October 29, 2008
YM Blog: Tolerance Isn't Enough
On November 4, California voters will decide on proposition 8. If passed, Prop 8 would undo the California Supreme Court decision to grant same sex couples the right to equal marriage under law. The change would exist on the grounds that marriage between two people of the same sex impedes on the religious freedom of some. But since when did my rights to love someone of my choosing have anything to do with another person’s right to worship her God?
The proposed change would affectively strip people of rights guaranteed to all citizens and grant them second class status in the name of "tolerance."
To me, tolerance denotes the short space between bigotry and acceptance. Being tolerant of someone by no means amounts to treating them equally. Sadly, we tolerate young people like Sakia Gunn and Lawrence King being murdered because they were queer. We turn a blind eye of tolerance to children and adults taking their lives, rather than live openly and authentically queer.
And while I am starkly opposed to Prop 8, I’ve come to the conclusion that neither side has listened to the other. As a result, the more important issues like addressing institutional homophobia, racism and sexism get lost in the fray.
It's important to remember that this effort shouldn't just be about personal beliefs; it should be about mutual respect. And contrary to what you may have heard this isn't about the word "marriage," it's about rights. We may disagree on how those rights are distributed. But we agree that as people we are all entitled to them. We may also agree that the right to our beliefs important. Even if we refuse to allow another's beliefs restrict our rights.