Before Prop 8 there was Prop 22, and I voted in favor of it. Not because of any religious view I held, or because I was prejudiced against gays and lesbians, but because it made sense to me that marriage was for men and women. That was how I knew it.
Three years later my daughter came out and my views about the legal rights of gay men and women turned from intellectual to very, very personal.
My daughter is now married to an Air Force officer. Two years ago when Heather was giving birth to my grandson, her wife had to lie to request leave to help "a friend" who was having a baby. Don't Ask Don't Tell was in force then. Adrianna couldn't share their good news at work because it could have destroyed her career.
Our beliefs and actions are influenced by what we know and have experienced personally, and whom we care about. Thirteen years ago I never imagined I might be the parent of a gay, lesbian, or transgender child. Now I know that I am, and I care deeply about how Prop 8 and the Federal Defense of Marriage Act affect my family.
I have a photo in my cubicle of two women walking on the beach with a little boy in a striped shirt between them. The evening shadows stretch past them towards the water. You can see from their ruffled hair that there's a light breeze blowing. Those women could be anyone. They could be strangers. They could be your sisters, your friends or your neighbors. In fact, they are my dearly beloved daughter, grandson and daughter-in-law.