The opponents of Proposition 8 are trying to redefine a word that has represented a union between a man and a woman from the beginning. It’s amazing that our society thinks we have the right to change the meaning of something that nature is so clear about defining. Only a man and a woman can create a child. We call their legal commitment to each other and to their children “marriage” and it has always been thus.
There’s an analogy that sounds kind of silly but clearly makes a point. Changing the definition of “marriage” is kind of like trying to redefine a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. When you make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, you put peanut butter on one slice of bread and jelly on the other and then you put the two slices together. Suppose someone were to come along and say, "I don't like jelly! Just use peanut butter on both slices of bread—but I still want you to call it a peanut butter and jelly sandwich." PB&J simply doesn't describe the new sandwich. You can't redefine a PB&J just because you like the way this name sounds better than calling your new sandwich a “peanut butter and peanut butter sandwich!” It's a different combination and it needs its own term.
Opponents of Prop 8 have tried to frame the need to redefine the term “marriage” as a civil rights issue. Consider the often-aired commercial where the bride is trying to make her way to the altar, but she keeps encountering obstacles. She trips over cans tied to the back of a car; a flower girl tries to block her way; a wedding guest trips her with a cane. Finally, after someone restrains the groom from going to the bride's aid, these words come up on the screen: “What if you couldn't marry the person you love?” Someone unfamiliar with California law might think, "Oh my gosh, how horrible that the state of California refuses to acknowledge the rights of two people that love each other to be joined together, regardless of their gender!” That commercial very cleverly misguides people. It leads them to believe that Proposition 8 is going to prevent same-sex couples from creating a legally binding union with all the rights of traditional married couples. That's not what this is about! Same sex couples in California that would like to commit to each other legally have been able to do that for years. We call it a “domestic partnership.” By California law, domestic partners have all the rights and privileges of married couples. This vote isn't going to have any affect whatsoever on these legally guaranteed civil rights. This vote only applies to what we call that union. Opponents of Prop 8 want to change the recipe for their peanut butter sandwich but still call it a PB&J. But a PB&PB will never be the same as a PB&J.