Friday, November 14, 2008

Prop 8- Sore Losers?

On November 4th, 2008 elections were held across the United States of America. A new President and Vice President were chosen. Congressmen and women, Senators, State Legislators, and Governors were all elected. Even County & City Officials were elected to their respective offices. Whether they were the incumbent or running for the first time, individuals placed their faith in the electoral process, and placed their name on a ballot. Each candidate made their case to the electorate and when the votes were counted there were winners and losers.

Chances are, most people were disappointed in the outcome of at least one of the multiple races they had the privilege of voting in. I know I was. But at the end of the day, there was a peaceful, respectful transition of power, from the old to the new. This is the way the United States operates and it is truly a wonderful thing.

Many of us also had the opportunity to vote for various ballot initiatives. Nationwide these initiatives ranged from increased smoking regulations to tax increases for school funding, from parental notification for minors seeking abortions to State constitutional bans on same-sex marriage. Like the candidates we voted for, some initiatives were more controversial than others. In the end we voted to make our will known regarding these initiatives and chances are good we were pleased with some outcomes and disappointed in others. But still, the voice of the people was heard.

I understand disappointment. I experienced a great deal of it on the 4th, but I can’t understand the anger and hatred generated in some when they don’t get their way. It’s as though some are spoiled children throwing a temper tantrum in the store, kicking and screaming when mom tells them they cannot have a piece of candy. Of course the tantrum embarrasses mom when everyone in the store turns to look scornfully at the inept parent, but it should also embarrass the child who knows better.

Opponents of California Proposition 8 are acting like these spoiled children at the store and they should be embarrassed by their behavior. The State Constitutional Ban on Same Sex Marriage passed. While it’s reasonable for the opponents to present a legal challenge if one exists, it is not reasonable to target individuals and churches in hopes of embarrassing them, ruining them financially, or coercing them by threat into a different action. It is shameful to call for financial or physical harm to be inflicted on people who simply disagree with them.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was a strong proponent and a member of a broad coalition making the case for protecting the traditional institution of marriage by banning same sex marriage. I am proud of the church for taking such a strong stand and I applaud the entire coalition for their efforts. The coalition made their case, the election was held, and they came out victorious. The coalition of churches and individuals exercised their constitutionally protected free speech and now are being targeted by the angry, petty, electoral losers.

Whether we agree with the outcome of every race or not, we need to keep in perspective our great privilege of living in a free society. We must recognize the rights of others to disagree without vilifying or seeking to cause them harm. It would be shameful for McCain supporters to protest the election of Barrack Obama and threaten his supporters. It is equally shameful for the opponents of Proposition 8, nationwide, who are protesting against churches and individuals, seeking to damage and intimidate them. Honestly, their behavior is embarrassing.

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