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Please note, this post was originally written and scheduled prior to Proposition 8 being passed, hence the speculative tone.

Lori has a great post up at Let’s Gab. She’s talking about Proposition 8, which apparently seeks to overturn a ruling in California last year by the Supreme Court, which made it illegal to discriminate against couples wanting to get married, on the basis of sex.

Basically, the proposition wants to ban gay marriages.

For the life of me, I can’t understand why two people who wish to stand up and announce their commitment to one another in a formal setting, cannot do so.

I can’t imagine not being able to marry the person that I love, because my sexual orientation was deemed to be unacceptable in the eyes of the law. It’s like somebody telling me that I can’t get married because I’m black. I mean, really, what’s the difference?

Heterosexual couples have been making a mockery of marriage for hundreds of years, and at a time when the divorce rate is so high, both over here in England, and in the US, you’ll never convince me that allowing same sex couples to get married, will be the catalyst that leads to the end of civilisation as we know it.

This proposition is apparently based on religious beliefs, which serves to enrage me even more. Whatever happened to the separation of church and state?

I’m a hater of organised religion, as my regulars will know, and it’s crap like this that convinces me that religion is at the root of most evils in this world.

Marriage is a right, that everybody, regardless of their sexual orientation should be afforded.

I seem to recall that it wasn’t that long ago that blacks couldn’t marry whites, and I really don’t see how this kind of discrimination is any different from those miserable days of widespread intolerance and hatred.

If I lived in California, I would definitely say no to Proposition 8.

N.B. Well, as we know, the arseholes won, and it makes me wonder at the people who saw the above advert, and still decided to vote ‘yes’.


  • Emmy
    November 9
    10:57 am

    I’m all for equal opportunity unhappiness. Anyone who wants to get married should be able to. Gay, straight, two guys and a girl, two girls and a guy, a commune of 10 people, whatevs.


  • This bothers me, too. We have freedom of religion in the US, but as far as some in government are concerned, and a good portion of our citizens, it’s OK to have freedom of religion, so long as it’s a brand of Christianity. THen they force the beliefs within their religion on everyone else. It’s bullshit.


  • Elf
    November 9
    12:55 pm

    Agreed. This decision was the blot on my happiness post-election.
    The problem is that politics has (tacitly or explicitly) allowed a dominant religious group to believe that their religious beliefs must hold sway in America, lest we lose (their)-God’s protection. Why? To get votes. To form a political coalition.
    Although I don’t remember the exact situation (date/location), I recall a quote from a prayer at a political event that warned that a vote for a certain man would allow *other* people’s ‘gods’ (i.e. buddhism and islam) to mock America’s patron Christian god, and that was just not to be tolerated. Say what?!
    The thing that gets me is the fear. It’s the politics of fear, the religion of fear. Why did people vote for Prop 8? They were afraid that ‘their’ marriages would mean less, or be damaged. They were afraid that gay people would recruit their six-year-olds (always an old chestnut). There’s so little introspection happening, just knee-jerk fear. And there’s little reasoning with fear, and in many cases with organized religion, fear is a tool to keep the masses on the straight and narrow. Always a subtext of “or else.”
    Let’s say gays are allowed to marry… what happens? How does this injure heterosexual marriage again? How does one person having something preclude another person from having it as well? Marriage isn’t a limited commodity.
    Children with “two dads” will exist whether there is gay marriage or not (assuming gay cohabitation isn’t outlawed in some way). A parent’s obligation to explain that there is a whole wide world outside the home remains.
    I have yet to hear an argument how gay marriage would truly harm any heterosexual marriage. (And no, arguing that it opens the door to bestiality isn’t an argument, it’s fear-mongering.) Everything I hear comes down to “I don’t believe it’s right [because of my religion].” I don’t hear how that affects the religious, as they are not being called upon to engage in gay marriage themselves. Homosexuality will still exist. Other religions will still exist. Your beliefs end where another person’s beliefs begin – you can’t (or shouldn’t) legislate belief.
    I truly believe in the founding fathers’ understanding that the majority should not be allowed to marginalize a minority groups’ rights. I dearly hope that Prop 8 will be overturned on this basis.
    /end soapbox.


  • Emmy
    November 9
    1:22 pm

    Let’s say gays are allowed to marry… what happens?

    Refer to my earlier comment, lol. I was making jokes because I don’t agree, but that’s one of the slippery slope arguments put forth by proponents against gay marriage.

    If gay people can get married, why not polyamourous groups… or whatever other combination of people and/or animals? If discrimination is wrong for one group of people, it has to be wrong for everyone. Some politicians aren’t willing to draw the line in any particular place, so they go with what’s traditional.


  • Sparky
    November 9
    1:30 pm

    Hatred and bigotry are horrendously powerful force – and its made worse with homophobia because the support of organised religion makes it publicly ACCEPTABLE bigotry. The churches act as ringleaders, cheerleaders, financiers and preachers for hate and prejudice – spreading it far and wide and giving hatred legitimate status. What an amazing message Jesus apparently has for us.

    With these amendments you have entire states legally declaring that prejudice against gays is ok. You have states confirming in their most fundamental documents that homophobia is good. You have entire states declaring that gays are inferior, worthy of less rights, lesser people to heterosexuals. They enshrined second class citizen status in their constitutions.

    I cannot express how disguting that is or my utter contempt for the vile bigots who voted for these measures (or my horror at their numbers) and my rage at the churches that continue to attack and persecute gay people. Bigotry is still bigotry when you dress it in Bible verse.


  • Stephi
    November 9
    2:30 pm

    I really don’t know how I feel about this. I was brought up in a very strict Baptist home but no one ever mentioned anyone being evil because of orientation. I have male and female friends that are gay. We’ve never talked about it. I had a straight friend who didn’t want gay people to marry because SO got insurance where her boyfriend worked. She feared that if gay people were allowed to marry they would no longer have to give benefits to SO. She was worried the “my baby’s mamas” would suddenly lose out.

    I don’t live in CA, so the right to marry has never been brought into my thinking. There are some things that just never crossed my mind to talk about. Perhaps I considered it taboo and didn’t realize.


  • I just get so tired of hearing the lies. Like, If they get the right to have marriage certificates and call themselves married they could sue our church or force us to marry them or they might corrupt our children etc etc etc. Nothing says that, no one ever wanted that, where does all that hate come from?

    I am also tired of hearing that I was not born this way or I choose to be this sinful person or it’s just a lifestyle I wanted. That goes right up there with Pat Buchanan, Jerry Falwell and Gay people deserve to die from AIDS as God’s punishment on them.

    How would anyone want to hang with that crowd?

    When did it become OK to say that ONLY those who follow their specific definition of “God’s Law” deserve equality under the law? When did people become so narrow minded to think that Civil Rights should only be for the Righteous or only certain preassigned minorities?


  • Fear and ignorance preached from the pulpit in churches. And the faithful drink it down like Koolaid. Because it’s couched in religion, it’s the gospel and therefore it must be true–it must be followed–and it must be voted on that way. It’s the way this country has been for several years. There has been no separation of church and state. We’ve been governed by religion.

    Hopefully that stops come January 20th.

    I believe in everyone’s right to practice their faith as they see fit. I do not believe in being governed by someone’s religious beliefs. I believe in the sanctity of marriage, which should be two people who love each other and are committed to each other. Sexual orientation shouldn’t be a factor whatsoever.

    *sigh* When did it become government’s business who people love?


  • Marianne McA
    November 9
    5:31 pm

    Full disclosure: I’m a Christian.

    I think it is simplistic to say the churches make people homophobic. My personal perception is that people bring their biases to their religion, emphasise those parts of scripture that appear to confirm their bias, and then claim scriptural authority for their viewpoint.

    For instance, when my aunt wanted to marry my uncle, it was next to impossible to find a minister who would do it, because he was divorced.
    The Bible verses that talk about divorce haven’t changed in the last 40 years: but in a society where divorce is common rather than scandalous, they are read differently.

    When I was a child it was regularly taught in Protestant churches in N.Ireland that Catholics weren’t properly Christian: again, certain verses were interpreted to show this.
    Society has become less sectarian – I haven’t heard that interpretation of scripture in years.

    So, I would expect that if the churches are preaching that women should be subordinate to men, that the society they draw their members from is sexist.
    If they are saying the bible prohibits inter-racial marriage, I would expect society in general to be racist.
    If they are saying the Bible teaches that we must take care of the planet, and it’s resources, I’d expect message to reflect concerns of society at large.

    My suggestion would be that the churches don’t cause homophobia in society, but that a homophobic society will cause, in some sense, homophobic interpretations of scripture. I don’t mean that individuals consciously set out to do this: but if you’re reading a text you interpret and understand it in the context of the world in which you live.

    I’m not defending any of this: the Church should absolutely not be doing that – it’s job is to be counter-cultural, and to stand up against prejudice and hatred.

    But I think that if every believer simultaneously had a Dawkins moment and rejected religion, that alone wouldn’t create some Utopian society.

    And I would bet that when society at large accepts gay people, you won’t find the church teaching something different.


  • Marianne, what a great post. I, too, am religious (I’m Catholic, and yes, I’ve been told I’m not really “Christian” by various people who come to my door…though not the people who came yesterday. They smiled and left, which was a very nice change-o-pace.)

    In Florida, we also passed a gay marriage ban. I have to be honest and say I was only vaguely aware that it was going to be on the ballot at all–and there certainly wasn’t any discussion of it at church. It was very low key in my area. All the talk was focused on the presidential election and I heard next to nothing about all the propositions.

    I knew enough ahead of time to know I would vote against the ban simply because I really don’t want government in my or anyone else’s love life. But I honestly think that the groups who DIDN’T want the ban dropped the ball in educating voters or building up any real controversy.


  • I was sooooo disappointed to hear that Prop 8 passed. It is just beyond my comprehension that people have an issue with legalizing gay marriage. Who does it hurt? Really? I don’t understand and certainly don’t see MY marriage as being worth any less. In fact, I’m more than happy to see consenting adults affirm their committment in the traditional way. The more, the merrier!

    It just sickens me that those with such stupid ideas won the day, both in CA and the other states in which the matter was voted on.


  • Robin
    November 9
    5:46 pm

    As someone who watched the campaign unfold over the months, I was not optimistic for Prop 8 for a number of reasons.

    Contrary to what people think, the No on 8 campaign actually had a lot of funding, but I think that after the California Supreme Court decision, and the polling that occurred right afterward, there was a false sense of security around gay marriage rights.

    And then the Yes on 8 people started a very aggressive television advertising campaign that distorted the entire issue, expressed patent untruths, and fed the ugliest, basest fears. The No folks were slow to start their public campaign, and the Yes folks got a BIG head start in terms of framing the issue, which they did, in the worst possible way. The No side was already in reaction mode, trying to counter assertions made by the Yes side, rather than being able to take the lead in making people understand that Prop 8 was not about gay marriage, per se, but about due process rights and Constitutional equality (and the same kind of discrimination that led to miscegenation bans and the like).

    The day after the election Willie Brown was interviewed, and he said that the same strategy that helped Obama win — canvassing neighborhoods and talking to people one on one — was used extensively by the Yes on 8 people, which Brown believed to be the key to 8’s success. Also, keep in mind that both Obama and McCain came out against gay marriage, even though Obama belatedly expressed a no endorsement on Prop 8. The problem with trying to tag a certain group as responsible is really impossible, IMO, because of the proportion of voting population relative to the state. Yes it’s true that Black and Latino voters favored the ban (whites narrowly opposed it), but Blacks don’t make up a majority of voters in the state by any stretch (nor do Latinos). So white voters probably got this thing passed if you look at pure numbers of votes, even though their majority vote was against Prop 8 and the majorities of Black and Latino voters were on yes. Which is why it’s futile, IMO, to talk about this vote in terms of racial differences.

    It is a sick and sad thing to expect people to anticipate all the base fear mongering that will be perpetrated against them, but in this case, it may have made a substantial difference if the No on 8 people had gotten out of the campaign gate first and tried to head off the attacks with their own frame on the issue. I tried to explain to everyone I could why 8 was bad law no matter your personal beliefs about gay marriage, and I know that many people did not understand exactly what was at stake in that vote. They didn’t understand the constitutional issues, they did not understand the concept of due process rights and why Prop 8 negatively affects ALL people, not just gay people (not that such a thing should be a determining factor, but for many it is). And who knows the effect of the corporate targeting the Yes on 8 people did. While we heard of numerous large donations to the No side right after the Yes letters to corporations were revealed, it was mere weeks before the election, after all the ugly Yes ads had aired in constant rotation.

    One other thing that makes me nuts about this issue is the way marriage is seen as a religious contract and not a civil contract. That people need a license from the state to get married demonstrates that it is a *civil contract* and yet we require that people either have some legal or religious training to perform weddings. That it’s judges and ministers (and ship captains, but that’s a whole different deal, lol) who can perform ceremonies says a lot about how enmeshed the civil and religious issues on marriage are (how UNseparate church and State are here), and how problematic that becomes when address issues related to marriage. IMO most people who voted Yes on 8 were focused on the religious aspect of marriage, not on the legal aspect. And that may have prevailed no matter what, but I do think many votes were made in pure ignorance of the legal issues, which allowed the religious issues to win without an understanding of what else was at stake.


  • Robin
    November 9
    6:19 pm

    I was not optimistic for Prop 8

    I should have clarified that here I meant I wasn’t optimistic for Prop 8’s *failure* — which brings up another whole problem, which is the yes/no dichotomy on many of these props. Many of these propositions are written such that a no vote is counter-intuitive even though that’s the vote you want to make. And “duh” that’s part of the game, I know, but I wonder how many people vote the wrong way because they unconsciously flip it, and because the language of the propositions is usually so convoluted that it’s difficult to know what the hell you’re voting on.


  • Too many effing people and organizations wanting to impose their fears, religious beliefs, and so-called “morality” on everyone.
    This infuriates me, especially in light of what I considered the “progress” we made on November 4th.
    People should have the right to marry anyone they damn well want to without government interference in their bedrooms or personal business.
    It’s love and commitment between two consenting adults. Period.


  • Jenns
    November 9
    8:09 pm

    I live in California. I believe in equal rights. I voted a great big no.
    I will never forget the joy of hearing that Obama had won, the wonderful and unique moment of history we stood in.
    I will also never forget changing the channel to a local station after that, and learning that Prop 8 was almost certainly going to pass.
    As someone I know has put it, “It’s amazing to see how far we’ve come in some ways, and how far we have to go in others.”


  • Two things:

    First, separation of church and state in the US is more of a myth at present than anything else. It may be the letter and spirit of the law, but that law has been used as toilet paper in recent years. The trend, mind, didn’t start with the current asshole prez, he just gave it more and more rope as he took away civil rights (unpatriot act, anyone?)

    Second, I’m looking forward to the next appointments to the Supreme Court, because I have a feeling things regarding gay marriage and equal rights for EVERYone will come to ahead in the next ten years TOPS (hopefully earlier than that)

    Bonus thought: if five or three or seventeen ADULT people want to marry, with all the legal rights that implies? (medical decisions, property rights, custody rights, etc) By all means, let them.


  • Alisha Rai
    November 9
    9:57 pm

    That’s a great ad. Was it exclusively Youtube or on TV as well? I wish we had seen more of those in Florida. Alas, the Yes on Prop 2 people did campaign far more heavily. I remember being parked behind a van a couple of months ago with Yes on Prop 2 bumper sticker, and not having any idea what it stood for.

    Meanwhile, never saw any huge propaganda for the No side, beyond word of mouth and some small print pieces. What a shame. Never actually thought it would pass.


  • joanne
    November 9
    10:12 pm

    Not that we don’t already know this, but don’t look to the Republican Party for any help on equal marriage rights.

    GOP leader: Rebuild party based on ‘sanctity of marriage’


  • Thanks, Karen. We had a lot of conversations about tis issue in my house, because my son was for Prop 8. He’s in his first year of high school just discovering his sexuality, etc. So we really had to narrow it down to what he could understand – that it wasn’t about homosexuality. It was flat-out about discrimination. I pointed out to him that it wasn’t too long ago that his dad & I couldn’t get married in a whole lot of places (I’m Jewish, he’s Catholic). It wasn’t too long ago that the parents of one of his good friends couldn’t get married (mom is black, dad is white). He found that all quite ridiculous.

    And when we put it in terms of couples who had been together for 50 years not having the right to make life and death decisions in the hospital (like he saw my mom do for my dad), he could understand it a little better.

    To me, it violated one of the most basic premises of our country’s constitution – that of the separation of church and state. We let religious beliefs dictate dicriminatory legislation, and that is just plain wrong.

    I’m ashamed of the “forward-thinking” people in California. I can only hope that when this hits the courts again, that it will be heldup s nconstitutional.


  • CA wasn’t the only state that screwed up. Nebraska passed a ban on affirmative action (Colorado voted one down), and a few other states passed anti-equality marriage amendments as well. Arkansas outlawed ADOPTIONS for anyone not married, which was meant to include same-sex couples, who cannot marry there. Now they’ve just brushed all non-hetero-married people with the same Taint of Sin(TM).

    Honestly? This outcome demonstrates the problem with absolute populism. You can’t protect the minority blocs by expecting the majority to be fair and reasonable. According to polls, CA would have banned interracial marriage too at the time the Loving Act of 1967 passed the Supreme Court, thereby nationally legalizing it.

    What Robin said above x 10. Civil caremonies should not be called marriages. If marriage is a religious word, then we need to find a new word for the non-religious unions, or else it needs to apply to everyone.


  • The problem with not applying the term “Marriage” for homosexual couples is simple. The term “Marriage” has been used by the States as a “Legal” term in giving the various property and status “Legal” rights to heterosexual couples. This is the whole problem where the defined division between Church and State has been coerced.

    You cannot just change that “Legal” term easily since it is so interwoven into the State laws. Which is why we are in this mess.


  • Nora Roberts
    November 10
    11:53 am

    ~Marriage is a right, that everybody, regardless of their sexual orientation should be afforded.~

    This statement is simple, basic and true.


  • I was arguing with my sister about this issue. The legal aspects, actually, she didn’t care about. It was the “fact” (snort) that homosexual marriage would be taught in schools as a result and the conflicting message sent from the Superintendent of schools in commercials and on their official website. I did make it a point that as gay relationships have kids too, so there’s no getting away from kids being taught about homosexuality. But here is the thing that decided her—the schools are making more and more decisions about what our children are taught and HOW those things are interpreted. She felt that her right to teach the children family her values are being eroded by the state.

    Not saying she’s right–I heartily disagreed with her all over this election–but I can definitely see how the YES proponents got under people’s skin.


  • Robin
    November 10
    5:52 pm

    I think that school ad was what led Prop 8 to victory, frankly. Because while it really shouldn’t matter if kids learn about gay marriage in schools, there’s obviously a ton of fear around seeing homosexuality as a social (or even biological) norm.

    Governor Arnold has gone on record saying that he believes the state Supreme Court might overturn the initiative:http://www.latimes.com/news/local/politics/cal/la-me-protest10-2008nov10,0,4429002.story.

    This is also my hope, because to me Prop 8 is a blatant violation of due process. I also see the church/state issues here, but I don’t see Prop 8 as primarily an establishment/free exercise clause issue, per se, because to me it’s more about the denial of fundamental legal rights, even though some churches played a significant role in supporting Prop 8.

    One of the difficulties with the church/state argument is that you can load it from both sides of the ideological scale. For example, if churches were encouraging members to vote against Prop 8 as unChristian (Jesus did not judge, etc.), and Prop 8 lost, wouldn’t the pro 8 folks be claiming illegitimate influence of the church (think about how active many black churches were in the Civil Rights Movement, for example)?

    From a due process perspective, though, the focus is on legal rights and on the fairness with which they are granted or denied, not so much on how people bring their personal beliefs to their voting decisions.


  • This was the first time I had ever been ashamed to live in this State. Ever. It was the biggest shock since my friends and I all voted a big fat NO on this hateful, ignorant and completely unconsititional prop. We’re already participating in rallies and I know several lawsuits are being prepared to be brought forth.
    Denying the rights of citizens whose done no wrong, works, pays taxes and are a part of everyday life is that, is illegal and consititutional. Seriously, hello? Didn’t we fight a revolution? Civil war? Does the Civil rights movement mean nothing?!?!!!
    As I’ve been trying to point out to a few friends, convicts can get married, but homosexuals can’t? WTF moral standpoint is that? Murders can, but we deny rights to homosexuals. The Arkansas banning of gay couples from adopting was a complete WTH moment for me.
    Okay, getting to into this. Backing away now.


  • Anon76
    November 10
    7:30 pm

    Religion has had too strong a hand in American politics for too many years. Or in the entire world, for that matter.

    We tend to forget that most of these mandates are written down by mere mortals after they interpreted said teachings from their spiritual leaders. And then the reinterpretation goes on and on, ad nauseum.

    The fact of the matter, if you read over texts of even the most ancient of cultures, gays have been around forever. Sometimes reviled, but often revered. Gays are a part of God’s work, and no one can convince me otherwise. To let go of that thought would mean that I would have to list my God as not having a grand plan for the world and everything in it. True, we humans can mess things up mighty fine for ourselves, but with the knowledge that the gay culture has been around forever, I see that as part of the plan. Like evolution.


  • I’m going to go with what Marianne McA said up in comment 9.

    I’m a Christian but I don’t believe it’s anybody’s business how people live and what they do with their personal lives. If it isn’t inflicting harm on others, it isn’t any of my concern and none of my business.

    People will bring their personal biases to everything they do.

    Judging people, telling them how to live and what to do isn’t my job.


  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cVUecPhQPqY

    Check this one out!


  • Robin
    November 12
    4:51 am

    A fascinating breakdown of voting patterns on Prop 8: http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2008/11/prop-8-myths.html


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