Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Point eight, worth its own post

California's Proposition 8, more appropriately called by its opponents Proposition Hate, has passed.

This is a tragedy as well as a bit of a surprise: Back in July, I noted that a poll had the measure trailing and that most ballot issues lose support over time. This one, however, gained support, due in no small measure to the massive amounts of money and huge piles of lies poured into the effort.

Lies? Oh, yeah, how about that
the Proposition 8 campaign also seized on the issue of education, arguing in a series of advertisements and mailers that children would be subjected to a pro-gay curriculum if the measure was not approved.
What's more, that same article noted that
[r]esearch and polling showed that many voters were against gay marriage but afraid that saying so would make them seem "discriminatory" or "not cool," said [campaign strategist Jeff] Flint, so proponents hoped to show them they were not alone.
That is, they went around convincing people that it's okay to be a fucking bigot.

The editorial board of the Los Angeles Times said that
the scare stories advertised by the campaign [are] not only are full of untruths and half-truths, but they don't have anything to do with same-sex marriage itself.
Supporters even did robocalls featuring the voice of Barack Obama expressing his opposition to same-sex marriage - without, of course, regard to the fact that while Obama is against same-sex marriage, he was also against Prop Hate. But it didn't matter. Neither truth nor justice mattered, only imposing their own twisted, narrow-minded views of love, marriage, companionship, and family onto everyone else.

I find it hard to express how depressing this is, especially since it was just one of four such defeats on election day. Besides California, Arizona and Florida also adopted amendments to their state constitutions banning same-sex marriage - and unlike California, even so-called "civil unions" are not options there. Arkansas, which already bans same-sex marriage, has gone even further:
Voters passed a measure banning unmarried couples living together from serving as adoptive or foster parents,
a measure proponents openly avowed was aimed at same-sex couples, framing it as a "battle against a 'gay agenda.'"

Getting back to Prop Hate, opponents were actually concerned that Obama's success in California spelled trouble for them: A lot of blacks and Hispanics, and particularly among the black churches, are actually culturally conservative and are more strongly opposed to gay rights than even a fair number of GOPpers. A strong turnout in minority communities also meant a strong turnout for the measure's supporters. And in fact a heavy majority of blacks supported the measure - while a small majority of whites opposed it.

No, it is not necessary to be white or older or a Republican or whatever to be a bigot. It is only necessary to surrender your ability to make decisions on social or ethical matters to some pre-determined authority, be that authority government or "tradition" or god. I have met people - I'm thinking of one guy in particular I used to work with - who you would think of as (and were) real rightwingers but who had that libertarian streak that lead them to say (as that one guy did) in regard to same-sex marriage, "What do I care if they get married? No skin off my nose."

But as I said on Saturday, once you invoke the authority of the Bible, once you have declared "god said," you don't leave room for discussion.

Some day, some day, we as a nation will look back on this sexual preference witchhunt with the same vague sense of shame that we now feel about Jim Crow laws and, speaking of witchhunts, the Salem witch trials. And that day will come: Those over 65 supported the amendment but those 18-29 rejected it. So yes, that day will come. Unhappily, that day is not today. It is not today and it will not be tomorrow. But it will be that day, some day.

Footnote: Prop Hate faces three lawsuits challenging the measure on the grounds that it's not a proper amendment. Apparently, in California anything that changes a fundamental principle of the state constitution must be approved by the legislature before it goes to the public - and, opponents say, since this amendment strips away an existing right from an identifiable group of people, it runs against the fundamental principle of equal treatment under the law. Legal experts say it's a long shot, but it might tie up the amendment in the courts for some time.

Another Footnote: I feel obligated to say that being a believer does not mean you are a bigot. For example, Rt. Rev. Marc Andrus, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of California, issued a statement opposing Proposition Hate which referred to a "shift in consciousness," including about same-sex marriage, that is "a move towards the good." Being religious doesn't make you a bigot. Being a bigot makes you a bigot.

No comments:

// I Support The Occupy Movement : banner and script by @jeffcouturer / (v1.2) document.write('
I support the OCCUPY movement
');function occupySwap(whichState){if(whichState==1){document.getElementById('occupyimg').src=""}else{document.getElementById('occupyimg').src=""}} document.write('');