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Proposition H8TE in California Casts Gays As The Haters

Updated on March 5, 2009

As a gay man I have received more than my fair share of emails and letters in the mail asking me to assist in California Human Rights Campaigners to get people to vote "NO" on Proposition 8 on Tuesday. Thanks to our political system it's sometimes difficult to understand if voting "no" indeed means "no" or if it means yes and I'm sorry to say that some of the literature I received confused me all the more. So allow me to take a gay(lay)man's approach to let you know that voting "NO" means that you feel that marriage should not only be given to only one man and one woman. In other words, a "NO" vote means that you say "YES" to allowing gays to have the same marriage rights as their heterosexual counterparts. I'm a believer in knowledge being power and so I decided to do some poking around at the opposition's websites and what I discovered was that Proposition H8TE in California casts gays as the haters - Don't Get Me Started!

I'm not without sense. I understand that there are those who become some impassioned by their opinions that in their zeal to convert and convince others that they end up becoming close to what they hated in the first place. I am not someone who lives his life without passion and I understand that I can become the same way too when I really believe in something but I'm not so passionate as to not realize that when you begin to really hate the opposition, you give up more of your own personal power and lessen your ability to think very clearly.

I've written before that for me and my guy who have been in a monogamous relationship for the past twenty years that we don't have the desire to be married in an actual ceremony with shoes and rice but that we feel that our union should more than entitle us to hospital visits, tax breaks and the thousands of other advantages that married couples are afforded in America. (Amazing that you can be married for two minutes and be afforded all these rights if you're a man and woman and then get divorced the next day but those of us gays in truly committed relationships somehow don't deserve the same rights.) However I began to think about the gay friends of mine who were recently married in California. These couples (some of who have been together for years and years) have so much love in their hearts that I would hate to see any "man put asunder" as the classic ceremony states. I know that some people believe that God wrote the bible but I tend to believe it was man. I've heard people tell me that the men who wrote the bible were "inspired" to write it but you can't tell me that I wasn't inspired when I fell in love with the man I've spent two decades with or that God doesn't look down on us with our love and care of one another, family, taking in stray cats and doesn't smile or shed his grace on us. I'm not saying we're saints but we're not the sexed up sinners that some would have you believe either.

When I went to a site that was urging people to vote "YES" on Proposition 8 the first pop-up I encountered was one asking for donations. I could see the top of the site had a lovely looking white family of a mother, father, a boy and a girl. After finding a way to get past the donation pop-up, another pop-up appeared asking me to volunteer my time. Finally I made it to the site. There were several videos on the site but the one I chose was of a couple from Massachusetts who told of their story of their second grader being read a book where two princes fall in love and become two kings. (I was just as shocked as you that they didn't end up as two queens but that's a story for another day I suppose) These parents went on to tell their story of how they were dismayed at their son coming home re-telling them the story of the book being read in class, of the teacher they emailed telling them that there was nothing she could do as it was not part of the curriculum but they were forced to read it (not sure how that worked) and their eventual lawsuit to get these materials banned for the sake of their children. All of this we've basically heard before but what got me was at the end of the "mock interview" where they were telling about how they were treated horribly by gay people for them taking a stand on what they felt were their parental rights. They were called names and told they were hated by the gays. Now one could make the argument that we gays have been called enough names and hated long enough that they deserved to see how the other humans on the planet feel but that would be once again propagating the same kind of hate and while some may think "an eye for an eye" I am not one of the people who believe "a hate for a hate."

Look, I don't doubt that these parents got some heat from homosexual groups and I don't condone it but I also don't condone the right wing Christian movement (and largely Mormon movement) that wants you to believe that letting gays get married would be the end of the world. It is with this that for the first time I want to share a personal story with you.

It was years ago and my mate was very ill. He couldn't breathe and we thought that it was just bronchitis or something. Finally I insisted that we go to an urgent care facility. By the time we got there he could barely breathe and so I went in and asked for a wheel chair so that he wouldn't have to walk in the cold into the unit when he couldn't breathe in the first place. The nurse looked at me with a knowing and judgmental look and asked, "Oh, is it pneumonia?" She and I both knew what she meant, she meant, "Is it AIDS related pneumonia?" Knowing that I needed this woman to take care of the most important person in my life, I bit my tongue and said, "No, it's bronchitis." She gave me the wheel chair and checked that her rubber gloves were on tight.

What ensued was a nightmare. They wheeled him in and I was left in the waiting room. Only after an hour or more of waiting did I get the good news which was that the doctor determined that it was exercise induced asthma but he had so much infection in his lungs from not being treated earlier that when he blew in the tube to see his lung capacity he was blowing a 0 - that's right, the doctor informed him that had he not been so muscular and literally forcing air through his lungs he wouldn't be breathing at all. I also learned that they were admitting him to the hospital where they insisted on taking him by ambulance as his breathing was still tentative at best. No one ever asked me if I wanted to ride in the ambulance with him. Even though he was still in what would seem almost critical condition, I was merely told the above by my guy when he asked that they allow me into his room. Before I knew it they were taking him to the ambulance. (Thank God he remained conscious or I am convinced I would never have known that he was even transferred)

Off to the hospital I went, calling his parents and letting them know what was going on. They met us at the hospital and because his mother had been a nurse and knew most of the staff I was never left outside waiting again I'm pleased to say. But what would happen now that we don't live where his parents are or where they "know" people? It frightens me. And although I want to be an understanding person I can't understand why people would want anyone to be barred from being with their loved ones in health threatening times. I've been there, I know. And so I ask you to think about this on Tuesday when you vote in California and around America, not about the heavens opening and swallowing the world whole but us humans here on earth who love one another and deserve the right to share the rights our heterosexual counterparts enjoy, most without giving it a second thought. Think twice, vote "NO" on Proposition H8TE.

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    • OpinionDuck profile image

      OpinionDuck 7 years ago


      Your hospital story could be changed without marriage being the answer. Anybody that a patient wants to be at the hospital should be allowed all the same privileges.

      A power of attorney or similar type document could give anybody equal rights, but it doesn't require marriage. There are many heterosexual relationships that are not married that would need the same access for their significant other.

      A civil union provides the same benefits as a marriage. and if it doesn't then make them equal without forcing same sex marriages.

    • gposchman profile image

      Gene Poschman 7 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area

      It is sad that the supreme court may have to decide the fate of same sex marriage, when it should really be a no brainer.


    • Chef Jeff profile image

      Chef Jeff 8 years ago from Universe, Milky Way, Outer Arm, Sol, Earth, Western Hemisphere, North America, Illinois, Chicago.

      There certainly is a lot of controversy over this issue.  Hope it turns out well.


      Chef Jeff