Waldlaw Blog

Friday, October 03, 2008

Do No Harm

I had a shock this week, when I discovered that one of the folks who signed the official Rebuttal to Argument Against Prop 8 in the California Voter Guide is a pediatrician at UCSF Medical Center, with lesbian and gay families in her practice. I gave birth to our older son at UCSF almost 15 years ago, and already found it an aware and welcoming place. I don't think I am naive -- not at all -- but somehow, I really didn't expect to see a UCSF pediatrician taking such a very public stand against our equality. And it gets worse. A lesbian mom whose child was in her practice sent her a letter, to clarify whether she was really the doctor in the Voter Guide, and got back the following response: Hi L., Yes, I am the same [name of doctor omitted to protect the guilty]. I am hoping that my gay/lesbian families -- who I so appreciate and enjoy caring for -- will realize that there is a difference between allowing gays/lesbians to form families and adopt children without terming this a marriage. Because of the judges' ruling, there would be no religious exclusion allowed - churches may be forced to marry couples in disagreement with their church doctrine. I am also concerned that this ruling actually opens the door to other relationships (such as polygamy, incest) that may not be in the best interest of children. Proposition 8, as you know, does not eliminate any rights for gay and lesbian couples as civil unions will still be the law in California. I trust you have seen the love and care that I have demonstrated to you, as I have to all my families without regard for who constitutes the family. I have always attempted to keep my public policy concerns separated from the medical care I provide. I hope this answers your concerns. How is this woman's position misleading and wrong? Let me count the ways.... (1) No church has to marry couples that it doesn't want to. Prop 8 doesn't give anyone the right to have a church wedding -- it gives same-sex couples the right to a civil marriage. Last time I checked, we still had separation of church and state somewhere in our Constitution. (2) There is NOTHING in the Supreme Court decision that opens the door to polygamy or incest. Oh yeah, it won't pave the way to allowing us to marry our pets either. I think that covers that. (3) It boggles my mind that any caring professional would honestly think that a parent would knowingly entrust the health of her/his children to someone who actively promotes intolerance of our families. As I have already stated very clearly in prior blogs, the Supreme Court's decision was not fundamentally about marriage -- it was about dignity, respect and equality. "I love your family; I just don't think you're entitled to equality" somehow doesn't cut it -- not for me, and certainly not for my children. So this week's reality check is: don't assume that just because we live in San Francisco, the people we rub shoulders with are progressive when it comes to lesbian and gay rights. And in this most polarized and volatile moment, take care of yourselves and your families.


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