The passage of Proposition 8 denies one group of people the same rights that another group of people has, and it is therefore discriminatory. Proposition 8 amends the California Constitution to take away rights of gays and lesbians that were previously afforded to every citizen. The current debate on the morality of gay and lesbian marriage, when compared to the immorality of discrimination, is severely misplaced.
The Mormon Church, the Christian "Right" and other proponents of Proposition 8 claim that the granting of marriage equality for the gay and lesbian community is a moral issue and that they are simply seeking to protect the sanctity of marriage as it is defined by God. Marriage however, is a civil institution that requires licenses issued by the state of California, of which couples have the option of choosing to have their union sanctified in their place of worship by clergy, or choose to have the ceremony conducted by a state official. I believe that marriage is sanctified when we submit it unto God's will and purpose.
As a Christian, I clearly understand what the scriptures state regarding homosexuality. In Leviticus 18:22 the admonition to follow God's ordinances is directed specifically to the Hebrews while living in the land of Canaan. In Romans 1:27, the author makes reference to an individual's revelation of God, and their consequential relationship with God. In neither scripture reference does it call for the children of God to condemn or judge the action of individuals, and that in both cases judgment belongs to God.
I am deeply concerned about what appears to be a spirit of condemnation and judgment towards the gay and lesbian community because of the theological belief s of Christianity. It was the same theological beliefs of Christianity that justified slavery, Jim Crow segregation and legal discrimination. It was the same Christianity that Mormons declared Blacks to not have a soul. Whether we agree (or disagree) with the actions of the gay and lesbian community, should we as the Black community engage in the same oppressive and discriminatory practice that ultimately denies the gay and lesbian community the same human rights as others in society?
One of the central scriptural passages in the Christian faith, John 3:16 -17, declare that "God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:17 goes on to state, "For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved." If Jesus did not come to condemn the world, should we as Christians?
The other argument supporting Proposition 8, particularly from the Black community, my community, is that the gay and lesbian struggle for marriage equality is not the same struggle that Blacks engaged in (and still engage in) for our civil rights. The difference in the respective struggles is that being Black is not a choice (although I consider it a privilege), while many Blacks believe that being gay or lesbian is a choice. I was explaining this to a gay friend and his response was, "Rev., do you think that I chose to be ridiculed, threatened, judged, condemned and insulted all of my life?" Personally, I don't know if being gay or lesbian is a choice or a matter of birth. In any case, what does that matter, and what bearing does that have on the fact that rights are being denied?
As to the issue of choice, a constant theme throughout the Bible, we have a choice. We choose to serve God or not to serve Him. We choose to love Him, obey Him, and worship Him or not. And as for being Black, it seems that some of us choose not to relate to being Black, which I believe is more than the varying shades of skin color, but more so the historical, cultural and social black experience and ongoing progress towards equality. Fundamentally, everyone has the freedom of choice to live how they want to live.
There is also the belief that allowing marriage equality for the gay and lesbian community will lead to public education teaching same sex marriage in elementary school. I do not believe elementary age children should be taught about same sex marriage. I do believe however, that children learn from example, particularly from family examples, and also from T.V. (the one-eyed devil or idiot box as my father called it), and from same sex couples who come to school to pick up their children, and from gay and lesbian teachers and from their peers. I do remember my children telling me in elementary school of a classmate they "knew" was gay. I asked, "How do you know?" In essence, children learn what we, their immediate family, teach them.
My hope is that we just don't teach them to be as the oppressor…to discriminate…to hate…just because someone is different.