What? Two political posts in one week?! Crazy! But really, I just read this, and it is everything I would have liked to have said in my last post on the subject, but... from someone more eloquent than I... (sorry about the length. If it's not important to you, feel free to skim over it to check out our Halloween pictures :)
This was originally printed in the Laguna Beach Independent:
I am a nearly 40 year resident of Laguna Beach. I have always loved our city. I am also a Mormon, very active in my church. In fact, I am the preacher's wife. My husband, Chris, is the local bishop. In my support of Prop. 8, I find myself in the uncomfortable and somewhat painful position of being at odds with much of my city. I regret this schism, but because I feel that this proposition has important consequences for us all, I choose to speak up for Prop. 8. I am writing to explain my (and my church's) stance on this issue, and to dispel some misconceptions.
Rumors abound that the Mormon church is the instigator of this proposition, and that the church is solely funding and staffing it. The Mormons actually joined a coalition of churches under the title of ProtectMarriage.com, which is running the campaign. It is true that Mormons have donated large sums of money, but the Catholic church, several evangelical churches and other Christian groups have also donated large amounts of both money and time. Only California residents are working on the campaign; the coalition and the church have actively discouraged non-California residents from volunteering, and certainly no one was sent from other states. Those people you see walking neighborhoods or waving signs are neighbors.
I (and my church) have no hidden agenda. Our stance has nothing to do with homophobia and everything to do with the sanctity of traditional marriage. Along with many other Christians, we really believe that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and is sacred to Him. We also believe that the family formed from this union is the backbone of society, and that the family's (and therefore society's) best chance of survival is in maintaining a traditional family. Science has backed up this claim. There have been numerous studies which show that children thrive best when conceived and raised in love by mother and father. History backs it up as well.
I have many gay friends and associates who I respect and love. I certainly want them to have rights, to have happiness, and to have stability in their lives. That's why I'm so grateful for California's many laws, which protect their unions. As stated in the Los Angeles Times, California has more laws to protect gay partnerships than any other state. That's a wonderful thing and I'm glad that Prop. 8 will not change or diminish those rights in any way. But I am not willing to open the door further to include homosexual matrimony, introducing a whole new social order and risking a loss of protection for children.
I am very concerned about how a new definition of marriage will affect our public school education. I do not believe that elementary school is the place to introduce children to details of same sex marriage or homosexual lifestyles. Yet, under the law, not only will these issues be taught, but parents in many cases will not have the right to withdraw their children from the classroom.
According to the National Center for Lesbian Rights, "State law explicitly provides that 'instruction or materials that discuss gender, sexual orientation, or family life and do not discuss human reproductive organs and their functions' is not subject to the parental notice and opt-out laws…so long as these programs do not include sexually explicit content (i.e. discuss the human organs and their functions), parents are not entitled to prior notice and the opportunity to opt their children out."
This very scenario was played out in a Hayward public school just last week at a planned "Coming Out Day" during "Gay and Lesbian History Month." Parents were not informed of the event, and kindergartners were expected to participate in this event without parental consent.
Many gay marriage proponents claim a "fundamental" right of marriage. But is there such a right? If the right of marriage is "fundamental," then why can so many groups not marry? Cousins in many states are not permitted to marry, or brothers/ sisters or parents/children. Laws don't allow people to marry more than one partner at a time. Many people with diminished capacity cannot marry, and minors cannot marry without parental consent. Marriage has always been viewed as a specific contractual and covenantal relationship, instigated for the protection of a family unit, and specifically for the bearing and raising of children, our most defenseless citizens. Safeguards have always been in place to protect both the marriage and the parties involved. Concern for children is paramount. The next generation needs us to take a stand to keep marriage what it was always intended to be: children's best hope for the future.
Jennifer Wilson, a (near) 40 year Laguna Beach resident, is a homemaker, non-practicing attorney, mother of five children and a Laguna Beach High School graduate (class of '79!).