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Live from Suburbia! #1 in a series



This may or may not end up in the Outlook/Valley Sun sometime soon.

Greetings parents, children and angst-ridden teenagers of La Canada! I am a long-time reader and first-time contributor to the fine weekly publications of our town. First things first, I would like to say that I am a product of the La Canada Unified School system. I attended Palm Crest Elementary and continued on to La Canada High School where I graduated with a pretty decent GPA, went on to attend a well-regarded 4-year college and, after an international sojourn into the world of graduate school, I have returned once again to La Canada to make my way into the 'real world'. But enough about me, let's talk about you, the residents of La Canada.

In the past weeks I have noticed an increase in the debates over the auspicious Prop. 8, which is by far one of the more important propositions of the upcoming election. I have seen an increase in lawn signs, street signs and even people holding signs imploring those around them to vote 'yes' or 'no' on the aforementioned proposition. Every Thursday I flip through both the Valley Sun and The Outlook and find the letters to the paper becoming more intently focused on unraveling the mystery and the core issues at hand, all with a hint of spite a la middle school gossip. Parents, I understand your concern for your children. You only want the best! I know that's what my parents want for my younger brother and myself. They think first and foremost of our well-being and our futures as successful citizens of the world. Our education was and is still a top priority in our household, as it is in yours. However, there is something I must add.

PROPOSITION 8 IS NOT ABOUT EDUCATION. IT IS ABOUT LAWFUL DISCRIMINATION OF OTHER HUMAN BEINGS, WHICH IS UNACCEPTABLE AND IMMORAL.

I have read countless letters and ads (DeVore family, I'm looking at you) claiming that we need to 'Protect our children and families' from the horrors that will occur if Prop. 8 is voted down. Our children will be taught about GAY SEX AND MARRIAGE in schools! Your babies will be subjected to moral degradation as they learn that it is acceptable for two people, who may be of the same gender or different genders, to marry! We must preserve the 'traditional family' and the innocent children from these morally corrupt times! "O tempora! O mores!" as the orator Seneca once lamented!.

No. Simply no. It is time to cut the legal jargon and the religious nonsense and actually look at the issue at hand. Having survived the La Canada school system, I can assure each and every one of you that I have NEVER had a moment in class when we were given a lecture about marriage. Perhaps in the Sociology class I never took, but that was because I chose to take AP English instead. Gotta focus on that GPA! Here is what I can tell you about my experience with sex education in the classrooms. In 5th grade, the boys and the girls were given separate presentations about 'Our Changing Bodies'. We were given the opportunity to watch an informative video and then ask any questions we had anonymously so as to avoid the inevitable embarrassment that occurs when puberty is discussed. Much later on, in 7th or 8th grade, we had a brief unit on the biology of reproduction in Biology class. We were shown the classic masterpiece, 'The Miracle of Life', but as middle-schoolers, we knew a fair amount about those pesky birds and bees already. I have a feeling the fabled class Health and Regional Studies was meant to act as some sort of Sex Ed. but it fell so unbelievably short of that expectation that no one even bothered. Again, by that point of our education, in 9th or 10th grade, we learn more from our friends and classmates about our blossoming sexuality and any presentation seems to be a bit silly. Kids (yes, I will use that term) were already experimenting with sex and drugs and learning along the way. Many students have long-term boyfriends or girlfriends and we all know what happens when two teens are left alone in a room for any significant period of time. We learn by doing and by sharing. If you will take a moment to notice, I have not once mentioned a moment when marriage or sex was presented in, as Sarah Palin describes it, 'explicit' terms, or even at all in the classroom. Sure, we were shown various cutaways and diagrams in Biology textbooks and we learned a bit about STD's, but the legal or religious nature of marriage and partnerships of any sort were never discussed as part of the curriculum. That's right. Never.

I will conclude with the following thoughts, which hopefully may help a bit in the decision you make when you vote. First, your children are fine. They will be taught a fine curriculum during their years in the La Canada school system which will most assuredly be free from anything explicit. Second, Proposition 8 is not about education or schooling. It is about the basic rights of all humans. Who are you to say that two people, regardless of gender, cannot show their love and commitment for each other by marrying? This has nothing to do with God, Jesus, Allah, Zoroaster or any other deity you may wish to add to the list. Marriage has, and always been, about the legal aspect of things. It is a formal way to declare where property, money and alliances will go in the public and political sphere. If there is love involved, then it is all the better. We have managed to progress past the periods of history when political and strategic marriages were made and the priority was to provide legitimate heirs. Now, we can focus on love. All the paperwork and legal aspects can fall in line accordlingly. For all you folks reading this undoubtedly crying, 'But Jesus says...!' please sit down before you hurt yourself. Jesus tells us to love our fellow men/women/children, correct? How loving is it to deprive another fellow human of the right to love whom they wish? Would Jesus approve of your behavior? Jesus loves the little children, isn't that right? Well would Jesus wish to consign a child to a life of hardship, agony and emotional confusion in the foster care system when they could be welcomed into a loving forever home that happens to be headed by a gay or lesbian couple? What WOULD Jesus do? Before you start flinging open Bibles and pointing to verses, please keep in mind that the reason gay relationships were looked down upon was because, while perfectly valid relationships, they did not contribute to the then-society of the Near Eastern Bronze and Iron Ages because they did not provide 1)children and thus more members of a society with a frightfully mortality rate which meant 2)no legitimate heirs for legal and political purposes. Relationships between men were actually encouraged because men, as the superior gender, could experience a true meeting of the minds and emotions only with other men. Women were simply there to provide heirs. For further discussion of this matter, please read 'The Epic of Gilgamesh', 'The Iliad' and the Bible. Finally, please vote 'No' on Prop. 8. Discrimination and hate are unlawful, unconstitutional and go against every religious teaching. Please do the right thing.

Thank you for your time.