Religion no excuse

Proposition 8 recently passed in California and sullied an election that had otherwise lifted my spirits in ways that left me literally speechless. We, as a country, made two kinds of history that day. On one hand, we showed that we are not a nation hopelessly bound in the dredges of racial prejudice.

On the other is Proposition 8, worthy of the shame it is garnering across the country.

I will never understand what makes so many people hate and fear gay and lesbian citizens. To be sure, the aptly nicknamed “Proposition H8” isn’t the result of just hate, but a good amount of hate is fueling the fire. The same hate that fuels the first punch in schoolyards when one boy questions another’s sexual preference, the same hate that stares at any woman whose hair is too short, the same hate that creates insinuations toward any heterosexual who would take up the fight for gay/lesbian rights.

Sadly, it would seem that the largest obstacle in the way of legal gay marriage is religion. Catholic bishops in California rallied to support it both in funds and voter turnout in the weeks before the election. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormon religion) and the Knights of Columbus, as well as a number of other churches have publicly made their stand on the subject.

It’s a sickening irony, because religion was the very same obstacle in the long (and at times seemingly insurmountable) road toward abolishing slavery.

And before anyone dismisses the comparison, what exactly makes this case any less about securing a lifestyle you’re comfortable with by making it illegal for other cultures to have equal standing in society?

Religious values are something to cherish, but let’s keep it in our own families, shall we? I can’t imagine the kind of uproar this country would be in if any non-Christian religion tried to force its morality on the population at large.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. I hate country music, but that doesn’t mean I’m voting to keep your family from listening to it.

California may have lost the good fight. But please, if anyone in the tri-state area ever has to make the call between banning gay marriage or allowing it, and is thinking Crazy Eights, ask yourself this: Do you really need a law strong-arming others to comply with your every personal opinion, or can a lifestyle that you may not fully understand exist peacefully next to your own?