Locals weigh in on Proposition 8 debate at CSUB

Eli Calderon

Proposition 8, if passed, will change the California Constitution and eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry in California. This was the topic of the evening’s debate on Oct. 9 at Cal State Bakersfield.?
Jacquelyn Kegley, a CSUB professor, moderated the debate between the two parties. It began with Marylee Shrider, columnist for the Bakersfield Californian, a conservative voting yes on Prop. 8.?
Shrider stated that she recognized the dispute people had against her for “imposing her religion” on others, but argued that all of our laws require the imposition of people’s strong convictions thus making it unfair to suggest that people of faith have no right to oppose same-sex marriage. “We will because we can and because we must,” she stated in reference to protecting marriage between a man and a woman.
“Countless studies support the idea of a mom and dad being important to a child’s well being. Is it right to deprive a child of a mom and dad?” she asked the audience.
Annie Duran, associate professor for the department of psychology at CSUB, spoke next. She told the story of her son, who at the age of 12 came out to her but was afraid of his parents being angry with him.
Duran appeared to tear up as she recounted the fear her son had of losing his parents’ love. However, she continued saying that the problem does exist in what are called “throwaway kids,” which are young individuals rejected by their families and thrown out for being gay. Young adults struggling with the issue of sexuality are at high risk of suicide, she stated.
In regard to children and families, Duran said,
“Research has indicated time and time again there is no difference with respect to gender and the health of children of heterosexual parents versus homosexual parents.”
Ken Mettler, a Kern High School District trustee, president of the Bakersfield Republican Assembly, vice president of the California Republican Assembly, and Kern County chairman for Yes on Prop. 8, followed up with what he said were dangers that exist in same-sex marriage.
Mettler cited a case in Australia in which many same-sex mothers in a particular city were artificially inseminated by the same donor and thus creating the danger of their offspring unknowingly courting in the future.
“These types of situations can and will occur,” he said. “Society has the right to draw the line.”
Mettler said that calling it equal rights is not a compelling argument since civil rights are already in place, meaning domestic partnerships. Mettler shared his concern that tearing down traditional institutions is bad for society and that Prop. 8 is hostile to religious individuals.
“Marriage is further weakened when diluted, further eroding the sanctity of marriage. We have to do what’s healthiest for society,” he said.
He is also worried about creating a special class and the possibility of polygamists being the next population of?people who want the right to be married.
Whitney Weddell, a local high school teacher, named several restrictions such as age, unfair tax benefits and divorce limitations. Weddell also said diverse families need to be recognized in schools in order to teach children acceptance of gay families.
In response to civil rights, Weddell said, “It’s inappropriate to say that the people have voted, because laws are constantly overturned.?We are constantly creating laws with the best intentions and years later have to revise them.”
When the debate was turned over to the audience for questioning, Diane, who declined to give her last name, asked Shrider and Mettler, “Since you say that being in a domestic partnership is as valid as a marriage license, would you be willing to forfeit your marriage license in exchange for a domestic partnership only?” to which both answered no.
“Eight years ago the people spoke; this year the court said ‘tough'” was the closing statement from Shrider, who added that according to God, marriage is between a man and a woman.
“How do I tell God He’s wrong?” she asked the audience.
Several other participants waited in line to ask the panel a question, and the discussion continued by permission an additional 30 minutes after the student union’s regular hours.