Debating Proposition 8--Should California eliminate marriage for same-sex couples?

Margo Howard, an advice columnist for Yahoo News and Creators Syndicate, is the only daughter of Esther "Eppie" Lederer, who wrote the Ann Landers advice column from 1955 until her death in 2002.

Three weeks ago, I came to Los Angeles from the East Coast to attend the wedding of two men for whom I have great affection.

It was not my first gay marriage. Four years earlier, I was the very elderly “flower girl” at the wedding of two gay male friends in Boston. I preceded them down the aisle, scattering petals from a basket, the works.

My one wish about both these events is that my late mother, Ann Landers, was still here so that I could talk to her about them. The old girl would have been thrilled because she really was what Time magazine called her in its obituary: “the stealth subversive.”

It was she, the trusted friend welcomed daily into tens of millions of middle-class homes, who from early on fought for gay rights. She said homosexuality was not an illness or an aberration or that looniest of definitions, “an alternative lifestyle choice.” Rather, she was convinced homosexuality was determined by genetics and dead certain that people were hard-wired in their sexuality. And to those straight people who believed that homosexuals could be “brought around,” she always suggested that they give it a go being gay. She put her not inconsiderable clout behind the (ultimately successful) effort to get homosexuality removed from the official diagnostic manual as an “illness.”


While I seldom try to speak for her, I know for a certainty that she would have encouraged all the people who ever wrote to her looking for guidance to vote no on Proposition 8. I know this because she was all about equality, dignity and rights. While she would have respected those who took the Bible literally, she also would have invited them to live according to their principles, and allow others to do the same. So if, per chance, before you vote you might wonder what your old friend Ann Landers would advise, remember her lifelong devotion to fairness, open-mindedness and love.


More on marriage

Does legalized same-sex marriage threaten religious liberty? How will African Americans vote on Proposition 8? Why will the 2010 census ignore wedded gay couples? Read all of The Times’ editorials, columns, Op-Ed articles and Web-only content on the issue since the May 15 state Supreme Court ruling.