I’m Protesting Proposition 8 Tomorrow; Please Consider Protesting Too

Euphoria over Obama’s win, followed by disbelief and despair over over Proposition 8′s ban on gay marriage passing in California. I’ll be out protesting tomorrow at South Coast Plaza in Orange County as part of a nationwide campaign. Please consider going to a location yourself. And if you’re against gay marriage, please, some words to consider.

I sat on my patio last weekend listening to my neighbors across the street, in a small party on their roof, discussing Proposition 8. “I don’t want them coming to my church to get married,” said the most vocal of the bunch. “We don’t want to encourage them.” And, inevitably as a result of those terrible TV commercials, “We don’t want them teaching that in schools.”

Ironically, those who voted for Proposition 8 to keep our schools “safe” from the instruction that was never going to happen have now helped guarantee that gay marriage WILL be taught in schools. The struggle won’t go away. It’s a civil rights movement that will only get stronger, be a part of California history and will be taught to school children from years to come. And years from now, many people will look back on the struggle in the same way they view other civil rights struggles and think, “How could this have been done to a group of people.”

Gay marriage is personal to me. “Them” gay people aren’t some nebulous group that exists only in San Francisco. They’re real people I know, with names like Ken, Jessie, Ted and Greg.

Greg, godfather to my children. One of the best friends you could have. Someone that deserves, if he should want to marry, to have the right to do so.

I simply don’t get it. You can fight for your country — just don’t say your gay, and it’s OK? And should you die defending your country, sorry — no folded flag, since you can’t have a spouse.

When I heard the news of the loss, one of my first thoughts was that I wanted all the gay people in American to go on strike for a day — to really illustrate how many there are. Turns out, there’s a movement now to make that happen, this Dec. 10, “No Gays For A Day.” I hope it happens.

Somewhat related, last weekend, there was a fascinating piece in the Los Angeles Times by Jasmyne Cannick, a Black lesbian, on why she wasn’t surprised that Blacks voted so heavily in favor of the proposition. You have to appreciate her honesty, as well as her realism of the challenge:

Even I wasn’t inspired to encourage black people to vote against the proposition. Why? Because I don’t see why the right to marry should be a priority for me or other black people. Gay marriage? Please. At a time when blacks are still more likely than whites to be pulled over for no reason, more likely to be unemployed than whites, more likely to live at or below the poverty line, I was too busy trying to get black people registered to vote, period; I wasn’t about to focus my attention on what couldn’t help but feel like a secondary issue.

It’s hard. Watching Obama talk about gay marriage as a state issue; watching Biden in the debate with Palin say he was for partnerships but not gay marriage, it was disheartening knowing that was a compromise they had to make, just as Clinton compromised on gays in the military. Obama had challenges enough winning the trust of some in America without having to have support of gay marriage bogging his campaign down, which is almost certainly would have. I understood the compromise. It didn’t make the taste less bitter.

So I can understand what Cannick wrote. I can understand, though I can never really feel, the inequalities she describes and has experienced. But if there was a proposition on the ballot that allowed me to deal with those problems? That allowed me to vote for equality? I’d vote for it. I’d hope anyone would vote for it and not think, “No, not until X, Y & Z” are fixed first.

Finally, I’ll leave with a video from Keith Olbermann that’s been capturing attention, where he speaks succinctly on the issue. Consider that about 1/3 of US states had laws preventing Blacks & Whites from being married as late as 1967 — and as he notes, Barack Obama’s own parents couldn’t have been married.

Please consider showing your support at a protest tomorrow. If not tomorrow, then another time, in another way. And please reconsider your position, if you’ve been against gay marriage. There are real people, with real feelings and desires, who simply want the same rights independent of the fact that they share their love with someone of the same sex.


Comments

  1. says

    Thanks Danny for writing this.
    There are so many people that really just don’t understand. I have a brother who is adamantly opposed to gay rights.
    Over the years I have come around to better understand and appreciate the rights issue. I have a good friend who is gay and a cousin from my wifes family who is gay and married to another man. These gay people are happy, live “normal lives” just like other members of our society. They should have equal rights like other people.
    This issue will continue…

  2. says

    I was indeed very disappointed to see the news about the ban on election night. It was a bummer that on one side we had taken some great steps of progress, while on the other we were regressing. The same goes for Missouri’s ridiculous vote on their official language.
    Perhaps using different vocabulary could help in the issue. I am thinking that the word “union” could be used instead of “marriage”. Legally it would mean the same thing but under a name that does avoids bringing religion into the discussion. I feel like it is more difficult to argue against gay marriage when religion is not brought up. Of course, as you said, that would be one more unfortunate compromise that should not have to be made.
    Best of luck tomorrow.

  3. says

    I was indeed very disappointed to see the news about the ban on election night. It was a bummer that on one side we had taken some great steps of progress, while on the other we were regressing. The same goes for Missouri’s ridiculous vote on their official language.
    Perhaps using different vocabulary could help in the issue. I am thinking that the word “union” could be used instead of “marriage”. Legally it would mean the same thing but under a name that does avoids bringing religion into the discussion. I feel like it is more difficult to argue against gay marriage when religion is not brought up. Of course, as you said, that would be one more unfortunate compromise that should not have to be made.

  4. says

    So, you accept the vote of the people for Obama, but don’t want to accept the vote of the same people on Proposition 8?
    And what’s the point of such protest? It’s not the government saying “yes”, it’s the people of California and you can’t protest against that. Plus, the vote itself was very confusing. Many people voted “no” thinking they vote against gay marriage.
    My last point is that marriage is not a right; it’s a privilege for heterosexual couples that want to raise kids and build a family. There’s domestic partnership for the rest.
    In general, gay people should just calm down and stop whining. At the end, this country is one of the most liberal to their kind and they should not be ungrateful by adding distractions during this country’s worst financial crisis!

  5. says

    I accept the vote. I just disagree with it and will work to change opinions so that a future vote won’t go that way. This is the way our country operates. I accepted the vote for Bush, even though I didn’t personally vote for him. But that didn’t mean people’s opinions didn’t change over time. They do.
    The point of the protest to be was to help raise awareness to indeed some of those same people who voted for Prop. 8 that there are some real people out there that it impacts.
    Marriage is not a privilege. In terms of the law, it is a legal entity that assigns certain property rights and legal rights between a couple. It is a right that any couple, if they are not gay, can have. Can you name any other rights that gays cannot have aside from serving in the military openly?
    Marriage as a religious institution is another thing.
    As for whining, sure. You know back in WWII, Black were discriminated against, but they really should have swallowed all that because of the war going on. After all, they still had a pretty good standard of living compared to say, Nazi Germany.
    It’s about what’s right. America is a country that’s based on providing equal rights. This isn’t equal, and I hope the law changes.

  6. says

    I don’t mind giving more rights to gay people or any other minority if it’s in the benefit of the entire society. What I mind though (as a father of 3) is confusing the little ones – our children. It’s one thing to accept and tolerate and another to manifest and promote. Some people are born gay, but others born straight are turned gay just because it’s considered cool or due to some other circumstances, but the majority during the most psychologically fragile moments in a child’s life – the puberty.
    Anyway, I think fighting for more and more rights gets blown out of proportions! Millions are losing their jobs and homes and those are the real problems even though many are confident that Obama will magically fix everything within days.
    I was contesting a speeding ticket recently and nobody from the entire court room was able to pay a $150-200 fine on the spot, even with a credit card! People chose to pay $30 financing setup fee just so that can pay $120 over time (you can calculate the huge APR this corresponds to!) And this was Newport Beach Harbor Justice Center! That’s how bad things really are, but some just don’t want to accept it!
    Also, if Proposition 8 was able to pass in California, then it will surely pass in all other states, too! It’s clear that America does not agree with same-sex marriage concept! So, let’s all (both gay or straight) focus our energy on jumpstarting the economy!

  7. says

    I’m a father of two. It’s not confusing. Some boys like girls, some boys like boys. Some girls like boys, some girls like girls. I have no fear talking about this with them is going to “turn them gay.” And for all the fear I’ve seen expressed over the years from people who worry someone straight will be turned gay, the reality is I don’t know anyone like that — but I do know many gay people who feel they were born gay. And I’ve seen far more harm done to them because they’ve not felt able to openly live the way they feel. And none of them — none of them — have lived as gay adults because they think it’s something “cool” to do.
    I can’t stress this enough. If you do not have gay friends, then it is easy to dismiss the concerns and they way they feel in the abstract. It is not abstract to me. They are people I know, friends and others who I know closely, rather than through theory.
    I also think America is a strong enough country that we can work on many problems at once.

  8. says

    I have one good friend who out of the blue came out to be gay and we’re still good friends with him. He’s not gonna marry another man though. :-)