Gay marriage is a civic issue: Vote no on Proposition 8

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When a multinational electronics and software corporation donates $100,000 to fight against a legal proposition regarding marriage, something is up.

Apple Computers has donated money toward voting down Proposition 8, a state provision that will be voted on in California’s general elections this November. The proposition, titled “Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry,” would revoke the legalization of gay marriage in the state.

The controversy over gay marriage has recently become a little hotter than usual, following the 4–3 rulings in California and Connecticut, on May 15 and Oct. 11, respectively, allowing gay marriage and giving gay couples the same rights as heterosexual ones. Such victories for pro-gay marriage supporters seems to have caused their opponents to look to step up their game — and they’re doing so through Proposition 8.

Before such legalizations in these states and in Massachusetts, it seems that the most compensation given to same-gender couples is the limiting titles of a civil union, domestic partnership, or — perhaps the catchiest of them all — reciprocal beneficiary relationships (thank you, Hawaii). These labels deny same-sex couples of many benefits that other marriages are provided. Beyond the more subjective religious or moral debates as to the legitimacy of gay marriage, there are inconsistencies in the laws of most states regarding the definition of marriage, as well as what a given state’s position may be on same-sex marriage — making the different kind of partnerships available for gay couples invalid when they move from one state to another.

The tug-of-war continues between the two sides as the California ruling is put under the test of public opinion with Proposition 8. If this proposition is voted against, then the United States will be one step closer to having a nationally acknowledged standard that affirms gay marriage.

The Defense of Marriage Act, though, explicitly prohibits the federal government from treating a gay couple’s marriage as a legally recognized “marriage.” However, California, Connecticut, and Massachusetts currently defy this federal law to rightfully stand up for the equal rights that the LGBT community deserves. But can it last?

The government becomes seemingly parental when it decides to start determining between whom a marriage may be recognized. However, it is not the government’s business to determine whom one loves and whom one wishes to marry — especially not those government officials who attempt to sway Americans by citing the moral, ethical, and religious arguments against recognizing same-sex marriages.

It is the national government’s responsibility to keep the issue of gay marriage a civil one. By defining a gay marriage as a “civil union,” state policymakers attempt to convert a private union into a commotion that affects an entire community, as “civil” is formally defined as something affecting a community — and therefore, implicitly try to lead people to believe that they have a stake in any given couple’s marriage as well.

The issue of recognizing or not recognizing same-sex marriages is indeed a complicated one. But the moral and religious side of this debate should be secondary to the civic one. That is, gay couples have the same civil rights as straight ones do in this country founded upon equality, and those rights should be respected through the legal recognition of their marriages.

Stand up against this blatant disregard of civil rights and brainwashing by recognizing the innate equality of the LGBT community. If you are a California citizen, vote no on Proposition 8, because this decision may well impact the direction that the entire nation takes with regard to gay marriage. If you are not a citizen of California, it is still imperative that you advocate equal recognition of all groups of people, regardless of their sexual orientation.

Stuti Pandey (stutip@) is a sophomore in H&SS.