In the comment thread to the previous post, I said the following:
Bear in mind that while I think Prop 8 is hateful, bigoted and wrong, I believe that lots of people who don’t see themselves as hateful and bigoted can see themselves voting for it because they think it’s the right thing to do. As noted, I do feel sorry for them and I hope in the fullness of time they learn to regret their actions, because they are, at heart, good and loving people.
I actually believe this. I think there are good, decent, kind and loving people who will vote for a proposition that is fundamentally bigoted and wrong and hurtful, and that they will do it out of the best of intentions, motivated by a belief in a particular religion, or fear of a changing world, or a perceived conflict in moral system, or because they want to plant a flag about the encroaching power of governments, some combination of any or all of the above, or for some other reason entirely. Good people do bad things for reasons they believe to be good.
This does not make their actions less wrong. It’s clear to me that Proposition 8 is fundamentally bad and that it would inscribe prejudice into the California constitution; it’s a stain on the law and an embarrassment for the state. People who vote for it will vote for hate and bigotry, whether of not that is their intent. But it’s equally clear that at least some of the folks who will vote for it don’t intend to vote for hate or bigotry; either they don’t believe that’s what they’re doing, or they just can’t conceive that’s what they’re doing.
This is why it’s important to talk to anyone you know who is voting for Proposition 8 and let them know that while they see themselves as good and decent people — and you believe them to be, too — that nevertheless what they do with their vote will reflect on them and will matter going forward. I firmly believe that people who will vote for Prop 8 will continue to be good, decent, kind and loving people after they vote for it. They will simply have made a horrible moral choice, and will have to live with the consequences of their actions… and have to live knowing others will have to live with those consequences as well, with fewer rights, fewer rights for their families, and marriages that would otherwise be strong torn apart by governmental fiat. I think that’s going to be a heck of a moral burden to bear going forward, which is why I pity these people.
Anyway. Keep this in mind when talking about the folks who will vote yes on Prop 8. They’re not all bad people, even if they will, through voting for it, be the cause of bad things. In time, some of them may come to regret their choice. If they do, I would say it would be kind to offer to help them with their burden, and to help them work to change their error.