November 8, 2008

In the wake of Prop 8...

First of all, let me say THANK YOU to the 43 people who donated $2655 to No On Prop 8 since my blog post on 10/14. As soon as I follow up with you all via email, I hope to put together a post listing your names and giving you the thanks you deserve.

We were close. But unfortunately, surprisingly low voter turnout (50% compared with 64% nationally)* and the ugly fear that children would suddenly be taught about homosexuality in the classroom created the perfect storm for this hateful thing to pass. Edited to add: turns out low voter turnout is no excuse. CA was in line with the rest of the country at around 64%. However, surprisingly high turnout of other minority groups is a popular scapegoat...

I decided not to pay much attention to the returns regarding Prop 8 Tuesday night -- fearing the worst after the kerfuffle on TechCrunch on Monday (search that page for "hillary" and you'll see what I mean) -- choosing instead to get totally swept up in the drama, emotion, and history of electing our first African-American President. It was an amazing night. I laughed, I cried, I hooted and hollered, and I got a bit drunk. :)

However, Wednesday and Thursday were a different story. I still welled up a couple times when I saw all the "Yes, He Did" headlines, but the joy was tempered with a deep and profound hurt. I'm sad. At In-N-Out Burger last night I was putting little green checkmarks and red Xs over peoples heads: Do you think I'm disgusting? How about you? I'm pissed. I've had some of the same hateful thoughts that I'm sure people have had about me. And it stings that there's so much activity in the wake of Prop 8's passage. Where was this urgency last week? Why were we all so complacent, so sure that there was "no way in hell" it could succeed?

But all that will pass. Even just 24 hours later I'm again full of hope, and thankful that I live in a place like San Francisco and am surrounded by friends and family and coworkers that feel the need and take the time to reach out and say, "You are not alone." The vigil last night and the march through San Francisco tonight were enough to put a smile back on my face, and fill me not only with hope, but with the will to fight.

And so, I give you my latest blog comment. Some background: I was searching twitter for "Prop 8" and ended up clicking through to a lot of the links. I felt that this post deserved a response -- "Is there a downside to Prop 8?"

Hi there. I stumbled across your post via twitter, and thought I'd take a minute to reply to a few things.

First off (so you know where I'm coming from), I'm gay and legally married thanks to the window of opportunity between the Supreme Court decision and the passage of Prop 8.

I am not going to try to convince you that I'm just as normal as you because I know that's a dead end. I will also refrain from pointing out the obvious biblical passages that fundamentalists choose to ignore because they acknowledge that they make no sense in today's society. Instead, I'll try to point out a couple of flaws in your argument.

Even if I weren't a Christian, I would be opposed to the notion that homosexuality might be taught in schools.

Fact: Not one word in Prop 8 mentions education. And no child can be forced, against the will of their parents, to be taught anything about health and family issues at school. California law prohibits it.

California’s top educators including Superintendent of Schools Jack O’Connell and California Teachers all agree: Prop 8 has nothing to do with education and the idea that "homosexuality might be taught in schools" is ridiculous.

Also, it wasn't right for a minority to push their agenda on the majority.

I don't quite understand what agenda you mean. The proponents of Prop 8 were the one with the agenda. We simply wanted people to vote no -- to say no to a bill that would use state law to single out one group of Californians to be treated differently. No matter what your faith, equality under the law is a fundamental constitutional guarantee.

Would you have supported a bill that erased the right to marry for atheists? For Muslims? For African-Americans? After all, it was just a short 40 years ago that it was illegal for whites and blacks to marry -- the common thought was that interracial relationships were deviant, unnatural and disgusting.

Again, I realize that you and I fundamentally disagree. But I simply ask you to think about what has happened:

Just over half of Californians who went to the polls on Tuesday (which represent less than half of all Californians) were able to amend the Constitution and strip away rights from a tiny minority. It doesn't matter if homosexuality is a "choice;" the CA Supreme Court has designated us a suspect class (groups which meet a series of criteria suggesting they are likely the subject of discrimination) just like the federal Supreme Court recognizes race, national origin, religion, and alienage. Prop 8 is discriminatory at its very core, and I hope that you can take a step back and recognize that.

So this is my fight for now. Brick by brick, tweet by tweet, march by march I suppose. Not sure where it will lead, but it felt good to write about it tonight. Thanks for indulging me.

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