Voting On California Prop. 8: Protecting Love NOT Marriage

In a recent THL discussion on Prop. 8 we have been addressing the use of Sikh principles in taking a position on homosexual marriage.prop-300x222.jpg At a recent Nagar Keertan in Yuba City, California there were Yes on Prop. 8 fliers along with the really interesting T-shirts. Thus, I think religion is an important part of the discussion on Prop. 8 because there is a reason why this state-related material is at religious events. Religion is a moral compass that guides many people’s decisions in all kinds issues. Thus, I dont condemn those who have used religion as their moral source for voting Yes or No on Prop. 8. However, I do disagree with how Sikh scripture has been misused as rules rather than concepts that guide our decisions. I attribute these actions to a general lack of understanding and education around the Guru Granth Sahib Ji in our community. This education is a fundamental issue we as a Quam need to find practical solutions for rather than blame people for not knowing.

That said, I believe a fundamental part of Sikhi is love the morality of love. Its not the happy happy love or perfect one that excuses all actions, but the one that makes us human enough to see the light of Waheguru in all . even those we detest. What is this love I think Khalil Gibran poignantly explains it in his book The Prophet:

“For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning. Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun, so shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.

So, I think as a Sikh, voting on Prop. 8 is a moral decision about protecting love not marriage. Can we allow people to love WHATEVER WAY they want because we love them as human beings, even though some of us fundamentally disagree with how they love?

I remember someone in our younger generation who strongly disagrees with homosexuality say that voting No on Prop. 8 would mean that it is okay for his son to be gay and that he would have to accept it. I replied, your son will be gay regardless of how you vote if that is how Waheguru has made him. Voting No, does not mean that you agree with his homosexuality or have to speak to him. It just means that your love is deep enough for your child to protect his happiness. Love for your child is one where even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun, so shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.

Californias majority Vote of Yes On Prop. 8 shows that its love for our children is just not deep enough!


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18 Responses to “Voting On California Prop. 8: Protecting Love NOT Marriage”

  1. I found wearing shirts supports my non violent protests against 8 quite well. I found this company which makes shirts for straights and gays as a united stand to fight against hate,

    check it out:

    http://www.cafepress.com/NoTime2H8

  2. I found wearing shirts supports my non violent protests against 8 quite well. I found this company which makes shirts for straights and gays as a united stand to fight against hate,

    check it out:

    http://www.cafepress.com/NoTime2H8

  3. Kaptaan says:

    Now how about the alternative view??? Seems this site only has authors who post a "left wing" view of the world. IF TLH doesn't want this site to turn into a left wing echo chamber it might consider broadening its horizons.

    You seem to be very judgemental about those who would vote 'yes' on prop 8, saying they do not have enough love for their children.

    Prop 8 has nothing to do with whether or not someone accepts Gays as equal members of society, its about upholding a fundamental belief people who vote 'yes' have in what constitutes a marriage.

  4. Kaptaan says:

    Now how about the alternative view??? Seems this site only has authors who post a “left wing” view of the world. IF TLH doesn’t want this site to turn into a left wing echo chamber it might consider broadening its horizons.

    You seem to be very judgemental about those who would vote ‘yes’ on prop 8, saying they do not have enough love for their children.

    Prop 8 has nothing to do with whether or not someone accepts Gays as equal members of society, its about upholding a fundamental belief people who vote ‘yes’ have in what constitutes a marriage.

  5. Mewa Singh says:

    Phulkari,

    I believe that you and I agree in terms of our ultimate position on the Proposition 8, but we have very different approaches to that conclusion.

    You state:

    I attribute these actions to a general lack of understanding and education around the Guru Granth Sahib Ji in our community. This education is a fundamental issue we as a Quam need to find practical solutions for rather than blame people for not knowing.

    What you are surmising is that you have 'better' education and thus a 'better' understanding. However, with such an approach, the terms of debate are the same and positions are locked.

    Publius offered his own 'better' understanding as well. I am sure many others will engage in this same exercise.

    However as Kaptaan has stated and his voice is that of the majority (afterall it was the majority of Californian voters that passed the bill) that the common belief is what is at stake is the definition (and therefore an attempt at redefinition) of marriage. I believe that the majority will continue to oppose it if the conversation is in these terms.

    However, I do believe the issue is something very different, as I have previously stated. However, if we are going to be able to critically discuss the Proposition, we need to disentangle it from its various 'layers' (I know you love this word!). We needed clearer definitions and tools of analysis.

    Thus for this reason I do NOT believe the 'better' interpretation approach is the best way, as I think it will only reify already held positions.

  6. Mewa Singh says:

    Phulkari,

    I believe that you and I agree in terms of our ultimate position on the Proposition 8, but we have very different approaches to that conclusion.

    You state:

    I attribute these actions to a general lack of understanding and education around the Guru Granth Sahib Ji in our community. This education is a fundamental issue we as a Quam need to find practical solutions for rather than blame people for not knowing.

    What you are surmising is that you have ‘better‘ education and thus a ‘better‘ understanding. However, with such an approach, the terms of debate are the same and positions are locked.

    Publius offered his own ‘better’ understanding as well. I am sure many others will engage in this same exercise.

    However as Kaptaan has stated and his voice is that of the majority (afterall it was the majority of Californian voters that passed the bill) that the common belief is what is at stake is the definition (and therefore an attempt at redefinition) of marriage. I believe that the majority will continue to oppose it if the conversation is in these terms.

    However, I do believe the issue is something very different, as I have previously stated. However, if we are going to be able to critically discuss the Proposition, we need to disentangle it from its various ‘layers’ (I know you love this word!). We needed clearer definitions and tools of analysis.

    Thus for this reason I do NOT believe the ‘better’ interpretation approach is the best way, as I think it will only reify already held positions.

  7. Amandeep says:

    [quote comment="8340"]Now how about the alternative view??? Seems this site only has authors who post a "left wing" view of the world. IF TLH doesn't want this site to turn into a left wing echo chamber it might consider broadening its horizons.

    You seem to be very judgemental about those who would vote 'yes' on prop 8, saying they do not have enough love for their children.

    Prop 8 has nothing to do with whether or not someone accepts Gays as equal members of society, its about upholding a fundamental belief people who vote 'yes' have in what constitutes a marriage.[/quote]

    Marriage equality has nothing to do with religion and a religious definition of what constitutes a marriage. It has to do with the legal definition and benefits of marriage.

    When two people commit to each other and set up a stable life together, they help the entire community by being fixed entities in the economic landscape and fixed contributing members of communities which is why the government gives privileges and rights to married people. Those privileges and rights should be extended to committed same sex partners as well.

    If I (a female) marry a man and, 10 years down the road he gets cancer, as a member of a heterosexual married couple, I am allowed to have him covered under my health insurance plan. If he gets sick, I get to visit him in the hospital and should medical decisions that need to be made when he is not in a condition to make them. I have that right. And if things should not turn out well and he passes away, I have the security of his life insurance plan, so the fact that I sacrificed my career, making less money than I could have, so that we could build a life together and start a family doesn't land us all in poverty when he dies. The car he bought that we shared still belongs to me. And I've had the tax advantages of filing taxes jointly for years.

    If I were a man and my partner got sick, I could not have him covered under my health insurance. I would not have a right to visit him in the hospital or to make spot medical decisions regarding him. Should he die, I would not have any security, and it would have been much harder for me to make sacrificial decisions to build a life with him. I would lose everything, including the man I loved and wanted to build a life with, not even given the chance to do something to save him.

    That's what marriage equality is about.

    Gay marriage has everything to do with giving gay people rights as members of society and nothing to do with religious definitions of what constitutes a marriage.

  8. Amandeep says:

    [quote comment=”8340″]Now how about the alternative view??? Seems this site only has authors who post a “left wing” view of the world. IF TLH doesn’t want this site to turn into a left wing echo chamber it might consider broadening its horizons.

    You seem to be very judgemental about those who would vote ‘yes’ on prop 8, saying they do not have enough love for their children.

    Prop 8 has nothing to do with whether or not someone accepts Gays as equal members of society, its about upholding a fundamental belief people who vote ‘yes’ have in what constitutes a marriage.[/quote]

    Marriage equality has nothing to do with religion and a religious definition of what constitutes a marriage. It has to do with the legal definition and benefits of marriage.

    When two people commit to each other and set up a stable life together, they help the entire community by being fixed entities in the economic landscape and fixed contributing members of communities which is why the government gives privileges and rights to married people. Those privileges and rights should be extended to committed same sex partners as well.

    If I (a female) marry a man and, 10 years down the road he gets cancer, as a member of a heterosexual married couple, I am allowed to have him covered under my health insurance plan. If he gets sick, I get to visit him in the hospital and should medical decisions that need to be made when he is not in a condition to make them. I have that right. And if things should not turn out well and he passes away, I have the security of his life insurance plan, so the fact that I sacrificed my career, making less money than I could have, so that we could build a life together and start a family doesn’t land us all in poverty when he dies. The car he bought that we shared still belongs to me. And I’ve had the tax advantages of filing taxes jointly for years.

    If I were a man and my partner got sick, I could not have him covered under my health insurance. I would not have a right to visit him in the hospital or to make spot medical decisions regarding him. Should he die, I would not have any security, and it would have been much harder for me to make sacrificial decisions to build a life with him. I would lose everything, including the man I loved and wanted to build a life with, not even given the chance to do something to save him.

    That’s what marriage equality is about.

    Gay marriage has everything to do with giving gay people rights as members of society and nothing to do with religious definitions of what constitutes a marriage.

  9. bdb says:

    I was under the impression that civil unions granting rights such as health insurance, property rights etc already exists for gays/heterosexuals alike (in California). Am I mistaken? Will Prop 8 take this away?

    I dont have a problem with 'gay marriage'. I think that however, if a religious organization does not want to marry a gay couple they should not be forced to. I also think the government needs to step out of the definition of marriage-there should be simply a civil union for all-if you also want a marriage, you can go to the house of worship you align with to see if they will 'marry' you.

    In having this discussion with some of my friends, I made an interesting discovery. Many Sikhs believe and portray Gurbani and Sri Guru Granth Sahib as divinely inspired, direct word of God-along the same lines as the Bible or Koran. My impression growing up in a very secular family (parents very secular, grand parents not) was the opposite. I didnt think the gurus ever claimed that they were interepreting God's word for the masses and they certainly never claimed to be divine or divine reincarnations.

    What do ppl on this blog think? Is SGGS 'the word of God'? or is it a way of leading a good clean life immersed in Nam.

  10. bdb says:

    I was under the impression that civil unions granting rights such as health insurance, property rights etc already exists for gays/heterosexuals alike (in California). Am I mistaken? Will Prop 8 take this away?

    I dont have a problem with ‘gay marriage’. I think that however, if a religious organization does not want to marry a gay couple they should not be forced to. I also think the government needs to step out of the definition of marriage-there should be simply a civil union for all-if you also want a marriage, you can go to the house of worship you align with to see if they will ‘marry’ you.

    In having this discussion with some of my friends, I made an interesting discovery. Many Sikhs believe and portray Gurbani and Sri Guru Granth Sahib as divinely inspired, direct word of God-along the same lines as the Bible or Koran. My impression growing up in a very secular family (parents very secular, grand parents not) was the opposite. I didnt think the gurus ever claimed that they were interepreting God’s word for the masses and they certainly never claimed to be divine or divine reincarnations.
    What do ppl on this blog think? Is SGGS ‘the word of God’? or is it a way of leading a good clean life immersed in Nam.

  11. kaptaan says:

    Amandeep,

    civil unions exist for the purposes you cited. there still is not a compelling reason for people who voted 'yes' on 8 to change what their belief is regarding what constitutes a marriage.

    BDB, I also grew up with a similar understanding of SGGS and our Gurus. The Gurus are not God incarnate as Sikhs do not believe in avatars, and that the SGGS is not the exact word of God, but rather divinely inspired poetry that is our Guru in guiding us in how we should lead our lives.

    Both the koran and bible were not written at the time of mohammed and christ respectively (despite the protestations of muslims who don't accept that historically researched fact). Both came as the result of what their followers believed they said (ie: heresay) or did and were compiled after the fact.

  12. kaptaan says:

    Amandeep,

    civil unions exist for the purposes you cited. there still is not a compelling reason for people who voted ‘yes’ on 8 to change what their belief is regarding what constitutes a marriage.

    BDB, I also grew up with a similar understanding of SGGS and our Gurus. The Gurus are not God incarnate as Sikhs do not believe in avatars, and that the SGGS is not the exact word of God, but rather divinely inspired poetry that is our Guru in guiding us in how we should lead our lives.

    Both the koran and bible were not written at the time of mohammed and christ respectively (despite the protestations of muslims who don’t accept that historically researched fact). Both came as the result of what their followers believed they said (ie: heresay) or did and were compiled after the fact.

  13. Amandeep says:

    [quote comment="8359"]Amandeep,

    civil unions exist for the purposes you cited. there still is not a compelling reason for people who voted 'yes' on 8 to change what their belief is regarding what constitutes a marriage.

    BDB, I also grew up with a similar understanding of SGGS and our Gurus. The Gurus are not God incarnate as Sikhs do not believe in avatars, and that the SGGS is not the exact word of God, but rather divinely inspired poetry that is our Guru in guiding us in how we should lead our lives.

    Both the koran and bible were not written at the time of mohammed and christ respectively (despite the protestations of muslims who don't accept that historically researched fact). Both came as the result of what their followers believed they said (ie: heresay) or did and were compiled after the fact.[/quote]

    California has domestic partnership legislation that is some of the best in the country, it's true. But civil unions/domestic partnerships and their accorded rights rights are only recognized in the state in which they exist, unlike marriage. Aside from the implications of travel or relocation on a partnership's status, this also means that domestic partnerships have a lot of strange tax issues (for example on alimony, health insurance, mortgages, medical expenses) that marriages do not.

    Although I guess the federal Defense of Marriage Act makes the extension of legal marriage to same sex partners sort of moot on the gaining-federal-protection-and-rights level.

    I also do not believe and was never taught that the SGGS is divinely inspired. In fact, one of the things that I am most proud of about it is that it doesn't have to be divinely inspired in order to be regarded as truly worth following, even without the handprint of a god on it. More than that, the fact that it is not entirely written by the gurus and includes the writings of scholars of different faiths who all had something to say that was regarded as right only serves, for me, to reinforce the fundamental principles of Sikhism about our equality as human beings and the truth in the fact that people of all faiths are striving towards the same one God. The Gurus never claimed to be divine.

  14. Amandeep says:

    [quote comment=”8359″]Amandeep,

    civil unions exist for the purposes you cited. there still is not a compelling reason for people who voted ‘yes’ on 8 to change what their belief is regarding what constitutes a marriage.

    BDB, I also grew up with a similar understanding of SGGS and our Gurus. The Gurus are not God incarnate as Sikhs do not believe in avatars, and that the SGGS is not the exact word of God, but rather divinely inspired poetry that is our Guru in guiding us in how we should lead our lives.

    Both the koran and bible were not written at the time of mohammed and christ respectively (despite the protestations of muslims who don’t accept that historically researched fact). Both came as the result of what their followers believed they said (ie: heresay) or did and were compiled after the fact.[/quote]

    California has domestic partnership legislation that is some of the best in the country, it’s true. But civil unions/domestic partnerships and their accorded rights rights are only recognized in the state in which they exist, unlike marriage. Aside from the implications of travel or relocation on a partnership’s status, this also means that domestic partnerships have a lot of strange tax issues (for example on alimony, health insurance, mortgages, medical expenses) that marriages do not.

    Although I guess the federal Defense of Marriage Act makes the extension of legal marriage to same sex partners sort of moot on the gaining-federal-protection-and-rights level.

    I also do not believe and was never taught that the SGGS is divinely inspired. In fact, one of the things that I am most proud of about it is that it doesn’t have to be divinely inspired in order to be regarded as truly worth following, even without the handprint of a god on it. More than that, the fact that it is not entirely written by the gurus and includes the writings of scholars of different faiths who all had something to say that was regarded as right only serves, for me, to reinforce the fundamental principles of Sikhism about our equality as human beings and the truth in the fact that people of all faiths are striving towards the same one God. The Gurus never claimed to be divine.

  15. Kaptaan says:

    The Gurus had knowledge of divinity through their enlightenment, and were thus divinely inspired and wrote with divine inspiration the Gurbani. The bani written by the bhagats, etc… that was included in SGGS by the Gurus themselves was only included because it was in consonance with the enlightened experience of the Gurus themselves.

  16. Kaptaan says:

    The Gurus had knowledge of divinity through their enlightenment, and were thus divinely inspired and wrote with divine inspiration the Gurbani. The bani written by the bhagats, etc… that was included in SGGS by the Gurus themselves was only included because it was in consonance with the enlightened experience of the Gurus themselves.

  17. ItsMe says:

    Marriage is not a religious institution it is a man made concept that symbolizes people committing one another. As a religious marriage is concerned I don't think any church, temple, and etc would need recognize gay marriage or accept it, but as far a court marriage or getting a marriage license the state should and we should accept it as a basic civil liberty. When it comes to social laws and social rule then religion should not be the foundation used to create it. Especially when it comes to decisions such as this where you need to separate your religious views from your social ones. Denying a civil right to one set of minorities leaves it open to us losing our civil rights or never attaining them. With Prop 8 people said my religious says this so you cannot have this right as a human being. My religious says no alcohol so you can't buy, consume or sell alcohol or else you get flogged. I don't want push my views on someone else they are human and have every right to make their own decisions. Albeit I may feel they are right or wrong not my place to change them.

    I had this discussion with family and friends and realize no matter how different people are when it comes to religion they can find parallels. Prop 8 showed religious views can align and that their common enemy is the minority homosexual community. I guess makes them sleep better a night to know they denied a basic civil right to a people who I feel have shown more sympathy and empathy to other minorities.

    I am sure most of the hardcore and moderates will disagree with most everything stated but to each their own.

  18. ItsMe says:

    Marriage is not a religious institution it is a man made concept that symbolizes people committing one another. As a religious marriage is concerned I don’t think any church, temple, and etc would need recognize gay marriage or accept it, but as far a court marriage or getting a marriage license the state should and we should accept it as a basic civil liberty. When it comes to social laws and social rule then religion should not be the foundation used to create it. Especially when it comes to decisions such as this where you need to separate your religious views from your social ones. Denying a civil right to one set of minorities leaves it open to us losing our civil rights or never attaining them. With Prop 8 people said my religious says this so you cannot have this right as a human being. My religious says no alcohol so you can’t buy, consume or sell alcohol or else you get flogged. I don’t want push my views on someone else they are human and have every right to make their own decisions. Albeit I may feel they are right or wrong not my place to change them.

    I had this discussion with family and friends and realize no matter how different people are when it comes to religion they can find parallels. Prop 8 showed religious views can align and that their common enemy is the minority homosexual community. I guess makes them sleep better a night to know they denied a basic civil right to a people who I feel have shown more sympathy and empathy to other minorities.

    I am sure most of the hardcore and moderates will disagree with most everything stated but to each their own.