Let’s talk about it!

by Cynthia de Castro/AJPress

The do’s and don’ts on marriage for gay and lesbian couples

When Americans vote on Nov 4, 2008, Californians will also be asked if they agree to Proposition 8 or not. Also known as the Protect Marriage Act, Proposition 8 is a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s decision in May 2008 that authorized the granting of marriage licenses to same-sex couples. To vote YES to Proposition 8 is to ban same sex marriage and maintain the Family Code that explicitly defines the union of a man and a woman as the only valid or recognizable form of marriage in the State of California. To vote NO is to uphold the controversial Supreme Court decision and agree to legalize same-sex marriage.

Over the coming weeks leading to the election, we can expect Californians to encounter a lot of propaganda by gay rights organizations as well as by proponents of Proposition 8 to try to sway their votes. What are both sides saying?

I Do support marriage of same-sex couples

Recently, a television commercial and a series of print ads were launched to open hearts and minds about the issues involved when same-sex couples marry. Called Let California Ring, the public education campaign addresses the public’s concerns and conflicts about marriage and same-sex couples. It builds a better understanding of the everyday challenges lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Californians face, and encourages dialogue through individual and public conversations about ways to end exclusion.

Over 50 diverse organizations have come together in the Let California Ring Campaign. They hope that the campaign will be able to engage people to talk about the freedom to marry and to build public support for gay marriage.

“I dreamed of seeing my son get married,” said Sylvia Castro-Adams. “Now that California law finally allows them to marry, Paul and Max seized the opportunity. I’m so happy they’re married; it gives me great comfort to know my son will be taken care of by someone who loves him, no matter what. I want to honor and celebrate Max and Paul’s love and commitment just as we do for all the loving couples in our family. So, we’re planning a big reception, with all the family together.”

In a recent collective editorial brainstorming session in LA organized by New American Media (NAM), a PR practitioner from San Francisco named Robert spoke of other stories of love and commitment. “The first couple who married in June 16, Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon, has been together for 55 years. Del died Aug 27. Her last great act was finally marrying the person she has loved for over 50 years. This is why people care so passionately about this issue. How would you feel if you can’t marry the person you love? How would you feel if the government told you, you can’t marry the person you love,” Robert said.

Sandy Close, NAM executive director, said that the gay community wants society to talk about their plight, and to understand and support them. The main message of Let California Ring is that “as California’s gay and lesbian couples marry, their families grow stronger. And what’s good for families is good for our communities. Strong commitments make for strong families and strong communities.”

I Don’t support marriage of same-sex couples

Those who are opposed to gay and lesbian marriages believe that the union of a man and woman in marriage is the most enduring and important human institution, and legalizing gay marriages could undermine the family.

Bishop Oscar Solis of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles stands by what Pope Benedict has stated—that the Roman Catholic Church denounces homosexual behavior but calls for empathy and compassion for gays and lesbians. The Church teaches that the inclination toward homosexuality is not necessarily a sin; it can be considered a tendency toward an intrinsic moral evil, and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder. However, as Pope Benedict said, “a person engaging in homosexual behavior acts immorally,” because he feels that sex is only good if framed in the stance of being for procreation between a married man and woman. Currently, the Roman Catholic Church has strict limitations on allowing homosexuals to become members of the clergy, and it also continues to fight the legal recognition of homosexual couples

Many other Christian denominations reject same-sex marriage because several verses in the Bible denounce it, like in Romans 1:26-27: That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved.”

Asked to comment on the question of many gays about “how would you feel if the government tells you that you can’t marry the person you love?,” Pastor Mark Briones of Word International Ministries- Los Angeles stated that, “It’s not a question of what people wish or desire. It’s an issue of what God says is right or wrong. Since I believe the Bible is God’s Word and it says homosexual relationships are wrong, then I cannot support gay marriage.”   (www.asianjournal.com)

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