Proposition 8: Are We Ready for the Question?

While the rest of the nation was moving forward, electing an African-American to the nation’s highest office for the first time, California was turning back the hands of its West Coast clock-back to when marriage was solely defined as a union between a man and a woman.

Proposition 8, which on the California state election ballot was a proposal to “eliminate the right of same sex couples to marry,” was voted in place by 52% of California voters.  52% of 11 million Californians thought that a state law allowing same sex marriages was inappropriate.   The dollars each group spent campaigning for and against proposition 8 surpassed all of the 2008 campaign measures with the exception of the Presidential election.

Off the bat, I don’t have a problem with whom people choose as their significant other-to each his (or her) own.  But if the measure ever found itself on my state’s ballot, I honestly don’t know how I’d vote.  I’m not alone.  African-Americans in California voted for proposition 8 at a 2 to 1 ratio.  I can’t help but wonder – in a nation where more than half of all marriages between African-American men and women end in divorce; where 43 percent of sisters have never been married (compared to 25 percent of white women), and where nearly 3 out of 4 African-American children are being raised by single parents, does the concept of same sex marriages erode the promise of African-American marriage in general?

Statistics show that African-Americans have not had the same success at marriage as have people of other races.  So-when marriages suceed, we put those couples, especially the prominent ones, on pretty high pedestals. Wil and Jada.  Denzel and Pauletta.  Ossie and Ruby Dee.  Bill and Camille.  Barack and Michelle.  I truly believe one of things that appealed to us-especially to sisters- about President-Elect Obama was the undeniable truth that he is both a good father and a good husband.  Like most Americans, sisters loved that a inspirational, capable person was headed to the White House, but it didn’t hurt that this tremendous role model would be on the world’s highest stage.

We can examine the religious aspect of marriage, but at the end of the day, maybe the reason why African-Americans voted in such large numbers against same sex marriages in Cali-is because of a promise unfulfilled.  The next President of the United States will be a Black man, but there are still many Black folks that have yet to achieve the “American Dream” of a white picket fence, 2 car garage, 2.5 kids and the perfect spouse.  Maybe Black folks feel that before we can expand into realms where we fight for the right for same sex marriages we must first get opposite sex marriage…right.

So why did Black folks vote for Proposition 8?   Here’s a better question:  Are Black folks voting against same sex marriages or voting for a chance at love and marriage – period?

Written by Ed Jackson


0 responses to “Proposition 8: Are We Ready for the Question?”

  1. (with the understanding that when I say “you” it is in the colloquial sense)

    People not being able to handle their own affairs is no reason to keep others from taking care of business. Maybe something is to be learned from couples who try against all odds to be together. Having everyone against you including politicians and preachers while fighting to maintain a loving, committed relationship and the right to have that… crazy, right? There are bigger things to worry about than gay marriage.

    It is improper to inflict our religious beliefs on others in that way. Fine if you believe your religion is right for you but that is you. It should not be used as the basis for this ballot proposition any more than the way it was used to deny other minorities their rights.

    Two men or two women getting married does not negate the sanctity of any relationship I am in. It doesn’t hurt anyone at all. I am all for love and that is what it is about, right?.

  2. It’s ironic that non-Christians are so quick to point out that Christians are forcing our beliefs on them, however, they fail to understand that this country was founded on belief in God. Personally I believe it is the very reason why America has been allowed to progress into one of the greatest nations on the earth. I don’t believe “In God we Trust” was put on our nation currency for nothing. However, it is our erosion from the principles of a belief in God that has jeopardized our very existence. As we become more complacent in our obedience to his word, it becomes more and more evident of why America is the way it is today. In my opinion most people don’t want to believe in God because they don’t want to be held accountable for their actions. It’s ok for me to believe I am a good person, as long as its my perspective. The minute you place boundaries around what constitutes “good” and “evil” my rights have been violated. Ironically when children come into this world they try to claim anything and everything they can get their hands on, it is our job as parents to instill in them the boundaries that allow them to co-exist with others in this world and not live according to the “world is mine” attitude. Unfortunately, many of us go back to the selfish mentality of me first as adults and wonder why our lives are never truly fullfilled. Always searching for that unattainble peace. Personally I would like to live in a world where my wants and desires are not my greatest pursuit, but to please the creator who sustains me and gives me the peace that surpasses all understanding. However, in order to maintain that peace I am required to live according to “His” laws and they are very clear. It is very difficult for a Christian parent to try and raise their children in a public environment, because we (society and othe Christians) compromise to get along. Well prasie God! California took a stand for God and His laws! We didn’t write them, but we are required to follow them! Are we perfect, no because we can only strive perfection, while we serve “His” purpose. We all fall short, that is a given. However, it is when we stop trying that we should really be concerned.


    Minister Collins

  3. “It’s ironic that non-Christians are so quick to point out that Christians are forcing our beliefs on them”

    I’ll allow that you may not have been referring specifically to me. If you note I didn’t call any one religion out. And if you really want to get technical I said “It is improper to inflict OUR religious beliefs on others in that way.” Furthermore, it is not just Christians who were against the proposal.

    Government has always used the religion of the majority to dictate what will and will not be tolerated. Not all too long ago it was used to keep women and black folk from trying to vote. The government, while necessary in some respect, sometimes gets too far into things. In my opinion this is one of those times. Simple as that, regardless of my religious beliefs.

  4. I think that it’s ironic that many of these same folk that are up in arms about the outcome of this proposal are generally pro-democracy via the ballot box. I guess there are some issues the people can’t be trusted with through the democratic process, huh?

    Thus the fear many gay marriage advocates have in state proposals being brought to an up or down vote in public elections, preferring that the issue be decided by a handful of ‘zealots in black robes’. This is one case where liberals particularly show their situational ethic regarding the democratic process, where the ‘will of the people’ is only respected as long as it is in lockstep with their agenda(s).

    I’m sure that at some point a gay marriage initiative will pass, whether it be by state or supreme court edict; but it doesn’t mean that people who by their religious beliefs should just roll over without making their voices heard.

  5. I think people are being insecure with their beliefs when they say gay marriage threatens their hetrosexual marriages.
    I think people saying marriage should maintain Christian values and traditions are ignorant to the fact that this country was founded on freedom of religion and there already are marriages in this country by non ChristIans.
    I think it’s more dangerous to have a country where a group makes decisions about someone eleses lifestyle. Raise your kids to believe what you believe but don’t legislate your beliefs on others .

  6. I have this question- can a nation survive long-term as a gaggle of warring cultures and religions? With varying types of lifestyles that are determined to be deviant in much of the rest of the world?

    Many of the issues that we deal with in America have less to do with homophobes and xenophobes fighting ‘progressives’, and more to do with the fallout from deviant behavior. You may ask, what defines ‘deviant’, and you will have punctuated exactly what the problem is. Morality has become so relative that we can only define right and wrong by the ‘pleasure vs. pain principle’, as in believeing that if no physical harm is committed, the act(s) is/are okay. But we need to at least be honest with ourselves about the natural outcomes of things when we allow ourselves to be led by our carnality instead of the guidelines of our Creator.

  7. It’s not that we as believers want to force our beliefs on others but that we don’t want others beliefs forced on us…I use to like to attend WNBA games with children but stopped after we couldn’t even watch the game for all the groping going on by the gay couples in the stands! Also whether you know it or not most of the laws in America are based on the laws and standards of the Bible. I do not believe gays should be discriminated against nor do I believe they should marry. These are two different issues… What purpose does it serve? Other than for self gratification. Those who stand for nothing will fall for anything, and God loves the sinner but hates the sin. We should always move in the direction of perfection… No one is perfect but this is unnatural to the reproduction of the human species and to give a stamp of approval for this behavior is unacceptable.

  8. I was not suprised that CA voters did not pass Prop. 8. I was also not suprised that AA’s voted ‘no’ at a higher ratio. In 2004 my wife and I decided to drive to Canada with our daughter to declare our commitment before the church and the world. Many nay sayers questioned our motive. The fact that it was not legal here in the states many felt it was useless. The bottom line for us was that we wanted a marriage lic., and it was a way to show that GOD don’t bless no mess. Stepping out on faith, we have witnessed HIM working in our lives time and time again. Both of our daughters are in the Gifted and Talented Program, our eldest child is a freshman at Western, and we have been together for 5 1/2 years, married for 4, and friends for 11 years just to name a few. After parents stopped speaking, the family disowning, and ‘friends’ disappearing the fact still remains; GOD don’t bless no mess. I firmly believe that our relationship reflects the success of an AA marriage, a same-sex marriage, the benefits of children growing up in a stable environment, and overall putting GOD first.
    Personally, I feel that the Black church should focus on healing our community from the deep seeded wounds of slavery manifesting itself via closed minded, conditional loving. I believe the church needs to really study African tradition and take a look at dual spirits. Prop. 8 didn’t pass because everyone is so concerned about the bedroom instead of rising into the next spiritual plane. It took us long enough to put a Black man in office, now that the world is virtual the reality still stands that we are offline yet inline, and need to support us no matter what. Only GOD can judge me, (Tupac)

  9. Proposition 8
    Personally I’ve question’d my faith Daily at the end of the day I’m right back to being thankful for my blessings…What’s funny is I’ve served with Homosexuals during Wartime I’ve Been educated alongside them and even have a few employees that are openly gay. I will say that I wouldn’t trade them as coleages or friends or employees. Now do I believe we should be crossing that Religious aspect. Point blank NO…I’m certain we can find a common ground for same sex unions because we all have a right to choose our companion. But to implicate faith with a blatant “SIN” not cool. Personally I don’t mind explaining to my Seeds about same sex relationships and combat the conversation with it’s abnormal but people have a choice. Know If I have to battle that same conversation with Marriages taking place in the same place that we assemble to honor our faith our God. I have no argument!….And let’s keep it real we were all little bad asses 20 years ago mention the bible and we all got real nervous….We believed then just as our ancestors used that same bible for strength to survive the early America that our faith is our true strength and heaven should be our last stomping ground. And just if this notion of generations holds true “Same sex marriages has no place in the Red White and Blue….”

  10. Blacks didn’t vote to support the Proposition out of a feeling of “unfulfilled promise” concerning their own marriages nor was it an insecurity about not securing wholesome relationships. The bottom line is that american born blacks are one of the most religious/spiritual groups of folks in the world and as a result, there are just some passages of the Word that will not be violated –Open acceptance of homosexuality is the major one.

    Irrespective of all the other sins that are being tolerated, it’s just something that does it for people when it comes to homosexuality. People see it as a weakness, for decades those that were homosexual were made to feel ostracized and ashamed so their cause was never fully supported (even by their own), too often those in the pulpit railed against homosexuality while seemingly being okay with other so-called indiscretions & perversions and until the last ten years Hollywood downplayed it so the masses ignored it too.

    I think that some blacks are also put off by the notion that gay rights’ leaders compared the Gay Civil Rights’ Movement to the Black Civil Rights’ Movement. Many blacks feel that the degradation, assaults, murders, ties to the brutal institution of slavery and the dejure & defacto segregation associated to blacks far exceeds any wrongs perpetrated against homosexuals. Furthermore, non-black homosexuals could simply curtail some public behaviors and not be discriminated against. This mighty skin color precludes hiding who you are when it comes to being discriminated against.

  11. The way in which the majority of African-Americans voted towards Prop 8 has nothing to do with how they feel about their own affairs. I am almost certain these voters were voting as a result of their spiritual beliefs. Although I cannot fault anyone for upholding their beliefs, I also have to ask why the one group of people that has had and is still having a hard time just surviving in America on a day-to-day basis would deny someone else a right to, basically, be an American. Being an American is ‘supposed’ to mean that ‘all men are created equal…’ This decision does not represent equality by any means. I do not believe gays and lesbians are trying to ‘bombrush’ churches and expect pastors to perform their weddings. It appears to me that they are seeking the legal aspects of being married anyway, not necessarily a spiritual union. Besides, they have been living together this long; how is their having a piece of paper making it legal going to hurt the rest of America?

    Before we ‘cast stones,’ let’s check our own lives first.

  12. Quoting: “What purpose does it serve? Other than for self gratification… this is unnatural to the reproduction of the human species and to give a stamp of approval for this behavior is unacceptable.”

    If marriage is about commitment to one another and then to be fruitful and multiply then is it not self gratification for two sterile heterosexual couples to marry and continue to have sex? What purpose does it serve?
    Is it not acceptable for people to not marry and to not have children? Or are they being disobedient to God’s word. SHould we erect laws to address that as well?

    Again, this country was based on freedom of religion. Granted many laws are erected that match with some teachings of the bible but some of those same rote followers who purport to be against one turn around and are all for capital punishment as well.

    Write or wrong, good or bad, I just don’t think it is a matter of man’s law to decide.

  13. Another touchy subject. As a fellow Californian, I DID vote yes on prop 8. However, I think this is a 2-sided issue. On one end, alot of us, including myself, have thought about how it affects our youth. True enough alot of children have been victimized by the high percentage in divorce, and relationships that dont work out. And its hard to raise a child on ones own. One example of what i mean by “our youth” : there was a campaign ad stating this would be taught in schools, and there were ads that stated the contrary. Maybe it was cynical on my end, but that was my primary focus: how it affected my child. A lot of prop 8 opposers would easily say things like “it has nothing to do with children”, or “are you going to hide this from your child”? Although I’m not totally a saint, I still do look at this issue from a religious standpoint. My point: how can a marriage between 2 of the same sex become holy when is this forbidden by the Bible? Not to mention those who compare this to “civil rights”, which by the way should never be compared . On the other hand, alot of African-Americans voted against this because its the principle of rights. I will NEVER deprive my child of the truth. But I also want her to be an appropriate age where she can understand this. Because its going to leave a lot of children confused, and self-identity for any child is important. But I have heard stories of gay couples that have done an excellent job of raising children, so i dont condemn their lifestyle. In fact I feel like this: to each its own , but it just didnt sit right with me as far as the impression i got of what prop 8 signifies..

  14. Oh and just to expand a little bit on my comments. Alot of African-American people, religious and non-religious, voted no based on rights rather than look at it from a religious perspective. Alot of them said things like “being gay is no more a sin than fornication or adultery”, and “blacks fought for our rights, but were voting against their rights”. Usually my rebuttal is “did they have ‘straight only’ water fountains?”, or “Blacks were mistreated because of their skin color, not their lifestyle”. Call me shallow all you want.

  15. No church is being forced to perform the ceremony or to recognize/condone the relationship. It is a matter of a civil contract for marriage – a legal matter. Religion is being thrown into it unnecessarily in my opinion.

    A police offer can use deadly force when appropriate according to the law but the Bible says “Thou shalt not kill.” So while man won’t prosecute him, he WILL answer to his God when the time comes. Do you see my parallel?

  16. I definitely see the parallel, but its a religious ceremony. If its not holy, then what would be the point of it being marriage? I dont think this can be compared to a police officer’s actions. I mean a judge himself will have to ALSO answer to God, because he determined someones fate. If it was just simply a matter of a civil contract, that means anyone off the street can marry them..And how can someone exchange vows w/o mentioning God?

  17. per Craze “its a religious ceremony. If its not holy, then what would be the point of it being marriage?… If it was just simply a matter of a civil contract, that means anyone off the street can marry them..And how can someone exchange vows w/o mentioning God?”

    People exchange vows without mentioning god all the time. People can be married by a judge, the captain of a ship, a justice of the peace or any other state recognized celbrant… these are not all religious ceremonies. Trust if two atheists got married there is no mention of god but the marriage is still legal. And even if you do get married in a church, without a marriage license issued by the government it is not legally recognized.

    also per Craze “I dont think this can be compared to a police officer’s actions. I mean a judge himself will have to ALSO answer to God, because he determined someones fate.”

    of course it can… in that vein we ALL have to answer to god so of course the judge will. The court is of Man. It was legal to enslave people and whip them to death. Will those people who legally involved themselves in these action not also be judged? Marriage, while many spiritual aspects are sometimes involved, is really a legal contract and SOCIAL union between 2 people. This is what is being asked… that they can have the opportunity for a legal social union.

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