Marry me, Jerry

A modest proposal for California’s Attorney General

Ben Davis is a local artist currently showing at the SN&R office in Midtown.

Jerry Brown, will you marry me? Now, I know what you’re thinking—“Ben, you’re not gay, I’m not gay. And we don’t know each other. Why get married?” And in truth you make a good point, but you’re missing the bigger picture. Let me explain.

I was speaking with a friend recently who claims the proponents of Proposition 8 have been misrepresented by the liberal media as being against gays marrying.

“Nothing could be further from the truth!” he claimed. “We want gays to marry. We actually encourage them to get married—just not to each other.”

“Clearly,” he said, “gays aren’t being denied equal protection. Gays can marry lesbians, lesbians can marry gays. Prop. 8 treats them just like straight couples!”

You see where I’m going with this, Jerry? Can I call you Jerry?

The pro-8 argument in the California voters’ pamphlet states, “Proposition 8 doesn’t take away any rights or benefits of gay or lesbian domestic partnerships. Under California law, ‘domestic partners shall have the same rights, protections, and benefits’ as married spouses (Family Code Section 297.5). There are no exceptions. Prop. 8 will not change this.”

Proponents’ claim that no rights are being taken away, other than the right to the term “marriage,” raises a fundamental question: Why? Why grant all rights except the right to one word?

The answer is clear. For many, the word “marriage” is a religious term. It is well known that Prop. 8 was primarily funded by out-of-state religious individuals and groups.

Pastor Rick Warren, Obama’s controversial pick to deliver his inaugural invocation, put it clearly. “I support equal rights for everyone in America,” he has stated, “I don’t believe we should have unequal rights depending on lifestyle.” However, he draws the line at using the word ‘marriage.’ “Why take that word?” he asks. “Use another term!”

Which raises an even more fundamental question: If the argument is based on religion, what is “marriage” doing in the law in the first place? Arguing for equality is suggesting gays and lesbians should have the same rights as straight couples to participate in a religious ceremony that should not even be in the law.

“Marriage” should be taken out of the law altogether, because it violates the separation of church and state. This would leave everyone—everyone—with the right to a domestic partnership, which is, after all, a contract between two consenting adults. If a gay or lesbian couple wishes to seek out a church to get married, that is between the couple and their church.

So, Jerry, I know this is kind of unexpected. But as A.G., many feel you should be defending Prop. 8. Then again, being denied your right to marry me would give you standing as an individual. Now do you see my point? I realize you may need time to think it over. But it’s only fair to tell you this. Think quickly, because, well … if you’re not ready for this kind of commitment, I may pop the question to San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom.