Gay and lesbian couples in California have been getting married for months now. In Massachusetts, for several years. In that time, thousands of straight couples have continued to get married, and neither state has been mass-annulling straight marriages. So “traditional marriage” clearly isn’t endangered by same-sex marriage, and banning the latter isn’t going to “restore” the former.

If California’s Proposition 8 does not pass, no marriages will be ended. If it does pass, all those same-sex marriages will be wiped out. If you’re really serious about “protecting marriage,” the clear choice is to vote against the proposition.

Some other things to consider:

This is not about “activist judges.” A bunch of judges didn’t say, “Hey, let’s make it legal for same-sex couples to get married!” They heard a case, looked at the law, and determined that the only thing preventing gay marriage was a law that conflicted with a higher law: the state constitution. That’s what judges are supposed to do. At least Prop. 8 is going through proper channels by amending the constitution instead of just trying to pass another unconstitutional law. Of course, I think it’s a bad idea to inject discrimination into the state constitution.

(While we’re at it, the whole concept of “activist judges” is a smokescreen. It basically means “judges who strike down laws that I would rather stayed in place.” I imagine that most people railing against this decision would be perfectly happy if a group of judges overturned Roe vs. Wade.)

As for children: Let’s not forget that there are plenty of straight couples who can’t have children either, whether for age or medical reasons. Should they not be allowed to marry? How about straight couples who choose not to have children? Should they not be allowed to marry?

And teaching marriage in schools? Shouldn’t a child know something about marriage by the time they start school? Neither of us remembers being “taught” about marriage when we were children, it was something learned through observing and asking parents. And we both went to public school. In different districts. Katie spoke to a fifth-grade teacher recently who remarked that the only time she even talked about marriage in class was when students asked about it, and then district policy prevented her from answering most of their questions. I can only assume that the objection is that children might find out that same-sex marriage exists.

Oh, and that “classroom trip” mentioned in the latest pro-8 ad? It was their teacher’s wedding, it was a creative arts charter school, it was organized by the students’ parents (note the headline that they surprised the teacher), and it was optional. The school approved the trip because, whatever happened, it was a notable event from a civil rights perspective.

To anyone who thinks that civil unions or domestic partnerships should be enough: would you be satisfied with the state saying you could only have something that’s almost, but not quite a marriage?