Yesterday my spouse BP and I had reason to be driving through a conservative region of our home county here in southern California. On the street corners of the busy main drag we drove along were people holding up yellow "Yes on 8" signs and waving at cars that honked approvingly. I was driving but held my downturned thumb at the windshield where they could see it, and my beloved rolled down the passenger window and shouted "Bigots!" at the demonstrators.
We stopped at the local Costco to pick up some necessaries, and discussed our concern that our car with its "Obama '08" and "No on Prop8" stickers might be in some danger. Needless to say we ourselves were also aware that "they don't like our kind" where we were, and took pains to be some distance apart from each other walking through the store. We aren't stereotypically "lesbian" in appearance but it's pretty clear we are shopping for a common household. One woman asked us a question about wine in the wine section, but her husband/boyfriend looked askance and hustled her away.
This whole experience depressed me for the rest of the day, as did the news that one of BP's fellow choir members was sending out "yes on 8" emails to the other choir members--though not BP herself. (While aware of BP's marriage, I'm not sure that the sender knows that most of the other choir members were at our wedding and several had very active roles in the celebration thereof!)
Somehow, BP is not as depressed about this as I am and has more forebearance for example with her choir-mate. She ascribes their bigoted opposition to ignorance or stupidity, whereas I put it down to hatred and malevolence.
My visceral response, feeling like I have been kicked in the stomach when I see their signs, is shared by at least one of our gay friends, who like me is a non-believer. I know some of the pro-8 people (like BP's choir member) and I do not think they are stupid. Therefore I consider their opposition to us indefensible, rooted in hatred and subdued violence. I have no respect for them, any more than I respect racists or sexists.
Perhaps it is because BP is a real Christian (which we all know I am not) that she can forgive and excuse the opposition.
Update: The latest from the No-on-8 campaign:
"Armageddon"...That's what evangelical leader Charles W. Colson and Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said about Prop 8, calling it the "decisive last stand" in this morning's New York Times.
The pro-hate forces are trying to raise $2million for the last week.
BP and I are donating more, and will join our friends demonstrating against Hate this weekend. Will you help? Donate, sign up to make calls, write letters, demonstrate.
Update 2, for some arguments against the bigots, try the Who Voted on YOUR marriage? site.