Saturday, November 8, 2008
Several of my friends were depressed after election day. Not because Obama won, but because Proposition 8, and several other anti-gay measures around the country, passed.
Proposition 8, which amends the California state constitution to ban gay marriage, is a hideous law -- as are the similar laws in Florida, Arkansas and Arizona. They're founded on misinformation and, deep down, fear. (And despite what anyone says, I think they're positively anti-Christian. Jesus would never back Proposition 8, or any other law that reinforces discrimination and isolation.)
I was a bit surprised Proposition 8 managed to pass, given California's generally more progressive population. But I have friends in California who told me about the ads that aired there, which were full of lies about what allowing gay marriage would do. (I'm not at all surprised the measures passed in the other states.)
Why are we allowing people to vote on a minority group's civil rights? That's a good question, and one the courts must continue to address. But overall, this is a reminder that, for whatever reason, our society is just not "there" yet on gay marriage.
Change takes a long time. Look at it this way -- the fact that we're discussing state-sanctioned gay marriage is an immense step forward from where we were even ten years ago. We have civil unions in some states, which are not a bad option if truly legally equal to marriage. It's "separate but equal," but it's a start.
My main concern is that gays and lesbians have the same legal rights that marriage provides. I don't care whether it's called marriage or not. If civil unions aren't truly equal, we should push to make them so, and continue to work toward the eventual goal of marriage.
But rather than despair over this week's setback, let's look at ways to move ahead incrementally, and realize that each generation is more accepting and gay marriage WILL one day be the norm.
(Photo: Sidewalk art near the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Mass., Oct 2008)