The chance to be a little less alone in the world...

I have successfully held my tongue throughout election season. I'm sure many of you at this point have no idea who I even voted for, I really figured that was the best way to do things. I honestly didn't feel that passionate about this election, as much as I wanted to, I just couldn't get into it. Don't get me wrong, I'm utterly thrilled with the outcome. I do believe that Obama will be a catalyst for change for our country. I'm not one to buy into the amazing hope that so many of us have right now that he'll be able to turn this country around simply because he is a charismatic leader with huge ideas, and now the power to make them happen. I have never and will never be able to place that kind of faith in our government. What I am excited about, and what I hope you are as well, is how invested the American people are in the process. This is history that we're making, and we're all thrilled about it. Record voter turnouts, young and old Americans alike working together for a common goal... we needed this. More than we needed any certain person in the white house, we needed something to get involved in. We needed to feel like we could make something big happen.

And we did! Even if you didn't vote for our president-elect you made this happen. By watching, listening, learning, we were responsible for the fire we all felt walking into our polling places, for the butterflies in all of our stomachs last Tuesday night... And that is amazing. I voted with my daughter on my lap, explaining to her what was happening while filling in my bubbles because even at her young age, I wanted her to own a part of this. I made a big dinner, opened up a bottle of wine, and sat watching the smiles and the tears and the pride on the faces of people just like me all over our nation. I hope to never forget it. For the first time in my adult life, I feel like this was MY America.

Unfortunately there was a dark shadow cast over that incredible night as I watched the election results for Proposition 8 (California) and Act 1 (Arkansas) with a sad heart. Clicking refresh every few minutes on the election result sites, I grew fearful that MY America would let me down... and it did. I was utterly shocked. I couldn't honestly believe that in this day and age, in a country that is making so much forward movement, overcoming so much of the hatred and ignorance that has fueled years of oppression for our own people, that we still feel the need to place our thumb on a group of our citizens. People living and working in our communities do not have the same rights as I do, simply because we feel self-important enough to stand on the ground of religion and tell them they are not allowed to do something as basic as marry the person they choose or foster and adopt children who need loving homes. Who in the world do we think we are?

The people of California voted to take away the most fundamental human right... to love unabashedly, no matter who you are. We sure think we're incredibly special, don't we? I love God and I love America. I own guns, I speak freely, and I married who I wanted when I wanted because it was my right. I take all of that for granted on a daily basis because these are rights that are protected by law, they won't be snatched away. Gay people do not have the same rights now, we the people have turned up our noses and snatched it away because of fear. We're scared that redefining marriage will destroy its sanctity. We are honestly trying to say we are working to protect an institution with a 50% success rate... in my very humble opinion, our stats aren't looking so great as is- some redefinition certainly couldn't hurt!

If I wanted to foster or adopt a child, I could do it. These are my rights, and I appreciate them more than I'll ever be able to express. I can't imagine having them taken away simply because I fell in love with someone that the state didn't approve of. I cringe at the thought of the foster children who will be taken from the parents that love them, straight or gay, simply because we'd like to say that's what God wants. The Family Council had this to say...

I really believe that it was God’s divine providence and your hard work that made this day possible. From the beginning, I believed that we could pass the Adoption Act handily—but I knew it would only be through prayer and perseverance. Today, after almost 2 years of working on this issue, I can honestly say that we’ve all won. Because of your dedication, children will be placed in better homes. Because of your determination, a gay agenda that our opponents brought to Arkansas has been put on its heels. This is a good day for Arkansas, and you have a right to feel proud to be a part of something so significant.

Who is the family council to assume that our marital state determines our worth as parents? I. Call. Bullshit. Is this group really broadcasting that unmarried couples are providing a sub-par life for their children? That's certainly the most offensive sweeping generalization that I've ever heard. Why are we not shouting from the rooftops here!?! Oh yeah, its because we're talking about gay people. Gay parents couldn't possibly be as loving and supportive as straight ones, we couldn't possibly let them provide for children who need it the most, its got to be beyond their capabilities. Does anyone else find this as ridiculous as I do? I mean really!? We voted to limit the rights of gays in Arkansas, and in the process left so many casualties along the way. Now straight unmarried couples simply do not have the option, and most importantly... these children are losing their chance for a loving family.

What upsets me the most is that a majority of Arkansans feel the same way. That in the state I love, 57% of people were so terrified of gay people that they voted to take away their most important right... to have a family. That is simply horrifying. To do it on the grounds of religion is unspeakable, and makes me ashamed for those of you who feel comfortable citing Jesus when shamefully and openly hating and oppressing a fellow person that God made and loves. The God that lives in my heart loves universally, always has, always will.

I am both thrilled and saddened by the choices of my fellow Americans. I am disheartened that this form of hate has been deemed acceptable in today's society... these are not God's values, these are not my values. It is absolutely disgusting and shameful. In this time of change, I pray that the people of my country can embrace the love and light inside of us, and that the balance will be shifted so that ALL people, gay or straight, married or unmarried, will have the rights and liberties that they deserve.

Keith Olbermann said it best (as always), and left me in tears, when speaking about Prop 8. This isn't about yelling, this isn't about politics, its about the human heart.

Even if you're not a fan of Keith Olbermann, or if you don't have any investment in this issue, what he has to say is profound and relevant for every single person. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did. (Read here if you prefer)


November 12, 2008 at 11:32 PM Karen said...

You are a wise, wise woman, Heather. I feel your love from here.


November 13, 2008 at 2:09 PM Christy said...

I was very perplexed over this Prop because they drove this agenda under the radar of the 'fear of gay couples' raising what? All the good unwanted children?

Number 1- I was not aware that we had so many adoptive parents that 'the gays' were taking all the kids that need homes.

Number 2- The way they chose to word the prop took all hope for het. couples that, for religious or personal reasons, choose not to marry. So now couples that have been together, happily and well-adjusted, and have sex apparently the way God sanctions, but don't have Christian document of sanctified union can't adopt?

Yes, it just blows my mind.

<3 Christy

December 8, 2008 at 10:57 AM Extraordinary Ordinary Life said...

Why do you call it hate? It is so easy to just say, you "hate" gay people and you don't want them to have the same rights as you. I don't hate gay people by any means. I do believe in the sanctity of marriage. Why is it gay bashing and hate mongering if we believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman?

January 22, 2009 at 11:05 PM brandon said...


that is all i can really say after reading this - its like we share a mind and heart.

i got chills reading this.