Perhaps it would be better to say that this is the case for tellling “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” After months and months of watching the various arguments for and against Proposition 8 in California – which would define marriage as being between a man and a woman – I finally spoke up. I could no longer sit silent while people on both sides of the debate obscured the truth of what was to be decided.
The way this is the case for telling the truth is that one side received all the benefit as both sides argued about related obscurities that were all false to one degree or another. Those opposing Prop. 8 claim that the measure was designed to institutionalize discrimination. They benefit from this because of the emotional reaction that good people have to the idea of discrimination. When the proponents of Prop. 8 focus their arguments on the secondary effects of legalizing gay marriage, using fear as their tool in place of truth the opponents can easily counter with the idea that the repurcussions of this action will not have a ripple effect citing the fact that gay marriage has already been legal for months (and naturally within those few months we would already be seeing the side effects of such a monumental social change as redefining the primary unit of society).
If the advocates for Prop. 8 would stick to publishing the truth of their position and defending themselves accurately against the false claims of discrimination their opponents would not be able to obscure the real issue as effectively as they have been able to do. The voters would be left to decide on the issue of whether marriage is a construct of man or something more eternal in nature. If the issue were decided based on the real argument then it would almost not matter the outcome of the vote – the people would be declaring where they stand on the issue and the debate would serve as an opportunity to teach the truth.
As it stands, the debate has circled around the central issue and been hijacked by half-truths and high emotions. The people of California will decide the issues based on viceral reactions rather than honest or clear belief. Many will make a choice that they honestly do not understand and cannot be fully held accountable for that choice which means the issue will undoubtedly be revisited without the benefit of so many people already understanding what it being decided.