Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Bigotry wins

It's 52% to 48% for Prop8, with 95% of the votes in. Although theoretically too close to call, we've lost.

Part of this is the fault of the No-on-8 campaign, which never once put up pictures of gay couples, which is what this was about. Instead, they allowed the Yes-on-8 campaign make this about schools and children, which covered the bigotry by allowing the proponents to point at children. They did not articulate clearly the problem with civil unions. And the Yes-on-8 campaign did a blitzkrieg at the end, with ads blanketing radio, the internet, and even a robo-call on election day with a recording of Obama's voice saying he was opposed to gay marriage. I didn't hear a peep out of the NO campaign, which even sent me home when I tried to volunteer on election day.

Which brings us to the second part of the problem, which is the way senior politicians tried to have it both ways. Obama officially opposed Prop8, but it was his words disagreeing with gay marriage that were played. Schwarzenegger promised the Log Cabin Republicans that this would never pass, but he did nothing to stop it. They threw us under the bus.

Was this just about the children, or Christian conservatives? No, because the parental notification-for-abortion proposition was defeated--so there were more bigots out there who wanted to oppose gay marriage than who cared about restricting abortion.

We even lost LA county. African-Americans voted overwhelmingly in favor of Prop8, thus the history-making vote for Obama hurt us badly. Why is it that one oppressed group is so ready to oppress the ones behind them in line?

But what will be remembered by the GLBT community is the Mormons and the Catholics and the conservative Christians their opposition to our civil rights. I want to stand in front of the Mormon Temple or the Catholic churches, with other gay couples, just silently staring at their faces as they walk by, and make them look us in the eye. Our community is outraged at organized religion, and I am too.

Religious bias had a huge role to play, even if not the only role, and my current political goal is to defeat tax exemption. The Mormons and the Catholics get charitable (tax-deductible) donations and turn around and use them politically. Yet my donations to No-on-8 aren't deductable. Let's stop that, first of all.

So, is my marriage still legal? Yes, for the moment. The Proposition itself did not say anything about prior marriage. The Yes-on-8 campaign promised that they would file suit to nullify the 18,000 marriages that have occurred since June. This is a tricky constitutional issue, because it would make a law retroactive, and this would be a big legal change. But a number of Constitutional scholars think that is possible. Meanwhile, our side will probably sue to over turn this on the grounds that this is discriminatory. (Update: First suit to be filed claiming Prop 8 is itself unconstitutional.) If my marriage remains legal, other gay couples will sue on the grounds of equal protection.

Maybe we just aren't ready for gay marriage, you might say. I put it to you that if you had asked for a popular vote on segregation right after Brown v. the Board of Education, then the south would still be segregated--and we would not have a black president-elect, either. If you had asked for a popular vote on inter-racial marriage right after Loving v Virginia, there would still be anti-miscegenation laws on the books. It took 30 years after that decision for a majority of Americans to agree that inter-racial marriage is okay. The Constitution exists in part to prevent the rights of the minority from being oppressed by the mob of the majority. Unless that minority is gay, apparently.

My beloved and I wept together this morning, tears of anger and frustration and hurt. Such a contrast to our mutual tears of joy at our wedding.

Whose marriage will we vote on next?

(In a delicious bit of unknowing irony, the Catholic bishops think this ad is an example of religious bigotry and intolerance. Apparently imposing their religious bigotry and intolerance on us is okay.)

Update: You can find the video here.


Ann said...

So so terrible -- I hope the 2 million ballots still to be counted will change the totals -- CNN believed Prop 8 would fail and their polls have all been correct so far. So I live in hope through my tears for all who suffer this day.

IT said...

My stepson, a high school senior, got a text message from friend that in protest against the passage of Prop8, people should wear black to school today.

He drove off this morning in black from head to toe.

His mother and I have done the same.


Anonymous said...

The passage of 8 is an outrage perpetrated by theocrats. Someone should teach them about the establishment clause - how none of them could live, organize or worship here if our founders had written the Church of England or the Congregational Church into our Constitution.

Ann, is it true that there are 2 million outstanding ballots?

FranIAm said...

IT, my heart breaks and much of the joy felt from the Obama win has been countered by sadness and rage over Prop 8.

I have yet to be able to connect to my friends who worked very hard raising money and organizing on this.

Your words about how one group must trample over another are well placed. It says a lot about the human condition and none of it good.

I am so very, very sorry.

IT said...

I don't see how there can be 2million outstanding, Scott. 96% precincts are reporting with about 5.2million for and about 4.7 million against.


PseudoPiskie said...

One bright spot is the future of the Supreme Court. It is very doubtful that an Obama appointee or two would restrict anyone's rights.

Meanwhile, fear and hate still rule - preached by people who claim to follow the one who preached love. I'm praying Barack can change that once the religionists are out of power.

Anonymous said...

Yes, that's why I was wondering. I wonder what Ann meant?

I hate what religion and the electorate did to you, IT. To say "I'm so sorry" is feeble compared to what I'm really feeling.

IT said...

Thanks, Scott.

pseudopiskie, that's not a panacea. The conservative swing to the court has been assured by the appointment of Alito and Roberts, both relatively young.

COmbined with Scalia and Thomas, there is a firm conservative 4 votes, and Kennedy, also relatively young, trends conservative. (While he was the swing on Lawrence he also upheld the right of Boy Scouts to discriminate, and is leery of formalizing gay rights.)

President Obama is at best going to replace a liberal with a liberal--Ginsberg, or Stevens. It isn't going to swing the court in a more liberal direction. It's still a very very dangerous court for us.

holyfoolishness said...

such a bittersweet day after the election...I'm sad beyond words...anyone looking to get married in MA is welcome at our wife and I welcome all!

toujoursdan said...

The whole idea that civil rights can be put up to a vote and that Constitutions can be amended by a 50%+1 majority is absurd.

It makes a mockery out of democracy.

Anonymous said...


Ann has posted elsewhere that there are more than a million absentee ballots left to count. I hope she's right!

dr.primrose said...

There's a couple I know fairly well though I see them only a few times a year. After Newsom authorized the San Francisco city clerk to begin issuing marriage licenses for same-sex couples, they flew up to San Francisco (from the L.A. area) to get married.

Just by coincidence, I ran into one of them on a L.A. subway platform within hours after the California Surpeme Court's 2004 decision nullifying all those marriages. "The Supreme Court just took away my marriage," he said. He was like a wounded animal. It was unbelievably painful.

A couple of months ago, I attended their "re-marriage." These folks are extremely dedicated Christians and have spent much of their lives doing quite wonderful things to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ in very tangible ways. Their "re-marriage" was incredibly joyful and filled with the Holy Spirit.

Now their marriage has been taken away for the second time. I feel like we in the Church have failed them. I feel that I personally have failed them.

How can I look them in the eye again? How can any of us?

IT said...

The no-on-8 campaign estimates that there are 3-4 million absentees "based on turnout". Which is pretty risky as a bet.

HOWEVER it is worth noting that absentee ballots trend more conservative (because of the older age distribution of those voters). So the number of pro-votes is likely to be somewhat higher than in the election overall.

There is a 400,000 lead of Prop8. It is extremely unlikely that the distribution of votes in those absentees (however many they are) will skew the results by 400,000 in our favor, unless they are all from San francisco.

The papers have called it.


Anonymous said...

Nice blog IT

Yes, I agree with all that you wrote, and expressed so well.

Politicians did alot of harm by very luke warm disagreement with Prop 8 but did nothing to stop it. They in effect promoted it by that kind of response.

We have to remember too that this country, like it or not, is one of the most violent countries on the face of the earth. Our country was born from violence and virtually cherishes it. Because of our background and culture it may be that our culture really only respects people or groups who fight and fight violently for their rights, like blacks did in the 60's. Most will not admit that of course, but look back at the White night riots and there is a subtle acceptance and even glorification of the fighting that occurred that night.

Believe me, I am not preaching violence. I do have to admit I am angry, yes. But I am stating a hypothesis. Let’s hope that we are able to obtain our rights through non-violent means. Violence would only harden the opposition. It is only from a historical perspective that our culture seems to find an enhanced respect from it. Civil disobedience is a far better option and a far safer one. Looking back at our country’s history however, shows that violence has historically often played a role in obtaining civil rights and when groups are backed into a corner long enough and far enough, that makes it even more likely.

I would like to see some options related to potential civil disobedience discussed somewhere. I think we need to continue our fight both within the system and potentially through civil disobedience. Let us not continue what our country has taught us in relation to violence. We are better than that.

Please try to have a non stressful good day … I’ll try as well.

Thanks for the bog IT.
Yo Semite Greg | 11.05.08 - 1:05 pm | #

James said...

IT, I cannot begin to comprehend your grief. I can imagine it, but I cannot comprehend it. I have a horse in the race, but not the same horse as you and BP.

I believe with all my heart that this is going to work out for the best. It may take a year or two, but it won't be long.

You are both, as are all couples mourning today, in my prayers.vely

Erp said...

So religious people who claim to support family have pushed through an amendment that they hope will lead to the largest mass annulment in the history of the world.

I cried also thinking of all the people I know who've been slapped by this. Know in your hearts you are married and I and many others see you as married even it the State decrees otherwise. The Roman Empire didn't recognize many Christian marriages because they were between free women and slave men, but, they were still marriages. Many US states didn't recognize marriages between people of different races, but, they were still marriages. Your day will come again.

Good thing to note is that some belonging to conservative religions broke with their hierarchies. The tide is changing even if it hasn't fully come in.

JCF said...

Please, IT, I ask one thing: DON'T form a circular firing squad. Don't blame the No-on-8 organizers. Even if it turns out they made mistakes---we'll learn from this, if they did---you have to believe that their hearts were in it to defeat 8, every bit as much as yours was.

The fault lies with the bigots, and those who have allowed evil to (seemingly) triumph by doing nothing (or virtually nothing) to stop it.

[FWIW---and I'm not a lawyer---I can't believe there aren't still grounds to argue (or appeal) that this NEVER should have been allowed on the ballot in the first place.]

{{{Hugs}}} to you and BP, IT. Don't give up!!!

[FYI: Connecticut defeated a Constitutional Assembly (which was feared to be used to ban ssm). Marriages there are supposed to start by the end of the month]


Political thought: under President Obama, pass ENDA NOW, already!? (Trans inclusive, please?)

ENDA (employment non-discrimination act) will give more people freedom to COME OUT. Coming Out, in turn, will help more people get to know us---the only way they'll finally stop hating us?

God bless and protect your LGBT children...

Jane Ellen+ said...

Often, more articulate people say what I'm thinking better than I do. From another blog I read:

If, as I expect, the consequence of Proposition 8 is that 18,000 marriages are destroyed, they’ve just handed those who want equal marriage rights under the law an extraordinarily potent symbol, and a concrete goal: namely, the restitution of those marriages. The fight for those marriages starts today.

May that reality lighten grief.

Wormwood's Doxy said...

There are no words to express my sorrow and my outrage, IT.

We will keep fighting. I never thought I would live to see the day that a Black man would be elected president. If that can happen, your marriage can---and will--be recognized by all. Hold to the dream and know you are not alone in your grief and anger.


Anonymous said...

IT, I am very sorry for you and your partner (and 9,000 other couples). I am sure that you are consulting your lawyer about what to do now.

Yosemite Greg, there have been (more or less continuous) civil protests on marriage since about 1968. Rev. Troy Perry, the founder of Metropolitan Community Churches, brought a few couples in LA to the registrars office to try for licenses in 1968. The protests have been sporadic - the first non-MCC-associated marriage attempt that I can think of was some college student in Minneapolis (1970ish). Every year Rev. Troy and now lots of MCC churches' members show up to try to get licenses, but the days are not standardized and there is no good publicity. Other organizations, mostly state or local, organize marry-ins as well, but not coordinated. There would be more publicity if there was a National Right to Marry Day and all protests were coordinated for that day. Ads and press releases and so on would help, too. We aren't "branded". So far we have been reacting defensively, not strategically, possibly because there hasn't been consensus by the community and the major organizations to launch a national "campaign" on marriage. They still have to get national ENDA and Hate Crimes inclusive version bills passed and signed.


eileen the uppity woman said...

I'm so effing furious over this, I can't even write about it sensically.


scotte said...

Another outraged friend of Jake writing in to commiserate. My hope is that the lawsuit that was set aside before the election as having no place until/unless the proposition passed- to drop Proposition 8 entirely on grounds of taking away a fundamental right - will be reinstated ASAP.
It has been said that 2/3 or the country was against interracial marriage at the time of Loving v Virginia; I can't imagine what the stats were when the comparable California decision was made. I can only reiterate what others have said - civil rights should not be subject to a vote!

[another fyi - the New York State Senate now has a Democratic majority so there is a very good chance New York will be the first state to add same sex couples to the marriage laws without any court action at all.]

Grace said...

((IT)) I"m so very sorry. Words really do seem inadequate. Just know that you, and BP are being held in my heart, and prayers right now.

Anonymous said...

Thank you all. As Scotte suggested, there is a suit being filed that claims Prop8 was a revision of the Constitution, not merely an amendment, because it removes rights from one class of people. (More here).

Other suits are pending.

Bigots are protesting their right to vote their bigotry.

I am not optimistic that we will defeat the forces of religious hatred.


Anonymous said...


I am.

Cecilia said...

I am not optimistic that we will defeat the forces of religious hatred.

I am, IT. The arc of history is towards more freedom, not less. I don't believe it can be held back. It may take longer than you or I would like. I can tell you that as the young people who put Obama in office take leadership of this nation, all these discriminatory laws will blow away like dead leaves in autumn. My children's generation is having none of this discrimination against LGBTQ folks. They are so past it.

Time, that's all this will take.

Much love to you and your wife.

Fred Schwartz said...

Here is what is really scary,
The California Supreme Court rules that to amend the Constitution in this manner requires a routine, i.e., type of process. They forces of evil then go about doing just that and now the entire constitution is open for adjustment. We need a clear decision from that courts that say that basic civil liberties are not given or taken away by people. They exist independently of any people's ability to confer or deny them. That they cannot be granted or taken away, they simply exist. That it is unconstitutional to deny these rights for that reason.

Jase said...

You are spot on, Fred.

David said...

What Fred said.

And yes, I know it's easy & cheap for me to quote MLK Jr., but he's still right...

"I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. That is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant."

Anonymous said...

I don't, David.

Fred, I t hink it is more likely they will try to shut the door behind them and RAISE the bar for amendment, so we can't simply amend it out by the same method.


Anonymous said...

If the court rules in our favor, which I think it will, watch out things are going to get VERY ugly, ether way things are going to get VERY ugly. It is already getting bad in West Hollywood. I think the release of Milk coming up near the end of Nov. may add to emotion.

YosemiteGreg (aka Greg)

Anonymous said...

In watching CNN and major media ... they all seem to be saying; oh, maybe in 5-10 years. They are trying to delay same-sex marriage. We have to fight to keep it in the lime light. We have to continuously do street protests and demonstrations in large numbers and targeted. They are effective if they are constant, loud and huge.


Anonymous said...

Protest tomorrow (Friday) in SF. All major cites need to protest.


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Fred Schwartz said...

Anonymous (above);
You are one sick "puppy". You need a great deal of help and you need it real soon. In fact if you are not careful, you may spontaneously combust. It might be good for you to crawl back under your rock.

Anonymous said...

Mormons Stole Our Rights:

Please spread this info to everyone you know.


JCF said...

Board moderation, please!!!

["Anonymous" (sans any other handle) is not quite synonomous with Asshat . . . but there's a heavy correlation, isn't there? >:-/]

IT said...

Sorry about that. Watch your step....the floor is still wet.

I find it odd that any criticism of religious intolerance is viewed as "anti-religion."

Especially amusing given that the complaint is on a vaguely Episcopalian board.

Is it racist to note the fact that blacks voted overwhelmingly for Prop8?

Is it anti-religion when an atheist notes that the bulk of support was from conservative Christians?

What about when an Episcopalian notes it?

Facts are simply facts.

The Mormon home invasion ad is no more intolerant of Mormons, than they are of us. They are advocating the forcible divorce of me from my wife. It's pretty violating.

Free speech works both ways. Which is why people in the comments of the LA Times are posting that they'd like to drop a bomb on West Hollywood.

The worst thing I've suggested is removing the Mormon's tax exemption.

In the marketplace of ideas, I am free to post what I choose on my blogs. Those opposed, feel free to post what you choose on yours. I prefer not to have you insult me in my own living room, however, so you can go post at the LA Times if you want to air your invective.


David said...

What IT said.

And to any "conservatives" who are even thinking of posting nasty, hateful invective here: Don't.

I have no intention of rolling over and being "nice" in the face of such garbage. Any such comments will be deleted.

And to our regulars, please try & not feed the trolls. Just contact one of the blog admins and let us put the kibosh on that nonsense...

Anonymous said...

Protest at Morman Temple in Oakland Sunday at noon