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Home » Culture and Criticism

Prop 8 is enough

Submitted by on November 14, 2008 – 1:18 AM76 Comments

Get it, fired-up guy.It's more than enough, in fact. We've had more than enough codified discrimination in this country over its long and sometimes misguided history, and whatever semantics those in favor of Proposition 8 choose to hide behind — "it's about judicial activism" this, "why can't 'they' just call them 'civil unions'" that — it's bigotry. It's about feeling profoundly uncomfortable with gays and lesbians, and then it's making that discomfort gays' and lesbians' problem, when it's actually your own.

Just a reminder: the state of California allows prisoners to marry. Prisoners. Lyle Menendez has a wife. So does Erik. The Menendezes killed their parents for money; the Menendezes have wives. My cousin has not killed her parents (both ministers, by the way, and both down with the program), and is a Ph.D, a published author, and a total sweetheart whose current relationship has lasted longer than all of mine combined, but if my cousin moves to California, who can she marry? A dude. A dude in prison, even. But…not a lady. What the fuck, Golden State.

That's the bad, dumb news. The good news: if you would care to object to that ridonkulous state of affairs, you can do it, in person, even if you don't live in Cali. On Saturday, Join The Impact is coordinating a protest to take place at the same time in all 50 states (y'all Hawaiians will have to get up kinda early…sorry dudes). Just click the link above to find out where to gather, to become a local organizer, or to order a t-shirt.

That's our friends they're talking about. Don't let it stand.

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76 Comments »

  • JenV says:

    I am sincerely hoping it gets squashed by the courts ASAP. There's actually a very good case for throwing it out: the California Supreme Court ruling that led to Prop 8 found that marriage is a "fundamental right" in the constitution. Thus the case can be made that you can't take away that right by amending the constitution, it has to actually be revised.

    A constitutional revision is a much bigger deal than an amendment, which would require a two thirds legislative majority. In California that would never, ever happen.

    That's only one of the legal arguments against it that will be coming up in court. I've heard of some others but they involve a lot more legal jargon and I don't have a strong grasp on them.

  • Trip says:

    As I said on my own blog, one small gratifying thing to come out of this has been seeing how personally my straight friends seem to be taking this loss. While I know my friends are all pro-gay and would love to see me marry my long-term partner, it's not just a philosophical exercise to them; they feel the same hurt and anger and sadness that I feel, and they're organizing and protesting and doing whatever they can.

    I think this is a relatively new development, the "straight people feeling so strongly about gay rights" thing. I believe it's largely due to more gay people coming out over the last 15 years or so; more people are realizing how many people in their families and churches and bridge clubs are gay, and are seeing how non-threatening those people really are. Coming out leads to acceptance leads to gay rights.

    So thank you for this post. With enough people like you on our side, we're going to win this mother, you just wait and see.

  • Suzanne M says:

    Thanks for this, Sars. Amen to all of it. I won't be home for the Saturday protests, and while I will probably be in Albany, I'll be with a government employee friend who is contractually forbidden from attending political rallies. So no protesting for us. But I'll be there in spirit.

  • Noelle says:

    You know, I've been thinking for the last week and a half… I'm a Californian. I voted No on 8, I gave money, and I volunteered. And I'm still really sorry, you guys. Not just gays and lesbians, but: I'm sorry, country. I'm sorry California let you down.

  • Laura in the UK says:

    With you from over here, another country that still doesn't have gay marriage. Tired and fucked off but not giving up.

  • Jenn says:

    thanks, Sars.

  • Leigh in CO says:

    Got my plan for the rally at the ready. Thanks for spreading the word even further, Sars. Our friends deserve better than this.

  • Jeanne says:

    Wouldn't you know, tomorrow is the one Saturday I have to work this month. Work isn't far from the protest site though so I can try to pop over on my lunch break. If not I will definitely be there in spirit.

    I didn't know any out gay people growing up but I have really liberal parents, and they taught me that gay was just what people are and it's not a bad thing. By now though I've met and made friends with several including quite a few of my co-workers. I was never prouder to be from Massachusetts as I was on the day our gay marriage bill passed, particularly since Romney was still the governer back then. His angry faces were hilarious.

  • JennB says:

    A friend of mine from college has a T-shirt company and they made this shirt about Prop 8: http://www.dottedlineshirts.com/products/proposition-5090

  • Elena says:

    Thanks, Sars. Love your work. And hear, hear, Trip.

    Dan Savage has been blogging endlessly about this, and one of the other interesting movements that has come up is a ban on Utah: the Mormons provided $4 of every $5 spent on the same-sex marriage propositions, and since Mormons must tithe 10% to the church, any money spent in Mormon-owned businesses goes to fund bullshit like this. And more than 90% of all businesses in Utah are owned by Mormons, so pretty much any money spent in Utah… goes to fund bullshit like this. Moves are afoot to shut down Sundance and other big Utah-based moneymakers, and people who care about gay rights issues are being urged to take their holidays elsewhere this year.

    While the Mormons are not solely responsible for what happened (obviously – lots of people from lots of demographic groups had to vote in favor of discrimination to make this happen), the amount of money that the Mormons poured into the campaign does single them out for specific targeting, and I reckon that hitting them in the pocketbooks that so recently shelled out for Prop 8 is the way to go. Do your worst, folks.

  • Jennifer says:

    At a conference tomorrow, so no protest for me. But, since I try to be a shiny happy person, there are some reasons for optimism: These same measures were defeated by 5 times the margin just four years ago. Outrage over the passage of Prop 8 and similar legislation is very high, giving me great hope for the very near future. Gay marriage is now legal and basically not even causing a stir in CT.

    Civil rights never come in one fell swoop, sadly. It's not a case of the scales falling from everyone's eyes at once. But every day, more and more people wake up to their own better humanity.

  • K. says:

    I accidentally walked straight into a huge No on Prop 8 march by Lincoln Center on Wednesday night, and it was amazing – the line was half a dozen people deep and five blocks long. I'm standing up in a friend's lesbian wedding next summer (and it's interracial to boot – some folks would have a field day with them), and they'd talked about moving from Boston to California (my friend's fiancee has family out there), but now they're like … well, shit, never mind. And I hate that they feel unwelcome anywhere. I hate that my immense feeling of hope (which is totally novel and exciting – at 28, Bush has been president for 80% of my adult life, so I'm not used to feeling inspired by my leader) is marred by this. But I love that people are angry and mobilized.

  • IE says:

    And, children, let us not forget the other hogwash argument (which, when considered critically, should give you hope for the right outcome), "It'll lead to humans marrying dogs."

    I will point out (here's the hope part) that this was the same bullshit argued by people when Loving v. Virginia was at-hand.

    Dear God, don't allow race-mixing, or people will want to marry giraffes.

    You see how far that argument got? No.damn.where. And so, do not lose hope. In time, it will still end up no.damn.where., and we'll all be the better for it. I pray for the day when I have kids who will look at me and say, "You have to be joking Mom! There was a time when Uncle Dan and Uncle Brian could not be married?" Just as I said the same to my parents about my friends, Bob and Vicki and their interracial union. It'll be a laughable thing-of-the-past, if you DON'T GIVE UP THE FIGHT.

    Onward. . .

  • True says:

    Thank you. Yes.

  • Driver B says:

    I was ecstatic on election night and almost equally as crushed the next morning when I saw that Prop 8 was going to pass. Being in Norcal gave me a false sense of security I guess – every county there except one voted overwhelmingly NO.
    I'm straight, and I'm married – to a man I wouldn't have been able to marry 40 years ago, because I'm white and he's not. But that's not the only reason I'm taking this personally. Gay people are people, not deviants, and if your church is the reason you're against gay marriage, I think you need to take a long hard look at your church. I did, because it just doesn't make any sense – the 'rules' were all made up by dudes, trying to interpret a document that was also written down by regular dudes. I just don't believe that devisiveness and anger is what God was going for.
    Two important links I've been sharing with everyone I can.
    An excerpt from the 2007 documentary For the Bible Tells Me So, detailing what the Bible ACTUALLY says about homosexuality. Several prominent religious scholars comment, including the Reverend Professor Peter J. Gomes (go Harvard!) – What the Bible says
    And, Keith Olbermann's Special Comment on Prop 8 – click here
    "It's about the human heart"

  • Luna S. says:

    Still opposing Prop 8 over here, and supporting all protests. (Have prior plans, but I'm hoping my sister will go for both of us.)

    I read an interesting article on Slate this morning about a dynamic underlying the elections that led to the passage of Prop 8 and similar ballot measures. I was somewhat aware of this dynamic before Election Day, but I was hoping it wouldn't have the impact it did. http://www.slate.com/id/2204534/

    (Please forgive me if my html skills are lacking.)

  • Barb says:

    Not that I'm defending Utah in general, but I'd like to point out that Sundance Film Festival and Park City Ski Area are two of the places least likely in Utah to be giving money to the Mormon church. Believe it not, there are progressive elements there. Someday, we'll want gay marriage in Utah too and we don't want to bankrupt our allies in that state.

  • Maura says:

    The more I think about Prop 8 and the fact that it passed, the more trouble I have wrapping my head around it. The most important question is the one Olbermann asked (although he wasn't the first to ask it): "Why do you care?" *Why do they care?*

    I hope to be at the Raleigh, NC protest tomorrow. Transportation has to be worked out. DAMN not being able to drive.

  • Jennifer says:

    @Luna S.: http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2008/11/prop-8-myths.html. Nate Silver takes on this issue in a very interesting way. The one thing I will pull out of it for this post is that exit polls are tricky, somewhat unreliable, things.

    Also, I think a lot of what led to such a letdown with Prop 8 was…I don't want to call it naivete, but I will. Beforehand, the polls were running neck and neck and I think people against Prop 8 really felt that maybe we'd come farther on a lot of issues than we have. Obama didn't win because everyone who voted for him is socially progressive. He won precisely because social conservatives (like my father) voted for him anyway.

  • Lib says:

    I think it was wise they asked the voters themselves about it. If it passed, that is the will of the people, the majority. It may not seem fair, but I know gays themselves who aren't even in favor of gay marriage. I'm sure I'm in the minority here, but the vote is what it is. Just because John McCain lost, people aren't organizing protests to have the election reversed even though some feel like it's the end of the world. It's a democracy for a reason. If this is the will of the people, which it clearly is by the margin it passed by, then it should be allowed to stand. Otherwise, what point is there in having a vote? Railroad the majority just because of a vocal, unhappy minority?

    I don't live in CA, but I support Prop 8. I have gay friends, but I think that marriage and traditional families are the fabric of society, and that's just something that shouldn't change.

    The anger and violent protests against Mormons and other churches is beyond civil. It's one thing to disagree; it's another to take out your frustration on people simply because of their beliefs. It doesn't change where they stand.

    I imagine I'll be lambasted for this, but I read this blog regularly and thought the opinion of someone who didn't agree was in order.

  • Mary says:

    Barb said:
    "Not that I'm defending Utah in general, but I'd like to point out that Sundance Film Festival and Park City Ski Area are two of the places least likely in Utah to be giving money to the Mormon church"

    If only that were true. The CEO of Cinemark, which owns the main theater being used to host Sundance, gave almost $10,000 to Yes on 8.

  • Trish says:

    Living in an overwhelmingly uber-conservative area of SoCal, I'm deeply disgusted and embarrassed at the bigotry of Prop 8. I keep trying to wrap my mind around the fear, but I'm getting nowhere. I cannot and will never be able to understand. The TV commercials were offensive and ridiculous. Using children to inspire fear of the schools teaching "that a prince can marry a prince" should have offended every.single.person. I'm sorry it didn't. I did my best, talking to anyone who would listen (and a lot who wouldn't) about it. I'm really banking on it being determined "unconstitutional"- because IT IS.

    I actually heard someone on NPR (NPR!! I thought their listeners were more intelligent!!) explain his reason for being against gay marriage- (and this is as direct a quote as my brain remembers) "…and then there's always the guy who falls in love with his sheep." GAH.

  • Annie F says:

    @ Lib:
    "but I think that marriage and traditional families are the fabric of society, and that's just something that shouldn't change. "

    Traditional marriage was a business arrangement where the woman was effectively sold off. Traditional marriage was made to advance various men in society. Traditional marriages were arranged prior to the birth of the bride/groom. Love marriages are a rather new tradition. I find this argument completely faulty.

    Supporting Prop 8 means supporting taking away someone's civil rights. Think about this for a moment. ELIMINATING. RIGHTS. It is a very slippery slope to take away rights of law-abiding, tax-paying citizens. Remember, not so long ago women were so debased they could not vote. Keep that in mind. I find this fight most akin to that fight, and look how far we've come.

    I am a Californian, a straight woman, and I am extremely upset about this issue. I am not surprised with straight people getting angry. We should ALL be angry. RIGHTS WERE ELIMINATED!!

    I am from SF, and am deeply disappointed with the voters here. Only 23% of eligible SF Voters went to the polls. 23%.

    The Mormon church is an easy scapegoat, but again I present: 23%. Prop 8 passed by about 200K voters, which…had SF turnout been better, this may have passed.

    Let's look at ourselves a little more here, too. It is easy get angry after the fact, but where was all this mobilization before.

  • Kelly says:

    Lib wrote: "I have gay friends, but I think that marriage and traditional families are the fabric of society, and that's just something that shouldn't change."

    I guess I just don't understand this argument. How does allowing gay people to marry destory the "fabric of society"? It's not like gay people are going to go away just because we can't marry. We're still here, living and working and socializing and having relationships. If these "gay friends" you say you have were to marry someone they love, exactly how is that a problem?

    Honestly, I want to know. Because I never hear any explanation to the argument.

  • Mary says:

    Lib,

    Thank you for you candid dissent. The problem is, however, that when we are talking about fundamental human rights (and SCOTUS has actually determined that marriage is a fundamental right, which is why prisoners are allowed to marry) we generally don't allow the majority to make the final decision. If we did legal school segregation would probably still exist in many if not most parts of the country. Prop 8 is a particularly bad case because it actively takes away a right that was previously granted. That's not just lack of progress, it's actual regress.

    Furthermore, I just don't understand how allowing gays to marry has any effect on "traditional" marriage. Are we really afraid that a bunch of straight married couples with children are going to suddenly decide to get divorced and marry someone of the same sex? Or that gays and lesbians will decide that if they can't marry who they love they may as well marry someone of the opposite sex and form a "traditional" family?

    Ultimately it's not just about marriage, it's about separating society into groups and telling one group that it's not allowed the same rights as the other. Even if Civil Unions are legal and provide all of the same benefits of marriage (I don't know enough about CA law to know if that's true) it has been long established in American jurisprudence that the mere act of singling a group out, even in a purely nominal or rhetorical sense, inherently creates inequality. That's just not OK.

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    "Otherwise, what point is there in having a vote? Railroad the majority just because of a vocal, unhappy minority?"

    @Lib: I'm glad you raised that argument, because I'd like to shoot it down. (…Sorry.) "The people have spoken" is not as disingenuous a comment in favor of Prop 8 as most, but "majority rules" is not the precedent we can look to here, given that a majority also gave us slavery and Jim Crow laws, failed to criminalize spousal abuse, permitted children to work 16-hour days…you get the picture.

    And I don't feel that the majority is properly described as "railroaded" if this measure goes down, because the majority will not have to do anything, or pay anything. Making gay marriage legal does not impinge on hets in any way; those who do not wish to have contact with gays or go to their weddings have already taken measures in their lives to make sure they don't have to do those things, and legalizing gay marriage, while it may annoy those people, will not force them to meet any gays, eat any gay wedding cake, RSVP to any gay invitations, or otherwise get any gay cooties on themselves. And gays don't want anything to do with people like that anyway. And neither do I. So, everybody's happy. My cousin can get married; lesbophobes can stay home from the wedding; no problem.

    But that isn't "railroading." That's "having to live with" the fact that a relationship between people you don't know, that has nothing to do with you, is extended equal protection under the law, the same as it is FOR PRISONERS, whom you also don't know and who also have nothing to do with you. I don't actually mind that Erik Menendez got married; I don't give a shit either way, except that he can do something the Couch Baron can't simply by virtue of liking girls.

    As far as your *observant* beliefs, your religion, well, if your *church* doesn't want to call it marriage, that's for your church to decide. I think it's bullshit to put this at the Bible's feet, because the Bible also says not to eat pork or jerk off, and to take orders from shrubbery that's on fire, but I was raised in a UCC congregation so what do I know. But as far as the law of the land, a measure that deprives a minority of rights is unacceptable, I don't care if it passed by 93 percent.

    A majority once felt our president-elect was three fifths of a person. That shit won't fly.

    And I am going to mention once again, because I can't fucking get over it, that MILLIONS were spent marketing this proposal with professional fear-mongering. Everything else wrong with the world, all the other ACTUAL PROBLEMS you could put money towards, problems like oh I don't know the fact that TOMATO NATION READERS HAD TO BUY KIDS IN THE CALI SCHOOL SYSTEM DESKS AND SHIT? The fact that anyone wouldn't rather write a check to the Susan Komen Foundation, or the Sierra Club, or a goddamn car salesman instead of spending it on this — it's fucking crazy. You got that much money lying around, buy me a summer house, bitches. SO THAT I CAN FILL IT WITH GIRLS AND FRENCH THEM ALL.

    SO MAD.

  • Liss says:

    Dear Lib,

    Rights should not be decided by popular vote. Among other reasons, the courts exist to protect the rights of the minority from the majority. Interracial marriage has been used in the comments here as an analogy, so imagine instead if the proposition were to ban marriage between individuals of different races. Wouldn't this be a violation of their rights? And how could a simple majority of voters take away those rights?

    Sixty years ago, the voters of many states would have deprived interracial couples of the right to marry. Would this make it right to outlaw interracial marriage because the majority wished it so? No, because according to the US Supreme Court, the right (as articulated in Loving v. Virginia) is present in the Constitution.

    Similarly, in the case that brought about gay marriage in California, the justices ruled that all citizens possess a basic right to marry based on the California Constitution.

    No one is asking that you *personally* support gay marriage, only that you not actively take away the rights of others (which should not be subject to popular vote).

  • Academic says:

    I will admit that I had problems with Proposition 8 because of the language of "Eliminating rights." My friend in CA scoffed at it, saying if they wanted to pass it the language needed to be different. I'm frustrated at the language used by both sides to inform voters about the issue because I do not think that love only exists when people are married.

    The ballot item asked about my definition of marriage, which compounds the issue. I can see why people struggle with defining this word. Marriage hinds any number of metaphorical constructions. My friends tend to use Marriage as Committed Friendship whereas I tend to use Marriage as Sacrament. Committed Friendship need not have religious connotations; yet Sacrament requires a religious understanding to advance into the realm of sense making. Therein lies the rub because some can separate religious connotations from marriage while others cannot.

    Yet politics further erode our ability to understand these issues because the way ministers have been licensed. Last I checked, approximately 80% of Americans have a church wedding. One of the closing statements of the officiant is "by the power invested in me by the state of ______" which suggests that state authority extends into the wedding ceremony. Because of the 1st Amendment of the US Constitution, I find it to be absolutely appalling if churches would be sued over refusing to perform a wedding on just about any terms. For my part, I think state authority should rest on the justices of the peace while religious authority can continue to speak for their religions so I would like to see the "by the state of ______" dropped from the religious ceremony.

    I do hope domestic partnerships remain a legally viable classification for persons as I know the elderly have sought protections within these relationships. Furthermore, no one is mandating that people use a particular term to describe their relationships. The question is about letting gay couples use the word that best describes their life as a couple.

  • ferretrick says:

    "I have gay friends, but I think that marriage and traditional families are the fabric of society, and that's just something that shouldn't change."

    No, you don't have gay friends, and that "some of my best friends are" stuff is beyond tired. I don't doubt that you do know, like, even socialize with some gay people-but you are not their friend. Friendship requires equality. You can't believe that someone is inferior to you and be their friend. And you must believe that they are if

    1) You think its ok to take away their rights
    2) You think that your commitment to your spouse is more sacred than theirs.
    3) You think that they aren't a valuable part of society-which is what your "marriage and traditional families are the fabric of society" comment implies. If I and others like me aren't part of the fabric, just what the fuck do you think we are? The loose threads?

    Yes, you might know gay people, like them, and maybe they even like you. But don't you dare try to call yourself their friend and treat them this way.

  • 3pennyjane says:

    One of my coworkers was able to marry his partner during that too-brief window in California this summer. They've been together for almost a quarter of a century (though they probably wouldn't thank me for phrasing it that way), but he says that both of them were almost in tears with joy and nerves, which is after all how you want to be on your wedding day. What does it say that I, a straight single woman, thought better of marriage after hearing their story?

    In a day and age when nonmarital sex and dee-vorce are largely uncontested rights for straight people in the U.S., it's real hard to argue that traditional marriage is the bedrock foundation of our society and must be defended from the invaders at the gates.

    Democracy does dictate that the majority make most decisions, but we got a country specifically designed to ensure that that minority wouldn't automatically be able to squish the minorities. We've borked that in the past, what with three-fifths compromises and not letting wimmens vote, but those were mistakes, not templates, and we've tried to fix them. Retconning is no way to run a country.

  • Mary says:

    With all due respect, Academic, I think the issue is less complicated than that. The process of getting a marriage license and undergoing the sacrament of Holy Matrimony are distinct. Even if you get married in a church, you're not really married until you fill out all the paperwork. In many states clergy are authorized to oversee the adminstrative task of license procurement but so are lots of non-ordained folk.

    As for the First Amendment issue – it's a non-starter. Churches can already decline to perform the sacrament of holy matrimony for any reason they so choose.

    It's frustrating to see so much misinformation out there. It just seems so cut and dried to me.

  • JS says:

    @ Academic: I'm not sure where you're coming from on this, because I have seen zero evidence in this country that churches are being forced to perform or recognize gay marriages. I agree that we've gotten ourselves into this mess by inserting the government into what I believe should be a purely religious or personal matter, but since no one is going to eliminate state-sanctioned marriage for everyone, I think we need to work with the situation we have. And in that situation (for example), you see marriage as a religious Sacrement, and I see it as a personal, non-religious relationship. Fine. And since no one is forcing your church to marry gay couples…how is civil gay marriage a problem? (Leaving aside the question of what it says about a religion that it keeps the anti-gay parts of the bible but tosses the pro-slavery/anti-shellfish parts.)

    In any event, the "eliminating rights" language was accurate and appropriate. The CA Supreme Court granted legal rights to homosexuals. Prop 8 eliminated them.

  • Jennifer says:

    @Lib: You are more than welcome to your beliefs. No one is trying to legislate them. That's the part of this argument that I've never understood. Government can't make religions believe anything they don't want to believe; it can't make you marry people you don't want to marry. A Catholic priest does not have to perform a marriage ceremony for non-Catholics. Your beliefs can remain intact while gays marry…as they have, because you still believe this and gays are getting married in CT and MA every day.

    @Academic: Again, churches can bestow the marriage sacrament anyway they choose–as they already do. Orthodox Rabbis are not forced to perform marriages for Christians, plenty of churches are blessing gay marriages. As far as "the power vested in me" part, I think this really depends on who you want your marriage recognized by–God, the state, or both. The priest (or whoever) brings the God, the marriage license brings the state. The reason the closing statements you've been hearing include the state is because, I'm guessing, you've only been seeing marriages of straight people, so this distinction hasn't been an issue. The state isn't imposing itself into anyone's wedding ceremony. Really, it's just more efficient.

    I think the point here is that if an atheist woman and an atheist man can stand before an atheist justice of the peace and walk out married, then that is not religious and therefore cannot use religion as a reason to deny marriage to a certain group. On the secular side of things, there should be no distinction between gay and straight couples.

  • Annie F says:

    "The question is about letting gay couples use the word that best describes their life as a couple." – Academic

    NO NO NO NO NO NO NO. Sorry, that is not what it is about. I usually respect people's opinions, but this is just flat out wrong.

    This is about affording homosexual couples the same rights afforded to married couples. Domestic partnerships, while better than nothing, are not the same as marriages. As we have seen in the past, separate but equal is not constitutional.

    As JS says, you may get married in the Church, but the civil rights afforded to you by being a married couple are not confered until you have a state wedding license. No one is asking churches to perform these ceremonies if they do not want to (also, most churches won't marry those not of that faith, so the precedent is set, and your logic is incorrect).

    I am also tired of the "the Bible says this." Because…does that mean marriages of non-Judeo Christian faith are invalid? Those of atheists? I mean, get over yourselves, really.

    You stripped away the CIVIL RIGHTS of many of my friends. For shame.

  • Jen S says:

    Sars, I'm happily married to a guy but that last post–kinda made me wanna french you a bit. :) Send me the summer house address!

    The problem I see with the legality of all this (not a lawyer but watch lots of L&O) is that it is seriously undermining State's Rights. I was married in Washington State and have a license issued from that state. If my husband and I moved to Iowa or Arizona, we wouldn't have to get remarried. The license is a legal document of marriage accepted in all fifty states. We could move to the district of Columbia, Canada, Bogota, Guam, Qatar, Lisbon, Bolivia, wherever–that is a legal document. Even in a country that refused to recognize our religious rites could not dissolve our legal union. Likewise, couples legally wed in their own nations do not have to be remarried in the USA for their marriages to be recognized.

    That's what's meant by fundamental rights, inalienable rights. They cannot be taken away, by any form of government. Even if you are a convicted felon or captured terrorist, no governing body can dissolve your marriage without your legal consent (theoretically…) If California's state Constitution says that marriage is a fundamental right, so even a prisoner can be legally married and transferred out of state to another prison without losing that legal bond, to deny a group of citizens that right is unconstitutional.

    And it also means that every state has to recognize a legal document recognizing that fundamental right. If you marry your gay partner in Massachusetts or Connecticut, that document should be, must be, legitimate in every state and U.S. territory. And it must be recognized as a legal document in other countries, just as a marriage in Canada has to be recognized here.

    As long as we half-ass around with separate but equal "civil unions" and other such horseshit, we are only creating more and more ethical and legal quagmires. Marriage may be a religious thing, but it's also a civil thing, and half measures will avail us nothing.

  • Jenn says:

    I'm a Christian, raised in a Baptist church (technically Southern Baptist but much less stringent), and I have a problem with connecting marriage to religion, because of the separation between church and state. We can't dictate what marriage is based on what Scripture says because we have freedom of religion in this country, and that means freedom from saying who can and can't get married because of what the Bible says. If the government wants us to follow everything the Bible says, then why do we have a Constitution?

    "No one is asking that you *personally* support gay marriage, only that you not actively take away the rights of others (which should not be subject to popular vote)."

    Well said. As stated in the name of a Facebook group my (gay) friend joined, "Against Gay Marriage? Then Don't Get One and Shut the F*** Up."

  • KPP says:

    I don't know what traditional marriage people are talking about when they're trying to defend traditional marriage because marrying the person you love regardless of their race or class is a western tradition about…what? 30 years old? Perhaps 50 if you reaaaally stretch it.

    If you want to defend traditional marriage, then you'd better be prepared to be owned by your husband, give up to the rights to your children if you divorce, be unable to marry outside your race or class, possibly have first night rights by some king or rich noble, have your future spouse picked out by your parents, be married to solve a family fued, have your marriage annulled if you didn't produce children…

    Marrying the person you love seems like a great tradition. And gay people fit right in there.

  • MCB says:

    Like others, I'm confused by the argument that religious freedom is in danger or that churches would be forced to marry same-sex couples.

    My fiance and I live together. That doesn't affect our legal right to tie the knot. But when we were researching places to get married, I learned that many churches and pastors will not marry couples who have lived together before marriage. Similarly, even though it's legal for people to get married as many times as they want, the Catholic church can still refuse to preside over a second/third/fourth marriage because their religion does not believe in divorce. Just because a marriage will be legal if performed does not force anyone in particular to perform it.

  • Luna S. says:

    @ Jennifer – thanks for that link. I guess I was a little black/white this morning. I understand that there's a variety of dynamics that led to Prop 8. If a few less older people voted, if a few less minorities, if the Religious Right spent a few less dollars (sigh), if the opposition spent a few more, etc. etc. Doesn't make it any less sad.

    It's equally counterintuitive (to me, anyway) that the "will of the people" could be overturned and that the "will of the people" would be to oppress other people. However, it's helpful to remember that this nation that was built on rights for all, was started when "all" only equaled "white, land-owning males." We've come a long way, only a few more steps for this piece of equality, and it's great we're fighting for it.

    Oh, and word to everyone's that saying "traditional marriage, where?" Marriage has been redefined so many times over the ages, and now it seems like a throwaway concept for many (heterosexual) people. I had a discussion a couple of weeks ago with coworkers about people who take bets on when a marriage is going to end.

    At the wedding.

    Sacred institution….where?

    Not to minimize marriage or its importance to anyone, but sometimes I feel like the populace should be given a marriage time-out, or something to motivate appreciation for the concept a little more. Marriage is being presented as this happy, idyllic existence shared by a man and woman, which produces happy, ideal children. We all know what bullshit that is. Hell, take marriage away from the hets and give it to gays. Maybe they'll show us a thing or three about how to do it right.

  • AmyNewman says:

    From a legal standpoint, in Federal code, there are about 1,138 instances where marriage matters (U.S. Governmental Accountability Report Dec. 2003; http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d04353r.pdf) and under any State's law, there are about 500 instances where marriage matters.

    I'm in Florida, I'm straight, I'm married, and I'm outraged at the disparate treatment of my friends. I still get choked up to think that Amendment 2 passed. Heck,yeah, I'll be out there tomorrow with a sign.

    My marriage was not protected by Amendment 2. And the children who have been "protected" by its passing probably would be a lot better off if John Stemberger and Mat Staver, two proponents of this legislation, had spent their time and money supporting programs and services for these children they claim to care so much about.

  • Maria says:

    Couch Baron would (will!) have an awesome wedding.

    Apologies in advance if this is disjointed.

    I'm with those calling bullshit on the "foundation of our society" argument. This country is not going to fall apart at the seams because Ellen and Portia got dressed up, hired a caterer and florist, and declared their love for each other in a contract sanctioned by California.

    Oh, and this is another favorite I've heard: "I know gay people who don't want marriage either; they want it to be something separate." BULLSHIT – nobody WANTS to be a second-class citizen. The only people who want different sets of rights and privileges are the haves, not the have-nots.

    My parents and at least 4 other couples I can name off the top of my head were MARRIED, not "civilly united" or "domestically partnered", by justices of the peace or other non-clergy officiants. Their marriage licenses and marriage certificates (and in 2 cases, divorce decrees) are LEGAL DOCUMENTS. Nobody's church had to recognize shit for millions of people like them to be just as married (or divorced) as anyone who got married by a priest in a full Mass w/ 10 freaking bridesmaids.

    Because these couples are heterosexual, they got to be LEGALLY WED with 2 pieces of paper, easy-peasy. With civil union/ domestic partnerships, gay couples wanting to have the same civil rights would have to hire an attorney ($$$), have MULTIPLE documents drafted and filed with the state ($$$), and carry copies of them around to prove their status. Separate is never equal.

    As others have mentioned, any officiant has the power to marry vested in him/her BY THE STATE. You can get married in as many religious ceremonies as you want (FLDS, hello), but it doesn't mean squat until the STATE recognizes the union.

    @Lib – "The anger and violent protests against Mormons and other churches is beyond civil. It's one thing to disagree; it's another to take out your frustration on people simply because of their beliefs."

    *Beliefs* are not the issue. It's thinking that everyone should be governed by laws dictated by those beliefs. It's that the Mormon church and wealthy Mormons gave TENS OF MILLIONS of dollars to LEGISLATE LOVE and CODIFY DISCRIMINATION. Individual members of the church who *opposed* Prop 8 paid their 10% tithing to the church, indirectly supporting Prop 8. This is the EXACT OPPOSITE of separation of church and state. This is divorce being illegal in Ireland because the Catholic Church prohibits it. What the protests are saying is this: Keep your religion out of our STATE LAW, and we'll keep letting your religion avoid paying STATE TAXES.

    Man, I can't wait to get to Sars's new summer house and make out with a bunch of chicks. AND I DON'T EVEN LIKE GIRLS.

  • greer says:

    I am most upset about the passing of Prop 8 because my fellow minorities felt the need to support this issue. On election night, the only lesbian couple I know held an election party at their house to celebrate what they thought would be Obama's sure victory. And they campaigned for real, no joke. I feel like I need to apologize! And I don't even live in Cali or support Prop 8. And did you see Sherri Shepherd on The View? (I know – I don't watch it but someone linked to it) Who removed the brain from this woman's head? I feel like a lot of white people have probably felt for years having to defend themselves all, "No, I'm not racist. We're not all like that."

    I know that the fight against Prop 8 has minority supporters. Their voices are not being heard. We have to do better.

    People: Listen to Whoopi, NOT Sherri.

  • LauraP says:

    A few years ago I registered online as a minister of the Universal Life Church in order to officiate at my dear friends' wedding.

    Maybe it's just a Portland (OR) thing, but there was no formula to say to make the marriage official. In fact, all I had to do is sign the marriage license in the presence of witnesses. And by the time we got around to that, I was pretty well drunk. Still legal!

    This couple had been together 10 years. They had made their emotional commitment long before the wedding. It was not a religious ceremony (hence, the Jewish agnostic ULF "minister"). The only reason they were getting married was so that she could be the beneficiary of his fat union pension and benefits.

    Marriage has been used as a contract, a sacrament, and a vehicle for assigning legal rights . Get married in your church, temple, or synagogue all you want — and oh yeah, chances are that 50% of you will want to do it again with another partner — but why can't the rest of us could benefit from the legal shorthand that "marriage" stands for without getting stuck in the pseudo-religio-cultural weeds?

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    @Jen S: Bring your husband; he can french my boyfriend. There will be an ice sculpture in the shape of Freddie Mercury. See you there.

    I just don't understand why anyone cares. I just don't see how same-sex marriage threatens the institution when Liz Taylor doesn't, or Newt Gingrich, or Luke and Laura. Luke and Laura is a power of ten more fucked up than, say, Luke and Robert Scorpio would have been. I'm just saying.

    I simply do not understand, if you are content in a het marriage that you work hard at, and you love your spouse and you take your vows seriously, how what other couples do has thing one to do with you. If the only reason you consider your marriage valuable and sacrosanct is that it's between a man and a woman, and not because it's between the SPECIFIC man and woman who make it a holy union, then you've got way bigger problems than what George Takei gets up to.

    I try to be understanding of the fact that some people come from traditions where this is really wrong, but past a certain point I just…I just can't, I don't get it.

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    PS: Word, Greer. Although I would like Whoopi to have elbowed Asselbeck in the face for the whole "some of those signs are mean to Mormons, so you're hypocrites!" line of reasoning.

    Please do not ask why I was even watching The View.

    …Okay, it was for the Big Apple Circus part, but don't ask about that either, it's way too long a story.

  • greer says:

    Sars,

    Asselcrack should be elbowed in the face at least once per episode.

    I won't ask why you were watching the View if you don't ask why I was watching Bill O'Reilly riling up the whole "Blacks versus Gays" thing. Again, I clicked a link. I got mad. I will never learn. Needless to say, Flames on the side of my face.

    If we're lucky, Whoopi will smack Sherri and Elizabeth's heads together Three Stooges style.

  • Jess says:

    My view of it is this: if we expect gays and lesbians to pay taxes, obey the laws of the land, vote, register for Selective Service, and generally fulfill all the same responsibilities of any other American citizen, they should get ALL the same rights and benefits of that citizenship. Marriage, adoption, health insurance, the whole 9. Seriously, at this point, if we don't see some serious same-sex nuptial action ASAP, every gay and lesbian person ought to get a damn refund on the money they sign over to Uncle Sam every paycheck.

    Also, I challenge anyone who is against gay marriage to look one of those numerous gay friends/family members/colleagues/neighbors/celebrities you know in the face and say the following words without hesitation, reservation, or qualification: "You don't deserve to get married because you're gay. I deserve to get married because I'm straight." If the thought of saying those exact words makes you feel guilty, awkward, uncomfortable, nervous, or otherwise ashamed of yourself, congrats – you're a hypocrite, and you ought to feel like crap about that. I hate to put it that bald, but there it is. I simply can't see any spin on the anti-gay-marriage argument that doesn't at bottom say, "I am afraid of your kind and hope you will just go away."

    I'm with you, Sars – I don't get it. I never have and I never will. Whenever I think about this topic, I think of a cover story The Economist (which is no bastion of liberalism, mind) ran several years ago. The cover featured a wedding cake with two grooms on top, under the legend, "Why Not?" To date, I've yet to hear a satisfactory answer.

    See y'all out there tomorrow. Let's make some noise for equality.

  • Sarah says:

    I think I'm going to the march tomorrow, Sars, so thanks for the link.

    For everyone who thinks marriage is the fabric of our society and to allow gays to engage in it is going to make it worse, I encourage you to think about what is worse: divorce or same sex marriage. See this opinion piece: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-hofler/new-calif-prop-the-elimin_b_143709.html
    Not that I support outlawing divorce, but its far from enough to say, straight marriage is ok, straight divorce is ok, but not same sex marriage – that's a threat. Seriously. Marriage isn't in danger because of gays, its because straight people take it so freaking lightly.

  • Galleta says:

    "…Okay, it was for the Big Apple Circus part, but don't ask about that either, it's way too long a story."

    Great. You had to toss that. Now I have to know.

    I live in the reddest of red states. I checked that page you cited as to what activities were going to take place in my particular city to oppose Prop. 8. As of tonight, Friday, 9:42 p.m. CST, they were still looking for an organizer. Sigh. Heck, I don't even know any actual gay people (in my circle of acquaintances, at least) willing to admit it out loud.

    Best case scenario, Prop. 8 will force people (CA residents and others) to take a look at this, that a sizable portion of the population is not seen as equal.

    Worst case scenario, the rest of this country will become like my home state.

  • Jenn says:

    What I really don't get is that everyone seems to agree that racism and sexism are wrong, but when it comes to two men or two women marrying, that's icky. Why is it okay to say two men can't get married when discrimination against other pairings is generally considered bad? I don't see the difference.

    "Luke and Laura is a power of ten more fucked up than, say, Luke and Robert Scorpio would have been. I'm just saying."

    Oh, man. I have funny pictures in my head now. The only thing funnier is the thought of Luke and Sonny.

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