Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Proposition 8: Reaction to the Reaction

This was originally going to be a comment on my own post below, but it just got to be too long.

First, thanks to Brittney Gilbert, who linked to this post (I now know who Gary was referring too).

Second, thanks to all of those who contributed below. Your thoughts are always welcome on here, no matter how much I agree or disagree.

Some final thoughts.

1.It probably is unfair to target only Mormons, as there were several groups, religious and otherwise, who supported prop 8.

That said, I do think it is fair to hold them to account for supporting it (and any other group). The church leadership entered into the fray knowingly, and mobilized their followers both in and out of California (There are A LOT of pro-pro 8 donations from Utah. A LOT. You can look it up) to support this legislation. Holding the church accountable for taking a position on a political issue is not "discrimination." I would also argue that the organizational hierarchy of the Mormon church really does not have equal in any other religion, so that its position is unique. I mean, as much as the Catholic Bishops also supported Prop 8, my gay catholic coworker did not follow in lockstep.

2. I am myself not a member of the gay community (I live with my beautiful girlfriend), so I do not pretend to speak for them. I am nevertheless an opponent of prejudice and I thus consider the passage of Prop 8 a defeat.

3. Many of you have found a religion in which you find strength and truth. That's great. I fully support organized religion. What I do not like, however, is when the church (temple/synagogue/whathaveyou)1) imposes its values on people who do not share their values 2) through the laws of the state.

You and your chruch always could keep your definition of "marriage," as backwards as I think it is. Prop 8 had nothing to do with forcing your faith to accept same-sex marriages. It had to do with the state. And under the laws of the state, specifically the Equal Protection clause of the CA constitution, this definitively is a civil rights issue, whether you care to frame it that way or not because it involves extending a privilege of the state to some, but denying it to others based solely on their sexual orientation.

This is not just about the voters passing an initiative anymore than Brown v. Board of Education was just about the drawing of school districts. This is about the state discriminating based on sexual orientation.

4. Domestic Partnerships were a big step forward, no question, but they are not the equivalent of marriage. The Supreme Court noted 9 differences in its opinion last spring. Moreover, it requires a completely different (and more taxing) process than regular marriage. "Separate but kind-of-mostly equivalent" should not pass muster under our secular state constitution when it is based only on prejudice against a historically (and currently, apparently) ostracized group.

5. I find it interesting that nobody has tried to defend the ads that the Yes campaign put out there. And this was what my original post was supposed to be about. I always knew the religious and social conservatives were going to vote for this. What I didn't appreciate though, is that the ads were trying to spark Pavlovian knee-jerk reactions among those who were undecided based on hyperbolic exaggerations with no basis in law or fact. No church was going to lose its tax exempt status, and same-sex marriage was not going to be "taught" in schools (I still don't know what that means) anymore than regular marriage is "taught" in schools now (maybe I was just absent that day).

If anything, however, the passage of Prop 8, has sparked something. I will no longer be only a passive participant in this struggle. I will no longer just put up stickers, give $ to a campaign, and write on a blog that no one reads. I hereby vow to take an active role in getting the H8 out of our constitution, one way or another.

3 comments:

whichever.whatever said...

What a great way to redirect conversation to what is truly the point: how Prop 8's advertising was misleading to those who may have been on the fence (read: have no particular religious affiliation/pressure to vote "yes.").

-- I had a long response that I wanted to write here, but I think that I am still too upset to really flesh out all of my anger --

I wholeheartedly agree with your last point of more action being needed. I truly thought CA was more liberal-minded/sensible to see what a human rights violation prop 8 truly is. What a disappointment.

Great posts, though. Your story about the gay couple on the train going to City Hall to get married made me tear up. It saddens me that a lot of people spent enough time and money to tell other couples like them, "No, you can't."

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