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Mon

10

Nov

2008

America Voted for Equality and Discrimination
Monday, 10 November 2008 19:23
by Mel Seesholtz, Ph.D.

The country was elated by the victory of Barack Obama, but for many the celebration was dampened by the other “victory.”

It's still difficult to believe. I expected Florida and McCain's Arizona to write discrimination into their state constitutions by passing amendments that excluded gay and lesbian citizens from the state-sanctioned civil institution called “marriage.” But surely California would vote down Proposition 8 that eliminated an existing civil right

ELIMINATES RIGHT OF SAME–SEX COUPLES TO MARRY.  INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT

Changes the California Constitution to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry in California.

Provides that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.

Summary of Legislative Analyst's Estimate of Net State and Local Government Fiscal Impact:

Over the next few years, potential revenue loss, mainly from sales taxes, totaling in the several tens of millions of dollars, to state and local governments.

In the long run, likely little fiscal impact on state and local governments.
I was wrong. Proposition 8 passed: 52 percent to 48 percent. Those who celebrated legal discrimination made the same inane statements
“This has been a moral battle,” said Ellen Smedley, 34, a member of the Mormon Church and a mother of five who worked on the campaign. “We aren't trying to change anything that homosexual couples believe or want – it [Prop. 8] doesn't change anything that they're allowed to do already. It's defining marriage. … Marriage is a man and a woman establishing a family unit.”

“A moral battle”? What's moral about civil discrimination and intentionally hurting other people and their families?

Ms. Smedley's secretive and strange Mormon Church was a major contributor to the “Yes on 8” campaign, as The New York Times noted: “The most notable defeat for fairness was in California, where right-wing forces led by the Mormon Church poured tens of millions of dollars into the campaign for Proposition 8 – a measure to enshrine bigotry in the state's Constitution by preventing people of the same sex from marrying.”

Ms. Smedley claimed, “We aren't trying to change anything that homosexual couples believe or want – it [Prop/ 8] doesn't change anything that they're allowed to do already. It's defining marriage. … Marriage is a man and a woman establishing a family unit.”

How could anyone with a conscience – and even a marginal grasp of reality – make such a statement? The sole purpose of Proposition 8 was to change what same-sex couples are “allowed to do” in California. And “establishing a family unit” is precisely what gay and lesbian couples do when they marry. Case in point:

John Lewis, 50, and Stuart Gaffney, 46, who were married in June. They were at the San Francisco party holding a little sign in the shape of pink heart that said, “John and Stuart 21 years.” They spent the day campaigning against Proposition 8 with family members across the Bay Area.


“Our relationship, our marriage, after 21 years together has been put up for a popular vote,” Lewis said. “We have done what anyone would do in this situation: stand up for our family.”


But in California, Florida and Arizona, gay people and their families were told that they're all irrelevant non-entities unworthy of equal rights. In California, those families include 53,000 children. This writer's story made the point, not in abstract terms, but in terms of real people, real families, and real lives:

We're having a really nice bit of close quiet time, walking close, holding hands and pushing the babies along in their stroller, when we met a group of young men, maybe 6 or 7 of them, approaching us from the other direction. They were being a little loud with each other and horse playing about with one another but Debbie and I really didn't think they were any kind of a threat; after all there were so many other good people out as with us, we felt safe.

As we met on the pathway, I could see one of these men was drinking a fountain drink in a large plastic cup and as we passed, he sudden shouted at us “fuckin Dykes” and threw his drink all over the babies, Debbie and me.

At first I was in shock, our twins were about six months old at the time and I was worried that the girls might be hurt. Fortunately all that had happen was they were covered in what I think was Mountain Dew. But they were frightened and crying.

And as I cleaned them up, I had tears in my eyes, mad tears, scared tears, embarrassed tears, hurt tears. I really can't even begin to tell you the emotions I was feeling at that moment, I wanted to kick that guys ass for doing that to my children, but couldn't.

I wanted someone to give me justice and what really struck the most was that no one stopped to even ask if we needed any help. Many good people out that evening had seen what had happened, and it seemed to me like they thought some how we deserved what had happened to us. …

But somehow this morning, in all of the post election celebrations of Barack Obama's election win, I feel like I did that evening in Virginia Beach in April 07.

In this election good people looked the other way as LGBT rights were stripped away in California, Arizona, Florida and Arkansas. [link added]

But there were many “good people” who did support the fight for equal civil rights. Julie Phineas, a Southern California work at home mom of two, spoke for the entire LGBT community when she said “Thank You”:

These past months were hell for the LGBT community.

No matter where you live the ballot measures up for vote this past Election Day have an effect. At this time, we are thrilled at all the support we have received from supporters and I really want to say a BIG THANK YOU to all of our straight friends and family. I know it's not always easy to stand up for what you believe in, but those that stood by our side, protested with us, shared their voice for equality and cast their vote against bigotry made a huge step in showing our community that we are not alone in our Pursuit for Equality. We still have a long way to go, the fight is far from over, and justice will prevail.

Thank You For Your Support.

James Dobson (Focus on the Family), Don Wildmon (American Family Association), Tony Perkins (Family Research Council) and the rest of the leaders of the theofascist Christian Right initially chirped about how they had “protected marriage” by excluding same-sex couples who believe in that civil institution, but their silence in the days that have followed suggests they realize that they've ignited Stonewall: The Sequel, especially after the ludicrous “defense” offered by the Catholic Church and the Mormon Church for their financial and manpower support of Proposition 8:

The Roman Catholic Church and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints insisted Thursday [November 6, 2008] that their support for a proposition to ban same-sex marriage in California did not target any group.


“Did not target any group”? Are they kidding?

A spokesman for the Catholic Church, Cardinal Roger Mahony, archbishop of the Diocese of Los Angeles, went on to say, “Proposition 8 is not against any group in our society. Its sole focus is on preserving God's plan for people living upon this earth throughout time.”

That anyone – and especially the Catholic Church that has more skeletons in its closet and more blood on its hands than any institution in human history – knows “God's plan” is the ultimate hypocrisy and blasphemy.

And what did the Mormons have to say?

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, based in Salt Lake City, Utah, carried out a vigorous campaign to get the proposition passed. Many Mormons traveled to California and made phone calls to Californians to elicit their backing.


“It is important to understand that this issue for the Church has always been about the sacred and divine institution of marriage: a union between a man and a woman,” the church said in a statement.


The same blasphemy and even more insidious hypocrisy in that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints once sanctioned polygamy, as several of its more fundamentalist sects still do.

In the nightmare of the Bush administration, the Jeffersonian wall between church and state was all but demolished. It's time to rebuild it, and cement the brick with common sense and reason:

What now?

What now is that it is time to put an end to this farce. It is time to stop taking this to individual state courts, but to take this all the way to the top court in the land. It is time we stop arguing that this is about our Civil Rights and start arguing that this is about our Religious Rights. It is time we start to attack this as being about our Freedom OF and FROM Religion.

If marriage is a sacred rite, than it is not for the Government to say ‘yes' or ‘no' on who should get married.

If marriage is a sacred rite, then the Government should set no rights aside for those who seek to get married.

If marriage is a sacred rite, then only the Church should be allowed to grant and dissolve marriages.

If marriage is not a sacred rite, but a civil right, then the Government should define it as broadly as possible.

If marriage is not a sacred rite, but a civil right, then the Government must allow for all forms of marriage to be allowed so long as they have a basis in culture and society.

If marriage is not a sacred rite, but a civil right, then all religious views of what marriage is should be allowed. …

It is time to boycott those businesses that supported any and all of these propositions and amendments. It is time to support those who supported us.

What happens today?

We march on.
No one was more eloquent in expressing what the LGBT community felt following the passage of Prop. 8 – as well as the community's new sense of solidarity and determination – than Shahan Sanossian, a 32 year-old gay man living in Los Angeles. I hope you will read his words… and understand.

And then read these words from Wayne Besen. He poses the most salient question and states the obvious:

What kind of nation let's a majority of citizens vote on the most basic rights of a minority? Perhaps, we should drive this point home in the next election cycle by sponsoring ballot initiatives that ban Mormon marriage or Evangelical marriage. We could air millions of dollars of ads discussing polygamy or snake handling in churches. I think these bullies would be shocked to learn that they are not much more popular than we are in a beauty contest of belittlement.

What disgusts me is that $70 million has been spent on the California marriage battle. It is a fight that, in the end, will not impact a single heterosexual marriage, and this is proven by the fact gay people have already been marrying in California for five months – and the world has not ended.

When one thinks of all the orphans that could have been fed with the money used to attack gay families, it is hard to consider our opponents real Christians. Their priorities are so misplaced and skewed that it is appalling. The only things they genuinely seem to worship are political power and discrimination.

The fight for equality continues in a new America, with a new president and a renewed sense that fundamental change is possible, that all Americans must be treated equally, and that those who use religion to justify bigotry and discrimination are anachronisms and destined for the dustbin of history where they will join those who thumped their Bibles and claimed “God” decreed black people to be inferior and interracial marriage to be an abomination.
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Freddy Percury said:

0
LoveN IT
http://www.cafepress.com/NoTime2H8
This is great support gear for straights and gays alike. Fight the power.
 
November 10, 2008
Votes: -2

Just me said:

0
Values
It's all about values. I love it when some group feels their values are impacted, so they call others hateful names and point all the bad history or bad. Just move on. The folks in California spoke ones, didn't agree with their judges, and spoke again. It's simply democracy. If enough gays move to California, vote again. It is what it is. Move on.
 
November 10, 2008
Votes: +0

Lee Luttrell said:

0
Where are the Christians?
Gay marriage, abortion, pharmacist selling abortion pills, abortion mills and their doctors and pornography are all perfect examples of why Christians and Non-Christians should not live together. Christianity is Divisive, always has been. This is a failure of American Christianity and the Churches. Christianity is lost in America, and some people need to realize that. Everytime you hear someone say "God Bless America" ask yourself...what god are they talking about?
 
November 14, 2008
Votes: +0

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