Turkey Day Talking Points on Prop 8

This Thanksgiving we are reflecting on what family means to us. For those of us at the ACLU and many people across the country, that will bring to mind what happened to families in California as a result of Prop 8.

So — in what is becoming an ACLU tradition — I’m writing to share some pointers for talking turkey this Thanksgiving about issues that really matter.

Here’s my biggest piece of advice for when Prop 8 and gay marriage come up over the Thanksgiving dinner table: Don’t shy away from the conversation. Do what I’m hoping thousands of ACLU supporters will do over the holidays. Talk to someone you’ve never talked to about same sex marriage and explain that it’s just not right to deny someone their freedom because of who they are or who they love.

And you can tell them something else: Tell them the fight to stop Prop 8 from disrupting people’s lives and denying gay couples the full measure of their freedom is far from over. Tell them your ACLU has gone to court to stop Prop 8.

On the day after the election, the ACLU and our partners, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Lambda Legal and Equality California filed suit asking the California Supreme Court to strike Proposition 8 down.

The case we are making is a powerful one — and I want you to know its details — because if we are going to secure equal rights for everyone in our great nation, the argument for equality has to be made not just in a California courtroom, but in countless conversations between families and communities all across America.

Here are the specifics on our lawsuit: Under California law, major changes in the Constitution — called revisions — have to be first approved by two-thirds of the legislature before going before the voters.

The forces of intolerance behind Prop 8 went through a process for less serious constitutional changes called amendments. They didn’t go through the legislature.

So, our lawsuit — and your Prop 8 conversations over the holidays — will all come down to the same question: Is it a big deal — a revision, rather than a mere amendment — to take the right to marry away from an entire group of people?

We firmly believe it is.

  • What could be more serious than rejecting the very idea that everyone is equal before the law?
  • And what could be a more drastic change than undermining the essential constitutional principle that we all have rights, which can’t be taken away just because a majority of people might like to do so?

These are the questions we’re asking the California Supreme Court to consider at crucial hearings coming up in December. And, they are the questions I hope you won’t avoid addressing in holiday conversation with friends and family.

The passage of Prop 8 has hit a powerful nerve all across America. People are seeing for themselves the unimaginable pain and anguish it has caused. And the sense of outrage is growing stronger every day.

With holiday gatherings of family and friends right around the corner — I’m urging you to make the case against intolerance in a very personal way.

Prop 8 has made clear that we all have a lot of work to do challenging discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. And we can’t do it without you.

So, be a little bolder this Thanksgiving.

When someone makes an uninformed remark about gay marriage, don’t let it slide. If they say they’re glad Prop 8 passed, tell them you love them. Then remind them that no one should ever lose their rights or face bigotry because of who they are and who they love.

Make it clear that, no matter how someone feels about same-sex marriage, gay people are a part of our community entitled to the same rights, the same dignity, as everyone else.

Today, it is clearer than ever that the struggle for LGBT equality is one of the defining civil liberties challenges of our time. You can count on the ACLU to defend LGBT rights in courtrooms, classrooms, and legislative hearings all across the nation.

We’re counting on you to do the same around the water cooler at work and over Thanksgiving dinner.

Be brave and outspoken. It’s the only way to move freedom forward.

Best wishes to you and your loved ones for a happy and healthy Thanksgiving.

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DS

A strong argument put forth in favor of letting stand the ban on gay marriage is that overturning the ban would seem to open the possibility for legalizing polygamy. After all, polygamy is permitted and indeed practiced by one of the world's largest religions (Islam), and presumably many of its adherents seeking to immigrate to the US; it has support in the Old Testament, and was even practiced in the Utah Territory, before its statehood. (Some sects continue to practice polygamy as well.) Even if we eschew religious precedents, there seems to be no principled legal distinction between gay marriage and consensual polygamy, indeed some of the arguments (biological procreation) mildly favor polygamy over gay marriage.

Does the ACLU have an official stand on polygamy? If it supports polygamy, is it making its support known to the general public? If, however, the ACLU opposes polygamy, on what legal basis does the it draw the distinction between gay marriage and polygamy?

Dustin Weida

I think it would be wise to point out to the courts the vast amount of lies and misinformation that the Prop 8 supporters put out in their advertisements. Like how they tried telling voters Obama supported their stance when he did not, his view was a personal one that he made clear he would not want to be made as a law. Also the lies that stated regarding schools and churches being forced to do things when they would never have been forced to do anything at all.

Mike

I find it disturbing that the ACLU is not condemning the many violent protests that have resulted from the passage of Prop 8. Regardless of how one feels about gay marriage, it is evident that these protests have gotten completely out of hand. Destroying the property of others, death threats, etc., are not right, and in fact, violate the civil liberties of innocent people, who are merely exercising their right to free speech.

me

I propose that the term be changed to "same-gender beloveds" because I know a devoted male couple who are celibate (actually, "chaste") & who are offended by being identified as "homosexual". I am a celibate (chaste is the actual word) female, because of my spiritual experience.

I haven't yet come upon anyone recognizing that "Twin-Flames" (the original one-and-onlys who emerged as one from The Source and then divided into a pair) can be same-gender (or far apart in age or blood-relatives, etc.). Well, technically, I mean "Twin-Flames" as described by Elizabeth Clare Prophet. According to some, one can have many "soul-mates" but has only one "Twin-Flame".) Would we ever think of denying anyone their one-and-only? This is not the only argument for protecting civil rights, but it is a very important one. Think of what it did to Romeo and Juliet.

www.unitingtwinflames.com
"...in every Twin Flame relationship one half is carrying the Divine Feminine and one half the Divine Masculine. These people may both be in female bodies, or both in male bodies. This is frequently observable in a same sex relationship."

me

Excuse me -- I didn't read carefully what I quoted. The male couple I know are both as masculine as any other men. I'll merely quote:
"These people may both be in female bodies, or both in male bodies. This is frequently observable in a same sex relationship.”"

Thameris

Here we have people (racist, sexist homosexuals) who often refer to the heterosexual as "those Breeders". It saddens me to say they have lost my support by showing how extremely racist and anti striaght they are. Invading churchs screaming about the violation of their rights while stating that they don't care who's they violate ot get what they desire. Over 100 years ago the TERM marriage was defined as a union between 1 man and 1 woman. No were in the bill of rights or the amendments does it state that anyone of any sex has a right to marry. Marriage is NOT a constitutional right. Homosexuals have screamed that the church violated "seperation of church and state". NO were in the bill of rights or the amendments does it state that the church and state shall be seperate. It provides for the church, any church of any denomination to be free of interference from the state.
That being said I support the right of any couple even those of 3 or more consenting adults to enter into a legal and binding "Civil Union" which provides all the protection of marriage to those families. I also feel that those Gay couple that married before prop 8 should be allowed to remain legally married as it was allowed legally before the defining of the word marriage by prop 8. As a young man we were all taught in school what was legal at the time we committied it could not be used against us once it was made illegal. That is the LAW of our land. This protection was provided to the Mormans when Pologamy was banned.
This is not a fight I feel the ACLU should be involved in, THIS IS NOT A FIGHT ABOUT THE SUPRESSION OF A RACE. It is a fight about the use of a WORD. In recent weeks I have seen the homosexual community acting no better than the very NAZI community that once forced them to wear a pink triangle and marched them of to labor camps and death.
Sadly this has cost them the support of many of us in the heterosexual community. Remember we were born this way and it will not rub off on you.

Emily

What is the definition of a word in comparison to allowing people to marry those they love? After all, we had to "change the definition of marriage" to allow the marriage of mixed-race couples. Since there is no evidence that children raised with two parents of the same sex turn out any worse than children raised in a "normal" family, I don't see that giving homosexuals the ability to marry actually harms anything.

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