Gay people won perhaps our biggest victory in history just a few days ago and we can't even celebrate that. Witness: A story about how we should take the word marriage out of the equation completely appeared here. Then later, another story on this blog showed up about how the Prop. 8 fight was not over gay people at all, but it was over control of women. The overlooked implication that the diarist (probably accidentally) made was: gay people didn't win shit with this decision, women are the real winners.
The right is crying victimhood over their right to vote (against people they find icky) and some on the right are loving this victim mentality. They get to win by losing. This decision gets to be all about them and their rights, or more accurately, their perceived opporession and denial of rights. That's right - the biggest gay rights decision we've ever had is all about someone else, and we need to take it away.
With all the concern trolling from the Prop. 8 team, and with the concerned legal blogs saying that, oh no, we've gone too far with this, as if equality is ever too far (a stigmatizing concept that itself hurts gays, regardless of the "merit" of the caution), and with all the calls for ridiculous things from ending marriage completely to banning marriage through an amendment, it's all getting to be too much.
The interesting thing? Almost all, but not quite every single one, of these arguments are coming from the left. Many are coming from this very blog. I've seen about five diaries now saying that now that gays have won this fight, it's time to rip that away from us and "get the government out of the marriage business."
Ignoring, for a minute, the attacks on the decision by libertarian-minded but eminently reasonable people like Eugene Volokh, who for some strange reason is now calling for a Federal Marriage Amendment (take two!) because apparently gay people are the only group who don't deserve to have discussions of our rights aired out in courts - only in the legislative process (which is one of the main reasons Colorado's Amendment 2 was struck down in the Romer decision, and would be one of the provisions of his proposed amendment, but I digress) - even ignoring attacks like that coming from people who aren't always on our side, it's heartbreaking and frankly terrifying to see people on our side fighting this.
If you've paid attention at all, this whole fight over Prop. 8 is about THE WORD MARRIAGE. This case and this movement and Boies/Olson/AFER's work is all about the word marriage. It's all about how marriage is an important social and civil thing that American society can participate in. It brings stability in relationships, it makes kids less depressed and more secure when their gay parents can be legally married, it removes an important stigma - Americans are allowed to participate in this custom that makes us whole, but gays are irrationally excluded just to hurt us. Again, it's JUST to hurt us.
This whole fight is over the word marriage and I'm getting so tired of my so-called progressive allies wanting to take this victory from us. So, just stop it. We will not allow this campaign that reeks of "now that gays are allowed to get married, marriage is essentially meaningless and should be eliminated" to keep going or to get rid of the significant fight we've just won.
I don't know what the deal is. I don't know if it's the ridiculous Democratic sense that we always have to work to rip defeat from the jaws of victory. I don't know if it's irrational fear that we're moving too fast on this. I don't know if it's irrational fear that this ruling will inadvertently affect Democrats' or President Obama's re-election chances. I just know that no matter what people are thinking, you need to stop trying to argue that marriage needs to be taken away from us again, not 72 full hours after we've just won it.
This is not political pragmatism; this is political homophobia.
Even the President, the leader of the Democratic party and our mission, is unclear on this. His position seems to be that he "opposes same sex marriage" but "is for equality" but "wants gay people to call their marriages something else, but "wants them to have all the same rights as married couples."
The problem is, that is what voters of Prop. 8 were voting for. That is what Prop. 8 did (well except for the fact that domestic partnerships are not "all the same rights" as married couples, but even then, there's no assurance that civil unions would have all the same rights, especially not with this conciliatory President and Congress. God knows what they'd decide to give up to Republicans who hate us.) So the president opposes Prop. 8, but holds the position that would lead someone to vote for it. But he's for equality. But equality under a different name.
It really hurts to hear this from the White House directly after our win. We just won the right to same sex marriage and the President comes out and says "I oppose same sex marriage." It's like, oh, well, thanks for the "support."
I just wish they could either have:
- been more clear on their position on the decision, or
- kept their mouths shut like they have in regard to the DOMA and DADT cases and the recently won decisions at the Supreme Court, CLS, Doe v. Reed, and such.
The people in power and the people with the institutional backing of, well, everyone, have an obligation to stand up for the rights of the minority. That's what this whole thing is about. The court ruled that it is unfair for the majority of Californians to take away the right to marriage just because they don't like gays. That happens because the "over" class always has more of an advantage than the underclass. They can take our rights away because there's more of them.
Just like you can call for the elimination of marriage if you're white and heterosexual and you will be listened to. People will take your point of view into consideration and honestly a lot of the bigots might like it because it would help them in the end. By talking about destroying our victory and eliminating marriage (in order to save it?) you're providing fodder for institutionalized homophobia.
That's especially hurtful when we've just won a victory against those very same forces. And as you can see it's everyone. It's progressives. It's activists and bloggers. It even came out the other day that white Democratic women decided at the last minute to come out in droves against our freedom to marry. This is who we're up against: everyone, even ourselves.
With friends like these...
I don't like this at fucking all. Apparently we have more scared people than we thought, who are willing to destroy our rights. Apparently we have many more progressive enemies than we thought. And if you are trying to suggest that the freedom to marry should be taken away, you are an enemy in my eyes. I know that people won't appreciate my tone here and I doubt that even other gay people on this site or anywhere will agree with me but I don't care. Read the decision. Read the testimony. Learn how important the word marriage is and how it's the entire reason for this case.
The world is not ending. There is no reason to take it back. There's no reason to get rid of marriage. There's no reason to hurt everyone instead of just gay people. This is not defeat, it is a win. It's a progressive win. Be okay with that. Learn how to deal with it instead of trying to rip it away. We can win things and the world will be just fine. I know that Democrats operate under the assumption that they're not doing the right thing unless they not only fail but cave to Republicans and short-change the lives of the American people, but seriously, it's okay to be happy about a win.
The idea that there may be an underlying homophobia to this whole thing really creeps me the fuck out. It seems odd that so many so called progressives would be on message so soon after our win. So many people are just willing to get rid of our victories because, yes, it is politically awkward. I personally don't care about what's politically awkward. If the President were to call for repeal of the Hyde Amendment a week before the election I would be cheering him (and women) on because that is deserved. All equality fights are important no matter the timing and no matter if they are at odds with the President's positions on certain issues.
Not to mention the completely obvious fact that some people are willing to do what conservatives are screaming about: eliminate the institution of marriage. Really, THAT'S a more politically feasible message than to just accept a judge's ruling that gays can't be excluded from marriage? You really want to say that gay people can marry and now the next step should be to eliminate the institution of marriage completely? Shit, why not advance the idea of man on dog marriage or marrying a box turtle? While we're advancing Republican fears. Let's go all out. I mean that's what seems to be happening here.
And I don't get it. I don't understand why all of these sentiments are allowed as part of progressive discourse. I don't understand why they are going unquestioned. I don't understand how the people saying these things are not chased off the site for the worst kind of homophobia.
Let's pretend for a second it's 1967, except we have internet. Let's say someone wrote a post titled "Loving v. Virginia: Let's get rid of marriage instead." How well would that go over here? How many people would say, oh hell yeah, blacks just won a huge legal fight and now interracial couples can marry... so now that they can, let's keep EVERYONE from marrying! Great idea! Who would say that? And who would get away with it? Nobody. But apparently it's perfectly fine for people to espouse blatantly homophobic talking points (that would be blatantly racist in the context of Loving and 1967.) Why is that?
Then, a day later, someone writes: "Easy fix for interracial marriage issue? Get rid of all marriages." They also argue that marriage should be ended because of this new decision, with the benefit of the frame that we have something that needs to be "fix(ed)." We did have something that needs to be fixed. A judge in California just fixed it. There's your fix.
There is no "problem" in need of addressing with this decision. There is no need to destroy marriage (in order to save it?) We just need to be progressives and look forward to progression. We have won a fight. There is no going back. We've won.
Let's learn to be okay with that or keep the homophobia to ourselves, please.