While I have never before used VentureBlog to discuss anything other than entrepreneurship and venture capital, I have decided to make an exception to discuss why it is I oppose Proposition 8 here in California. I have not made this decision lightly. I don't believe in mixing business and politics. But I believe that Proposition 8 runs sufficiently counter to the basic tenets of fairness and human decency that power our democracy that I can not sit idly by.
I was not yet born when Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech at the March on Washington in 1963. Had I been alive, however, I like to think that I would have been there cheering him on. I like to think that I would have stood against segregation and done everything in my power to dismantle that unjust system. I like to think that I would have put my legal background to work defeating those laws that made interracial marriage illegal. I like to think that I would have joined the picket lines, sat at the lunch counters, sued the school systems . . . done whatever I could to fight the injustice of segregation.
Today I think that Californians are at a similar crossroads. Like the courts that invalidated Jim Crow laws and segregation a half century ago, the California Supreme Court has determined that the State may not discriminate between heterosexual couples and same sex couples -- accordingly, the State Constitution requires that same sex couples be given the right to marry. In response to that ruling, thousands of same sex couples -- many of whom had been in monogamous relationships for decades -- rushed to get married. And, yet, those marriages are now in danger of being invalidated. That is just wrong.
A little over a month ago I attended the wedding of my good friends Ali and Laura. I came to know Ali and Laura as the moms of one of my son's school friends. Ali and Laura are smart, successful, caring women who, above all else, are wonderful mothers. Their sons are growing up in a stable and loving home. Yet, until this year, Ali and Laura could not contemplate getting married. Their wedding ceremony was as much a celebration of their love for each other and their powerful committed relationship, as it was the validation of their family unit. At the wedding, my son's friends celebrated the fact that they could have married parents just like the other kids in their school. It was truly a joyous day.
Yet, Proposition 8 seeks to take away that right. Not only would Proposition 8 strip Ali and Laura, and thousands of other committed gay couples like them, of their right to marry, it would strip their sons of their right to have married parents. Should we amend the State Constitution to not only take away Ali and Laura's rights, but also the rights of their sons? And if Laura and Ali can be stripped of their right to wed, why not also my brother and sister in law, who are of different races? Should they fear that their rights are the next to be stripped away? Should my niece be concerned that the citizens of California may deem her unworthy of having married parents as well?
To my mind, voting NO on Proposition 8 is very simply an issue of fairness. Proposition 8 seeks to amend the Constitution to take away the rights of same sex couples -- the very same rights that heterosexual couples have always had. That is not equality. All of my children, gay or straight, should have the opportunity to marry the person they love. Anything shy of that simply does not reflect the ideals upon which this country has been built. So I urge you to vote NO on Proposition 8 this coming Tuesday. Ali and Laura's sons deserve to have happily married parents. Who are we to take that away from them?