Proposition 8

For those who don’t know, Proposition 8 is a California initiative that, if passed, would amend the California Constitution to say “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.” The California Supreme Court overturned the state’s ban on gay marriage back in May, declaring that the ban was unconstitutional (which it is). Proposition 8 would negate the victory the California Supreme Court made. After all, how can a ban on gay marriage be unconstitutional if it’s written into the Constitution?

I’m so frustrated by Proposition 8. I can’t believe there are still so many people (possibly a majority) who oppose gay marriage, and so fervently. I always thought California was progressive and liberal (maybe it’s because I grew up in LA), but I’m really scared that Proposition 8 will pass. I hear the Yes On 8 ads on TV and  the radio all the time (even a Chinese language one), yet I’ve only seen the No On 8 ad on TV once. One of my neighbors down the street even has a Yes On 8 banner stuck into their lawn.

As part of researching this Proposition, I’ve tried to see things from other perspectives different from my own. From the legal perspective, the Yes On 8 group argues that banning gay marriage will not take away any rights that gays and lesbians already have. In particular, they argue that the benefits from a civil union or domestic partnership have the same legal rights and benefits as that of a marriage.

The question that I have with that argument is why define one set of rules for one group of people and another set for everyone else? From Wikipedia: “Separate but equal is a set phrase denoting the system of segregation that justifies giving different groups of people separate facilities or services with the declaration that the quality of each group’s public facilities remain equal.” Will we end up with restaurants that only serve heterosexuals? A drinking fountain only for homosexuals?

A different perspective (the “moral” one) is that gay marriage (as well as being gay in general) is “wrong and disgusting.” I read that phrase somewhere and I keep thinking about it. When I try to think logically in their shoes, my only explanation for this reasoning is that they cannot see outside their own eyes. I suppose for a straight guy, visualizing himself marrying another guy just doesn’t make sense. It feels wrong to him. Therefore, since being straight is normal, same sex marriage must be wrong (and somehow disgusting).

Being on the other side of that, I can’t imagine marrying a woman. It wouldn’t make sense to me. But that doesn’t mean I think straight marriage is wrong or disgusting. It’s just not for me. Being attracted to guys (emotionally, not just physically) is what is normal for me.

(Side note) Along this same logic is the notion that homosexuality is a choice. If people just took a step back and saw things through another person’s eyes, they’d understand that it’s not a choice. Personally, being gay was never my choice. When I was growing up, I prayed and cried so hard not to be gay. I wanted to be normal. What took me years of guilt, self hatred, and doubt to figure out is that I am normal.

I also don’t understand why so many people are against teaching kids acceptance toward gay people. In the same way that growing up in a heteronormative society didn’t turn me straight, a few conversations about and interactions with gay people are not going to turn our society’s youth into homosexuals. If your kid ends up being gay, wouldn’t it be better to have a society that accepts them? To have a state Constitution that protects all the rights that they should have?

In the end, I truly think Proposition 8 isn’t about gay marriage at all. Rather, it’s about everyone’s right (not privilege) to love and be loved. Voting NO on Proposition 8 would protect that right, which is certainly what I’m voting.

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Smoke In The Air

With the Santa Ana winds blowing once again, it’s fire season again in Southern California. One of the wildfires today actually closed the main freeway I take to go home from work. When I went out for lunch, I looked in the distance to see blue sky to my left and a wall of smoke to my right. I could smell the smoke in the air all day. Half of my company went home early to make sure their families/homes were okay. My boss stayed behind, so I decided not to ask to go home early.

Besides keeping track of the fire and traffic situation online, work was mostly business as usual until the end of the day. My daily after-work meeting was both good and bad. My boss became more of my boss/friend again, first talking about work and then seamlessly transitioning into talking about the weekend and about boys. I guess he really does forgive and forget (until he remembers). That’s the good part.

The bad part of my after-work meeting is that my boss decided to take me off of one of my accounts. Basically, instead of me being the primary account manager, he will take the lead and I will become his support. Not only does this mean that I wasn’t doing a good enough job on this account, but also my commission every month will decrease. As I’ve said before, I don’t really do my job for the commission, but it’s nice to know that it’s there (and now it’s not). This account wasn’t my biggest account, but it’s still a loss.

At the end of the meeting, my boss told me he doesn’t want me to see his decision as a bad thing (though it’s hard not to). Without this account, I can focus my efforts on other things and really handle things properly rather than spreading myself thin. He’s often right (darn him).

I ended up staying pretty late at work. So late in fact that the freeway that had been closed was reopened, so I had a very easy trip home (as opposed to leaving early from work and sitting in an alternate route for three hours like some coworkers).

The fires are pretty scary, though. My dad and I were watching the news most of the evening. With the Santa Ana winds kicking up in the middle of the night, there’s no telling whether the fires will be contained in the morning. The winds have been blowing in my general direction all day. If things get worse, I might have to evacuate.

A Day In Long Beach

A couple days ago, my parents and I took out my grandfather to spend the day in Long Beach. Usually we just take my grandfather out to the mall and to dinner, but we thought we’d do something a little different for Labor Day weekend.

Our main reason for going to Long Beach in the first place was the Aquarium of the Pacific. As I’ve mentioned before, I love aquariums. I always feel relaxed and happy (almost giddy) after going to an aquarium. I had never been to the Aquarium of the Pacific, so this trip was extra fun.

My grandfather really enjoyed the aquarium too. My mom and he walked together, looking at every exhibit very closely, trying not to miss anything. My mom kept pointing out interesting anemones and fish, and she translated all the educational blurbs on the walls. Both my grandfather and she couldn’t stop talking about the leafy sea dragon and how they had heard of a sea horse but never a sea dragon. It was cute. My grandfather even touched a shark in the shark touch pool!

I’m not sure if I had ever been to Long Beach before (it’s about 50 miles away from my house), but I think I would remember it if I had. Long Beach is really nice. The weather was perfect and the view was great. There were lots of people walking and enjoying the waterfront. If I wasn’t a native Californian, I would be tempted to say that Long Beach is what I would imagine California to be.

Did You Hear?

Did you hear? The California Supreme Court overturned the state’s ban on same-sex marriage! Yay! I’ll finally be able to marry a boy!

The only thing I’m missing now is the boy.

You can read all about the ruling here.

Firestorm

Now is not a good time to be living in Southern California. There used to be just earthquakes, and now there are fires all over the place. More than 100,000 acres have burned and over 250,000 people have been in evacuated in San Diego alone. Luckily, I’m not in any danger, but I have friends and family who could possibly be evacuated from their homes.

I used to grow up with the Santa Ana winds, but I never thought that they could cause such destruction. I heard yesterday that the wind reached hurricane force on occasion. Usually, the Santa Ana winds only last about a day, but this year it’s lasting a few days, making the firefighting that much more difficult. It’s hard not to link the increased severity of these winds (and therefore the massive wildfires going on) with global warming. Mother Nature is lashing out at us for all the harm we’ve done to her.

It’s pretty surreal to see pictures of the flames engulfing Southern California. Watching the news, it’s more like I’m looking at a volcano than California. Sometimes I feel untouchable from all the tragedies and disasters of the world, that they could never happen to me or the people I care about. In reality, though, no one is safe. But what can we do?