Friday, November 07, 2008

Reflections on an Election, or "Woohoo!!! dot dot dot Oh Crap, Are You Serious?"

I thought this would be the perfect week. Obama would be elected president, Prop 8 would fail, and Cal would pull a stunning upset and beat USC. Mixed results so far.

Watching Obama's speech on Tuesday night made me cry a little bit. I was at a party with a few friends, but coincidently mostly a bunch of strangers. And as the television told us that Obama was our future president, we all looked around in disbelief. Not because we didn't want to believe, as we were all Obama supporters, but because most of us couldn't remember the last time that we had been excited about a presidential election result. I think our brains could not longer connect the "win presidential election" and "happy" neurons because of disuse.

Could this really be happening? Was this real? There wasn't some last minute ad or strange twist of the electoral college that would take the victory away? No? Holy Crap. Hope.

And then the news about prop 8 hit. That took the wind out of my sails.

I am deeply saddened by you, California. I really can't believe that you would vote to affirmatively discriminate against a class of people. Shame on all of you.

But you know what? I don't really think you meant it as an affront to the gay community. I think those Mormon ads for yes on 8 probably scared you. I think you were afraid. And I understand that. I'm mostly upset about the Yes campaign for making you afraid for no good reason. Prop 8 had nothing to do with teaching your kid to kiss another kid of the same gender, or whether or not a church would lose its tax exempt status (they seemed to back off of this one after the first ad). It just didn't.

And it was a very strange dichotomy. Watching the ticker go by on the bottom of the TV screen stating that Prop 8 had passed while above the talking heads of the major networks waxed about how the election of the first African American president was a culmination of a long civil rights struggle was just strange.

For those of us who are part or supporters of the gay community, or just against discrimination generally, the war is not over. Legal challenges have been filed, but more importantly, we were REALLY close to defeating this thing.

Think about it. Until Lawrence v. Texas, it was ok for a state to criminalize homosexual activity. And now here we are talking about legalizing same sex marriage. Things are changing, and they are changing quickly. Not quickly enough for my tastes, but the tide is coming in. We are almost there.


Gary W said...

Brittney, you err in saying Mormon ad. I participated personally in supporting 8 and it was through a coalition of groups that included Mormons - There were no ads sponsered by my church, there was no significant monatary participation by the church itself. Church leaders asked us to do what we could to support 8 and we as individual citizens of California did.
We Mormons know about discrimination first hand. It seems confusing to bring it about marriage. Marriage will never be a universal right. Children are not allowed to marry each other. Fathers cannot marry daughters and so on. Marriage in this pluralistic country is a complicated dance between religious beliefs about the nature and sanctity of marriage and the states interest in it to prevent abuse and to foster stable families. Until Jerry Brown mangled the title of proposition 8, it was about protecting the traditional definition of marriage, not about taking anything away. The false impression that there were "rights" for same-sex marriage is a result of the supreme court trying to legislate from the bench in overturning our citizen approved law preserving the traditional definition.
Granting rights, making a drastic change in a fundamental institution of social and religious life is not something to be decided by a few arrogant lawyers in a back room. This is a democracy. We should all have a say in this. Even Mormons and Catholics and all the rest who joined with us to save marriage.
I am proud to have had a small part in what we acheived.
Thank you for the opportunity to say so.

the default attorney said...

The LDS leaders sent a letter to all of their congregations asking for their (financial) support to pass Prop 8. They responded and provided anywhere from 40-80% of the funding for the prop, much more than would be representative of the LDS' numbers in California. That said, I would agree with you that the LDS was not alone in supporting this initiative. Other churches were involved too.

You conflate what your religion recognizes as what is marriage, and what the state should recognize under our constitution. Your example of fathers marrying their own children is inapposite. This is about whether consenting adults should be able to have their relationship recognized by the state, regardless of sexual orientation. A closer analog would be bigamy, a practice some in your church still support.

Invalidating laws that discriminate against historically disenfranchised groups is EXACTLY what the Supreme Court is there to do as caretaker of our state constitution. This is the same court that will protect your religion if under threat by legislative action or popular initiative. They did not make any "drastic change" to anyone's religious life. In their decision, they specifically noted that no religion would have to officiate these marriages or recognize them, that this was purely a matter of the state.

If anyone is being arrogant, it is you sir, because you are imposing your religious view on others who do not share that view by manipulating the laws of our secularstate. Neither you or I should have a say on other peoples' rights under our constitution.

Thanks for your input though.

P.S. I don't know who Brittney is, but I'm a guy.

Anonymous said...

I have a simple question: Why are the Gays ONLY attacking the Mormon Churches?
What about the Catholics and Jews who both heavily participated in this also. Are you only targeting the LDS because they are an easy target? Because you know you would be challenged greatly if you were to act this way against the Catholics or the Jews?! The Mormon church gave a measly $2,400. It was the members of the church who gave a reported $20 million. I don't know how much the gay people raised against this prop, but mostly it was individuals giving money for what they believed in (on both sides). Please respect that people voted on this proposition based on their own beliefs, not based on what people have told them, as gay-marriage or no gay-marriage is fairly easy to understand.

The Gay community is going the wrong way with this. The Mormon church is getting support from many denominations. The Gay community is about to have a fight much bigger than they can grasp. As the Gay community is crying out about discrimination, what do you call them acting this way toward the Mormons? It's hypocritical, it's disturbing, and it's ridiculous! I think they might, just might have more support if they calmed down a bit, and dealt with this another way! You may or may not know, (and I am not Mormon) but the Mormon people are some of the best people you will ever meet. I don't agree with the church, but if they come to my door, I always offer them water, and a place to sit for a while. They are so very family oriented, and will help anyone. Anyone. Gay, Straight, Black, White, Yellow, Orange, Rich, Poor, they don't care. You need help, you call a Mormon, and you'll have a Army supporting you. I'm getting away from the point. The point is: Marriage has always been between a Man, a Woman, AND GOD. The Gay community is basically asking the rest of us take GOD out of marriage by allowing same sex marriage. Which should NEVER, NEVER be allowed.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for equal rights, but not for taking God out of marriage. Register yourselves as domestic partners and fight to make that status legally equal to that of a marriage, but please don't bring church or God into the equation by demanding the title of "married," as marriage is ordained of God.

Anonymous said...

What gives people the right to tell others how to live their lives. Such disrimination is appalling and the church should be ashamed. We are taught to treat all individuals as equal. Marriage is not exclusively ordained by God. Don't get me wrong. I am a Catholic but my parents raised me to respect individuals, their choices, their lives and to treat as equal in all aspects of life. You are all stuck in the past. Move on and grow up. This is the 21st century

Anonymous said...

We are in the 21st Century. We have all equally been given the choice to vote. We voted No on same sex marriage. That was the choice. But it wasn't the answer the Gay community wanted. So, they're targeting they are discriminating against 1 Religion..... which is exactly what they're crying about.

Lizliterarius said...

Marriage licenses issued by the state should be open to any two people who have no familial connection to bar their union. Marriage licenses issued by any church of your choosing can be restricted in any way its elders wish. The Prop 8 fight has been confused by so many as being about denying the sacredness of "marriage" when it's really about the seperation of church and state. My religion is right for me. Your religion is right for you. Marriage as a state recognized insitution needs to be open to all...renaming it won't work. We tried that 'seperate but equal' thing already...remember Brown VS the Board of Education?

A seperate church and state is the lynchstone of our consitution. Let's hope the Supreme Courts remember that as this fight moves on.

lizD said...

In California, domestic partners already have the same legal rights as married partners. This is about changing the name, and thus the culture, not about civil rights.