Turning point in history?

2008 November 6
by Hedon

Well… as the initial excitement of an Obama win starts to sink in… and the feeling of inclusion makes us all feel all warm and fuzzy… the news of Prop 8 winning in California cuts straight through the happy glow. We always expected Arizona’s ban on gay marriage to pass as Arizona is a very conservative state with a lot of retired citizens. Florida wasn’t a surprise either due to the fact that they are also quite elderly and conservative. But California… well… don’t Californians promote themselves as the end-all be-all of equal rights?

I don’t know why it makes me so very angry. I don’t care in the least about getting married. It literally means nothing to me… and yet… I find myself outraged. I find it outrageous that the whole fight against gay couples’ right to marry was billed as a defense of marriage. Defense of marriage? Seriously?

Stace and I have been a couple for sixteen and a half years now. How many marriages do you personally know that have lasted that long? We have lasted through good times and some really rough times because we take our commitment seriously. How is that disrespectful of Marriage? How exactly does our relationship threaten marriage? Threaten your marriage?

I understand that you feel the institution of marriage is worth defending. But what I don’t understand is your manner of going about it. I mean if you want to defend marriage wouldn’t you think addressing the divorce rate might be where you should focus? The fact is that an estimated 50% of marriages end in divorce. Doesn’t that seem to be a direct attack on marriage? Why aren’t you working against divorce instead of working against gay marriages?

I’ll tell you why. You aren’t really concerned about defending the institution of marriage… you’re concerned about defending your right to be the only group of people who are entitled to that privilege. I think the thing that pisses me off more than anything else is that it appears to be the African American vote that killed this equal right for gays and lesbians. Here’s a quote from a Time article on Yahoo:

Polls show that black voters are more likely to attend church than whites and less likely to be comfortable with equality for gay people. According to CNN, African Americans voted against marriage equality by a wide margin, 69% to 31%. High turnout of African Americans in Florida probably help explain that state’s lopsided vote to ban same-sex weddings.

So at the same time that they were crying in the streets over this historic election… The same day they walked into a polling place and voted for the first time in history to send a black man to the white house… The same day they danced in the streets and praised Jesus that discrimination might finally be ending in America… That very same day they voted to deny me the basic human right to marry the person I love.

Gay people were overwhelmingly denied the right to marry by the same segment of society that coined the phrase “baby’s momma.” Seriously? How dare you? How do you have the balls? How is it you don’t see that all of your arguments against gay people are the same things bigoted white folk said about extending civil rights to black people 60 years ago?

I guess I’m just a little torn as to whether November 4th was really a turning point in American history… for me.

8 Responses
  1. 2008 November 6

    Yes, Prop 8 was a total insult. I suspect that laying the blame at the feet of blacks is overstated, though. I understand it was also heavily backed by the Moron, er, Mormon church those upright religious zealots who still have polygamous marriage as part of their holy Doctrine and Covenants, the “official” rule book of their cult.

    The religious fanatics still seek to control this country – and getting Obama elected is the only path I see to getting this settled (by the Supreme Court I would think) permanently will be up to him and his picks for the court. Same way abortion was finally legalized in 1972 with Roe v. Wade.

    So disappointing that CA passed Prop 8. But the first lawsuit has been filed and it will be overturned. The last gasp of the fundies that would turn this country into a Christian version of any 3rd world backwater with (no) liberty or justice for anyone they don’t agree with.

    BTW, your relationship has lasted longer than any of my three marriages…as have many other gay relationships I have seen. But everyone deserves to marry the person they love and religion doesn’t own that word. Arrggghhhh I share your frustration.

  2. 2008 November 6

    Decorina,

    I agree that the crazy conservative church community… specifically the Mormon Church… is primarily responsible for Prop 8 passing. I don’t care what the religious kooks think about me. I don’t really even blame them much because I’ve never known them to think for themselves. I mean many of the seriously fundamentalist church people think dinosaurs are fake… it’s hard to be offended by someone that thinks we never landed on the moon.

    I didn’t mean to suggest that the Black Community was completely responsible for Prop 8 passing… or even that they were primarily responsible. But they did vote against my human rights in overwhelming numbers. At least I think 69% is a pretty overwhelming margin. I guess it just hurts more when it’s the black community voting to treat you like a second class citizen. Probably because I feel the irony of their position so strongly.

    Around 200 years ago preachers stood in pulpits all over this country and insisted that the bible was perfectly cool with slavery. Preachers insisted — from the pulpit — that the bible said that blacks weren’t “real humans” and therefore weren’t entitled to basic human rights. After 200 years of struggle against such ridiculous backwards nonsense… we just went to the polls this week and elected a black man President of the United States.

    As a person that has never been even slightly racist… a big part of me wants to celebrate this victory. But at the same time… I keep hearing religious black folk talking about how Jesus thinks homosexuality is an abomination. I mean how can they not see the irony? How do you stand in a voting booth and vote to deny gay people the right to marry — based on what your preacher told you — when you wouldn’t even have the right to vote if preachers 200 years ago had had their way. How do you have the balls to do it?

    Obviously this isn’t directed at you, Decorina. I’m just pretty pissed that the same group I’ve always supported is screwing me so blatantly… and walking around feeling sanctimonious about doing it.

  3. 2008 November 7

    I completely understand, Hedon. It is just that there are so few black people in California…I just couldn’t get past the numbers. An added irony is that the bigots who passed the law would LOVE to lay blame at the feet of black people so that once again THEY don’t have to be responsible.

    A woman at the Daily Kos (she is black I think) crunched the numbers for us and pretty conclusively proves that, in fact, it wasn’t the black voters that were responsible. You can read the article (if you don’t drown in all the statistics as I almost did) here: http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2008/11/7/34645/1235/704/656272 But when did the religious right start taking responsibility for their own actions? I was in California 2 weeks ago and the ads on tv were just awful.

    So you’re right – the state that gave us Ronnie Raygun and the John Birch Society have once again rallied their “base” the haters and the bigots.

    Their days are limited. Just as the true racists and bigots thought that they would be able to die without seeing a (1/2) black man elected as president, they will also see marriages based on love instead of fear.

    I saw a bumper sticker this morning that said: “When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will see peace”. As more and more people see gays in their families, live next door to them, work with them and live with them the acceptance of gay people will finally triumph hatred and narrow minds.

    For me the true irony is seeing the religious zealots blame black people for Prop 8 passing.

  4. 2008 November 7

    I was shocked when prop 8 didn’t pass and I’m in Ohio. WTF is up with this? What’s the BFD about letting gay people enjoy the same benefits in life as married people? It’s so damn stupid.

    It is so completely unamerican. Maybe now that this country has finally elected a black man to the highest office, maybe that means we are somehow evolving as a nation. Maybe the next go around for the gay population will get to experience their own joy in the next election.

  5. 2008 November 7

    I just don’t understand or agree with the arguments against allowing gay marriage. It’s not like heteros hold marriage as sacred (divorce rates, affairs, abuse). Hell, my sis and her partner have been together longer than I was married. Sure, they had a commitment ceremony, but it’s not the same as legal marriage and I truly believe it should be an individual choice whether to marry, not a question of legality. It’s sad.

  6. 2008 November 8

    I don’t think anyone could seriously argue that the black community would be capable of Passing Prop 8 on their own. I certainly don’t think they are responsible for it passing.

    I did read the link Decorina posted and thought it was interesting… in part because I didn’t know any other gays or lesbians were feeling bitter about the situation. I read her entire post and I see what she’s trying to say and I’m not going to fight her numbers.

    Her basic premise was that there simply aren’t enough black people in CA to make Prop 8 pass. That’s cool… I’m not saying they did it on their own, and I understand that she wants to downplay their impact on the results. But they did vote for 8 in overwhelming numbers. That’s not something she can argue. And it’s all the more galling when it’s a group that should be against discrimination of any sort voting against you.

    I think we all know it was the churches who are behind this whole movement against gays and lesbians. Especially the Mormon church. You know in Missouri there was an executive order issued in 1838 that called for all Mormons to be exterminated or expelled from the state. By the end of 1839 almost all Mormons had been run out of Missouri or killed. This executive order was only officially rescinded in 1976.

    Really both Mormons and African Americans should know better cause they’ve both been there themselves. It’s kinda the same way I felt when I was a kid and saw women who were racist… what the hell? I mean you don’t get paid what you deserve simply because you’re a woman. When I was still quite young a woman couldn’t even get a hysterectomy without her husband’s approval.

    After living with that sort of bullshit you are going to treat someone else badly based on something as stupid as skin color? Seriously? Sometimes I think some people just need someone to discriminate against and it doesn’t matter much who it is. Maybe I should just feel honored to be the flavor of the day.

  7. 2008 November 8

    Let’s hear it for President-Elect Obama… here is a quote from a speach he gave at Ebenezer Baptist Church:

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    We are told that those who differ from us on a few things are different from us on all things; that our problems are the fault of those who don’t think like us or look like us or come from where we do. The welfare queen is taking our tax money. The immigrant is taking our jobs. The believer condemns the non-believer as immoral, and the non-believer chides the believer as intolerant.

    For most of this country’s history, we in the African-American community have been at the receiving end of man’s inhumanity to man. And all of us understand intimately the insidious role that race still sometimes plays – on the job, in the schools, in our health care system, and in our criminal justice system.

    And yet, if we are honest with ourselves, we must admit that none of our hands are entirely clean. If we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll acknowledge that our own community has not always been true to [Dr.] King’s vision of a beloved community.

    We have scorned our gay brothers and sisters instead of embracing them. The scourge of anti-Semitism has, at times, revealed itself in our community. For too long, some of us have seen immigrants as competitors for jobs instead of companions in the fight for opportunity.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Maybe there’s hope for all of us yet.

  8. 2008 November 8

    Great post Hedon. I believe it is only a matter of time before the discrimination against gays is history. It is about civil rights and equal protection; it is about the constitution. In our past groups have thought that “separate but equal” i.e. marriage v civil unions was a dandy idea. This too will be defeated.

    It takes a “big stupid” such as Prop 8 passing for the people to rise up and say ENOUGH. Maybe the reason it passed is that it will become Rosa Parks on the bus or the march on Montgomery or any number of events that finally brought down institutionalized racism for civil rights.

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