PZ Myers of Pharyngula has gotten it right. Proposition 8 in California - the constitutional amendment against gay marriage - is a moral issue.
For a great example of narrow-minded wretched biblical rationalizations, listen to Rick Warren of the Saddleback Church. He comes out strongly for Prop. 8, calling it a "moral issue" (which it is — too bad he's fighting on the side of evil) . . .
(See Pharyngula, The Division on Proposition 8
Proposition 8 is very much a moral issue. It is a question about doing the right thing - about fairness and about justice. It is about kindness. It is about respect.
It is about refusing to do harm to innocent people - making their lives worse off than they need to be - without a good reason. And the fact that bigots 2000 years ago valued doing harm to certain people is not a good reason to be doing harm to those people today.
It is about the difference between right and wrong.
The typical way of approaching questions such as this has been to allow the anti-gay bigots to claim the word 'moral'. From polls to newspaper coverage, we have allowed them to claim the title of anti-gay legislation as 'morals legislation'. We have, for all practical purposes, allowed them to use without question the assumption that homosexual relationships are immoral.
We have, instead, spoken in other terms. We have used nonsense phrases in defense of homosexual relationships such as, "You should not be imposing your morals on other people." This phrase is absurd on its face, because it says, in effect, "I am going to force on you my moral standard that it is wrong to impose one's moral standards on others."
If a standard is not to be imposed on others, then it is not a moral standard. Prohibitions against murder, rape, theft, fraud, reckless endangerment, every violent crime written into statute is an example of forcing morality on others.
"You shall not do harm to others without a good reason for doing so," is a moral standard that may be imposed on others.
"Your faith is not a good reason," is a corollary to this. If we allow faith to justify harm to others then we might as well go ahead and permit all harm. There is nothing we can do against the person who claims that his actions were based on faith.
Kill your daughter for staying out to late? Sure, can't touch the father in this case. His faith says that it is okay.
Plan to fly a plane into a sky scraper . . . no problem there. After all, one of the things we must respect is a person's right to practice their religious beliefs.
But what if those religious beliefs include the belief that he must fly an airplane into a sky scraper, murder his daughter, or declare peaceful members of the community whose actions do no harm to others second-class citizens?
Proposition 8 requires that we take sides on a moral issue - to do that which is right, or to do that which is wrong. To allow people to harm others based on no better reason than, "My god told me to," or to protect people from being harmed by those who harm others in the name of God.
Even the decision not to vote (where one is eligible to do so) is a moral decision. A person hears screams in the alley, He looks out the window and sees a large man beating a child mercilessly. He closes the window and returns to his television.
He may not be as morally culpable as the person in the alley doing the beating, but he is not morally innocent either.
Proposition 8 is about morality. It is about allowing people to do harm to others for no reason better than, "My God told me to," the very same reason used by those who engage in terrorist bombings and other harms. Or it is about saying to people, "Your religious conviction that these people are to be harmed is not a good enough reason to have them harmed."
The message that we should be sending around the world is the latter message.
We will all be better off as a result.