A conversation with my 14 year old nephew yesterday sparked some inspiration within me.
We were driving in my car on the way back from the store and he asked me why Proposition 8 was a big deal. My reply: It's not just about gay marriage, it's about the idea that people want to write discrimination into the state constitution. He asked me, "is that even possible?"
I said, "unfortunately, it is." His reply: "that doesn't seem fair"
I'm a little taken back by the fact that my 14 year old nephew gets it but that there are hundreds of thousands in California who don't. They are afraid that this issue will affect our children...well guess what, it has. Now, I have to sit down and explain to my nephew why the religious people of California want to write discrimination into our Constitution. I have to make him understand that there are people who feel they need to "minister" to us about love while they go behind our backs and preach hate. The problem is, I don't know how to do that!
"But wasn't this country founded on religion?" he asks me. I tell him, "the way people act nowadays you would think it was, but it wasn't. Our forefathers came to this country because they didn't feel it was right for a country to force religion on their people, so they came here to North America to make a better life."
"So, then why do they force it upon us now?" he asked innocently.
"That's why this proposition is so controversial." I exclaimed. "People have forgotten what this country was founded on."
I know people say that they fear what will happen to this country if gays marry. That's the least of my worries. My biggest fear is: how can we raise our children in a society that promotes fear and discrimination? This is seriously gone from a concern of gay marriage to an act of civil rights. And I seriously thought in the year 2008 we were farther along and better than that as a country. But I had to explain to my nephew, on the way back from the store, that I was wrong.
I helped raise my two eldest nephews. The only lessons I wanted them to learn was that life is too short for hate and that you should never give up on your dreams. I fear that on the morning of November 5, 2008 the oldest will wake up to a world of second class citizens and will turn to me again and ask why. He learned in school the hardships that the African American community had to endure in the 60s when they fought for THEIR freedom. He was even taught how wrong it was that they were treated differently.
I love my nephews...they are like sons to me. I want to create a world that they can be proud to live in. I just have to pray that the rest of the people around us have the courage to do the right thing.