really payback kind of a girl.

  • Tony Mena

    Hey clueless, or should i say gutless. It sounds like the window washer man. You can’t just comeback on the issues huh loser. From the brainless comment you made i can quess who it is. What, did i touch a nerve? Did your panties go in a bunch? If your a man say who you are. Otherwise, go cry to your mama punk.

  • Tony Mena

    Hey clueless, or should i say gutless. It sounds like the window washer man. You can’t just comeback on the issues huh loser. From the brainless comment you made i can quess who it is. What, did i touch a nerve? Got your panties go in a bunch? If your a man say who you are. Otherwise, go cry to your mama punk.

  • Just a Mom

    I worry about our Country. I want to know what’s next on the I HAVE RIGHTS speech?

    I have rights to marry a minor.
    I have rights to marry 10 men.
    I have rights to marry my son.
    I have rights to marry my brother.
    I have rights to marry my sister.
    I have rights to marry my cousin.

    Come on people….. it’s not about rights is it? It’s an excuse! There are better ways to solve this without opening a huge can of worms.

  • Anonymous

    I have rights to own a handgun

    to

    I have rights to own a semi-automatic machine gun

    to

    I have rights to an automatic machine gun

    to

    I have rights to own a bazooka

    to

    I have rights to own a rocket propelled grenade launcher.

    That’s the beauty of “slippery sloap arguments. One persons “slipper sloap” is another persons absurd extrapolation.

  • Anonymous

    Don’t people already marry their cousins in certain parts of the Bible Belt.

  • NO COMMON SENSE

    TO JUST A MOM. SERIOUSLY? HOW LONG DID THAT TAKE FOR YOU TO COME UP WITH? WHY DON’T YOU TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION FOR THE PAST FOUR MONTHS GAY AND LESBIANS HAVE BEEN ALLOWED TO MARRY IN THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA. SINCE THIS TIME HOW IS THIS AFFECTED YOUR LIFE AND YOUR CHILDS LIFE? HAVE YOU HEARD OR SEEN PEOPLE SPEAK TO LOCAL ELECTIVE OFFICALS ABOUT MARRYING RELATIVES? I FEEL SORRY FOR YOU CHILD HAVING SUCH A MORONIC MOTHER.

  • Undecided

    To NO COMMON SENSE:
    Why can’t you just argue your point without resorting to name calling? It makes me think that your side has very weak arguments and you are attempting to distract us with all the noise. I think the “NO on Prop. 8″ people would be a lot better off if you kept your mouth shut.

    I find the name you picked for your post, “NO COMMON SENSE” rather fitting.