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)


  1. I've never understood why this even needed to be an issue. What harm could possibly come from letting people who want to be together do so officially? Some voters obviously don't see it that way. We need to do a better job of educating them before the next time a vote is taken.

  2. Friends of mine in San Francisco got married the Saturday before the election. I'm so glad they did it before it became illegal again.

    Apparently the arguments put forth in those horrible ads used the same language that was once used to convince people that intermarriage among blacks and whites would somehow destroy the sanctity of marriage.

    Gay marriage definitely will someday be as normal as apple pie, as intermarriage now is. Hope that happens sooner rather thanlater.

  3. The ACLU has already brought a case here in California questioning the legality of prop 8 on the grounds you mention (majority deciding on the rights of a minority). My opinion, for what it's worth, is that these changes are always challenging in the implementation...some people think that they could be made quietly & without fuss (without the frightened noticing). But noise and resistance is some sort of societal equivalent to bringing something into consciousness for the individual.

  4. I am part of a very disgusted minority that is sick of having my rights compromised in several arenas. If any of you know of organizational efforts that are continuing to pursue the marriage effort and other rights, please post them so that those of us left in the dust of the recent election can re-group and focus our energies yet again on being treated as equal human beings under the law.

  5. As one of your California readers, I can tell you that the ads that ran pro-8 ads that ran here were really sick. They brought children into the mix, making sound like schools would be teaching gay marriage. One of things that most people don't realize is that we have lots of kiddos who have parents who are the same gender. The reason that the initiative passed is that California is a huge state that encompasses some very conservative areas. Whenever the people in the Bay Area start to thinking that we live in a progressive society, the people in the Central Valley (California's Bible belt) and Orange County (California's conservative den) yank us back to reality in a quick jerk (for example, our current governor).

  6. Kellyann: Those are exactly the ads I heard about. One of my friends asked a "Yes on 8" demonstrator why he supported the law, and he said, "I have to protect my family." People were led to believe that allowing gay marriage was a direct threat to them -- which, of course, is balderdash.

  7. This is an intrusion of religion into matters of the State.

    If the religious zealots wish to have a 'sanctified marriage', their church can help with that. It has nothing to do with the State's interest in marriage.

  8. The fight for justice is not over and will be won eventually. The heavily Mormon funded ads certainly played a key as did the deceptive wording of the proposition. Also, it comes as a surprise to many that there are on the order of three to four "red states" within California. Orange County alone has almost twice as many people as Nebraska. And those red counties are growing while San Francisco is more or less static in population growth -- and nearly 25% of our population voted yes on Proposition 8.

    (PS, Hope you're over the cold.)