Guest blogger Vanessa: There are two sides to every story. Here's mine.
Deciding to support it was one of the greatest emotional conflicts I have ever been through in my entire life. I dearly love all of my gay friends. They are some of the most wonderful people I have ever met and I want them to be happy. I fully support domestic partnerships because I know that everyone wants to be with the one they love.
Yet there was an unsettled feeling in the pit in my stomach -- the definition of marriage. I am religious and believe the Biblical definition as being between a man and woman, going all the way back to Adam and Eve. Marriage is the crucial partnership that makes it possible to biologically have children together and seal a family unit.
But what would people think? Would they understand?
I wasn't alone in my confusion. Many of my church friends where going through the same turmoil. Firm in their beliefs, but not wanting to alienate their gay friends and coworkers.
After a month of praying about the issue, I came to a personal realization. What is this really about? The definition of marriage. Man and woman. I decided that I would follow my faith, although a large part of me was left sorrowful.
I didn't donate money to Yes on Prop 8, but like many others, I donated my time. I held "Yes on Prop 8" signs and went polling. I was flipped off, called horrible names and was the target of much yelling. It's okay, though, I understand. They have the right to yell, and I listened to what they had to say.
Could they understand? Could they know how much I still cared for them?
Election Day came. I was proud to see all of the "I Voted" stickers on everyone in my city and I celebrated what I thought would be a new era ... where we would come together to work through the issues facing our nation.
The next morning, Prop 8 passed. I was honestly surprised. I don't watch much TV, and all of the ads I had heard on the radio were against the proposition. Officials such as Governor Schwarzenegger and Senator Diane Feinstein (who I have complete respect for) had both opposed it.
Although I was glad that the hours of time invested had paid off, I was far from happy. My heart broke for all of the couples that woke up that morning, not knowing if they were married or not. I cried at my desk when I was alone. I couldn't imagine what they were going through and I prayed that they might be comforted.
That's when I noticed a change. People who opposed Prop 8 were angry. A completely natural reaction of course, but this was different. This was a kind of anger that I had never been exposed to. The anger seemed filled with hate and distrust ... and the search was on to find a reason Prop 8 passed. And someone to blame.
Then the protests started. I couldn't believe it at first. The blaming finger had pointed at the Mormon church, a religion that makes up under two percent of the California population (and later I found out that we made up LESS THAN FIVE PERCENT of the yes vote). Yes, a large portion of Yes on Prop 8's donations came from members of our church. But didn't they have the right to donate to a cause that they believed in?
And it wasn't just blame, it was accusations of hate and prejudice ... everything that I have stood against my entire life.
The protesters were at the Los Angeles Temple ... MY temple. My place of worship. Somewhere that I had always felt safe. I had so many emotions inside of me that I couldn't differentiate one from the other. Would they desecrate my place of worship? Would my family and friends be safe from harm?
I had to know for myself and headed down to the temple as soon as I got off work.
The sea of protesters were marching peacefully but were carrying cruel and offensive anti-Mormon signs. My heart sank and I left determined to prove their accusations wrong.
I wanted to make sure that my church friends understood the other side of the story and felt compassion for all those who were hurting.
I discovered that they already did understand. They were going through the same thing I was. Not all of them had even voted yes on the issue. But no matter how they voted, their hearts were still open to those who were standing against them.
Over the next few days, things were rough for both sides. The protesters continued, although I helplessly felt there was nothing I could do for them. Our gates were written on, they banged on the doors of our chapel and stood outside our parking lot to take photos of our license plates. The members who had donated money to Yes on Prop 8 were exposed online, open for attack.
Blog posts and emails from church members started to pop up everywhere -- messages of love and peace and encouragement. Every prayer at church that Sunday spoke for the safety of our members and that those who where yelling outside our gates would be comforted and feel our love for them.
This was not an issue of hate. For me, it was purely an issue of religious belief. We have all made sacrifices. Many have lost friends, and others abandoned by their coworkers. I, myself, had to find another place to live.
I believe that God loves all of us, and it is our duty to love one another as his children ... through all of the trials and tribulations that we face together.