On a night that I spent earlier, weeping for joy at the thought of seeing and experiencing something I never imagined possible, a black man as President of the United States of America, I end the night with a mix of dull shock and bitter fury.
The California Constitution has been amended to institutionalize discrimination against fellow citizens of the State of California, those who are gay and lesbian.
As a person of mixed ancestry, a person of colour, I KNOW what it is like to be discriminated against on the basis of skin colour. It sucks. There is something deeply infuriating in knowing that no matter what you are on the inside, that simply on the basis of the tone of your skin, you might be suspect for being stupid or lazy or criminally prone.
I worked hard to get Obama elected because I know that we couldn't spend 4 more years of living under Bush policies. I knew that a possibility of Sarah Palin as President was a world I couldn't live in. I know many others felt this way because we came together in a huge movement of change.
And yet, for my whole life,my whole fucking life, I have also lived as a second class citizen of these United States. I was born here. I've paid taxes here. I've never been arrested, had a speeding ticket, I've voted in every election and was once a girl scout. But even so, I don't have the same rights as someone who is straight.
The bile, anxiety, frustration I'd feel in the pit of my stomach at the thought of McCain and Palin actually winning the election, I still feel tonight. Because even though tonight I will go to sleep knowing that 4 more years of Bush policies won't be happening, I know that more years of gay discrimination in California is the rule of law, the rule of the California Constitution.
The Mormon church was integral in ensuring that gays and lesbians in California do not have marital rights. President Thomas S. Monson asked California Mormons to give their time and money to pass Proposition 8. Monson's letter was reported repeatedly in Mormon churches, and L. Whitney Clayton, M. Russell Ballard, Quentin L. Cook all Church apostles weighed in heavily a well. Mormons, whose members only make up about twelve percent of California's population, donated an estimated 75% of the $25 million raised to pass Proposition 8.
My cynical side wonders if the good Church elders were JUST concerned about the fate of marriage in California, or were they just a tiny bit interested in beginning to make alliances as well as lay down some basic organizational structure for a 2012 run for President by Mitt Romney. But no matter what the motivations of the Mormon Church were, the result of various religious groups organizing is that a Yes on Proposition 8 campaign resulted in a campaign of fear and fearmongering that equalled that of the GOP and 527's attempts at combatting Barack Obama.
True to the hatred and fear that raised its ugly head at some McCain and Palin rallies, similar tendencies emerged on the Yes on 8 campaign. The difference being that for the most part, being a racist bigot isn't typically sanctioned by churches, but being a homophobe dedicated to unequal treatment of gays and lesbians seems to be celebrated by many churches. (Usually at the same time they are telling gays and lesbians that they don't REALLY hate us, they actually LOVE us and this is there way of showing it!)
There was a certain amount of verbiage I heard from various church ministers that opponents of Proposition 8 had no basis to compare claims of discrimination from Prop 8 as similar to discrimination based on race. And then ironically in the next breath I'd hear some of these good ministers call for change by calling for the election of Barack Obama. If there is one thing that frustrates me in the debate on civil rights for gays and lesbians, it is this: NOT all GAYS and LESBIANS are WHITE. Some of us ARE people of colour and even though discrimination due to being gay isn't the same as racial discrimination, in the same way sexism isn't the same as discrimination against the differently abled, who GIVES A FUCK????? It's still WRONG!!!!! QUIT trying to debate who has it worse in the discrimination marathon or who's discrimination wins the prize, it's all wrong, it's all bullshit. As someone who has experienced discrimination as a result of race and sexual orientation it all hurts, it all sucks!!!
Furthermore, people who try to justify discrimination are asshats and the LAST thing anyone who advocates discrimination should be doing is wearing the cloth of Christ and trying to hold themselves out to be some sort of higher spirit. As far as I'm concerned, a bigot is a bigot is a bigot, and a white collar, a title of LDS Apostle or elder or whatever term that indicates you have power in your religion doesn't absolve you of your advocating institutional discrimination.
The double speak of various political officials is that "civil unions" offer the same protections as marriage, their various Christian beliefs are apparently so fragile that gays and lesbians can only have "civil unions" rather than real marriages because only men and women can have "real marriages in the eyes of God." The problem with all of this is that the first thing any politicians (including many Democrats) care to do, is speak out against gay marriage rather than be on the forefront of civil unions.
The result is that consistently, gays and lesbians are left with policies such as don't ask, don't tell, or NO gay marriage and NO comprehensive laws recognizing civil unions. The bottom line result no matter how much you wish to examine, no matter how you try to justify it, is that simply because one is gay or lesbian, you are still not considered a citizen with the same rights as your heterosexual bretheren.
And quite frankly, that's fucked UP.
Yes we can and did elect Barack Obama as the next President of the United States and as a person of colour, as a Democrat, as a woman, as a person who is interested in change, I am very happy for that.
But I still can't shake the anger and frustration that nearly 5 million Californian's think that gays and lesbians are pieces of shit, and that many of the people in CA who voted for Obama, also voted to ensure that I can't marry, and that I am a second class citizen in the state where I was born and have lived my whole life.
And that's fucked up.
Yes we can feels just a bit hollow to me this morning because YEs we Can doesn't seem to apply to all of us.
I wish I could end on a magnanimous note, with soaring commentary and inspirational thought, but I can't. I'm tired and I'm pissed. I really just need to say : SCREW YOU California HOMOPHOBES, those of you who consider YOUR relationship better than mine, and who are so fearful of how fragile your marriages are that you can't bring yourselves to treat your fellow citizens the same. And lastly, for the love of God, you religious homophobes, quit telling me you really love me. Because with your kind of love, I certainly don't need hate.
First, thank you all who rec'd. I wish it were under different circumstances but the fact you did is heartening.
Secondly, what I also found heartening, despite my obvious ire, is the HUGE number of people, gay and straight, men and women, different racial and ethnic groups, and even spiritual groups who DID come together to work towards ensuring human rights. It is such a beautiful thing people working together, caring for one another as if our issues are shared, the truth being that they really are shared. It's truly beautiful when we realize this and work in common to help and create and love. I wanted to note this and THANK people who are fighting and do care.
Lastly, there are a number of absentee ballots remaining to be counted. The numbers and distribution is a bit unclear, but theoretically it's possible if they represented a VERY VERY significant "no" trend, the final numbers could be different. It's not likely, but it's possible. Maybe our collective human rights mojo can be employed to ensure good results. ;)