Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Can we, really?

History was made last night. Here in Atlanta, the cars were honking their horns, people were screaming in the streets, waving Obama signs until almost 2:30 in the morning. It was unbelievable, and I have never seen anything like it. Watching tear-stained faced chant, "Yes, we can!" as President-elect Obama gave his victory speech last night was a moving sight to behold, and yet, I found that in my elation, worry was still nagging at me. In my eyes, the election wasn't over – I was still very concerned about the results for Proposition 8 in California.

This morning, with 91% of precincts reporting, the proposition is passing, 52%-48%. The exact wording on the ballot was as follows:

"ELIMINATES RIGHT OF SAME-SEX COUPLES TO MARRY. INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT. Changes the California Constitution to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry in California. Provides that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California. Fiscal Impact: Over next few years, potential revenue loss, mainly sales taxes, totaling in the several tens of millions of dollars, to state and local governments. In the long run, likely little fiscal impact on state and local governments."

So far, it looks as if a majority of people voted in California today to ELIMINATE civil rights. They looked at their ballot, read what was above, and voted "Yes".

So, it looks as if, no, I can't.

I know that there are larger issues at stake here, and I know that there are so, so many reasons to rejoice.

The fact remains that it looks like I am losing civil rights in the state of California (a state where Jeremy will be almost half the year this season) due to a measure that was well-supported supported financially nationwide in an election with record-breaking voter turnout (82% of registered voters voted in Los Angeles County – a county in which Prop 8 passed quite comfortably and also the county where we got married a month ago). Seeing that anti-gay marriage proposals also passed in Florida and Arizona is, while unsurprising, adding insult to the injury. I try hold out hope that as the final votes are counted in California that the tides will turn, but in the face of these numbers, it is hard to maintain that glimmer.

So, to my eye, not much has changed. Sure, there is some progress. We have elected a President into the White House who is partially black and who is opposed to my marriage, and instead supports a separate-but-equal policy towards my civil rights. While I can appreciate that it is a step forward from where we were, the irony of the situation is not lost on me, and I am left feeling skeptical of his promise of "yes, we can".

As a citizen, I can rejoice for a great many things today, but a second-class citizen I remain, nonetheless.


Lou said...

Seriously, i could cry right now reading this and it's hard not to in all honesty. From the second results on Prop. 8 started coming in last nite i followed them as closely as i could (even waking up a couple times in the middle of the nite hoping the tide had turned).

I'm so frustrated, saddened, annoyed, and deserve better, we all deserve better. I hope u know that I and many other will always recognize your marriage and I will go wherever I have to, as many times as I have to in order to see that you and Jeremy are married as u deserve to if part two has to take place in Massachusetts or wherever, count me in.

Assuming Prop. 8 passes, there will be interesting issues relating to your situation since u got married before this BS. I'll be sure to keep u updated on anything I hear.

LA County was a huge disappointment...but I and I'm sure many others are still in your corner. Talk soon.

Anonymous said...

Wow, it does kind of put a damper on the joy I was feeling today. In some ways, other ways, not.

Anonymous said...

That is truly sickening on a day by and large so joyful. Especially given the wording of the initiative, which I hadn't thought about until you pointed it out: "Shall we take these rights AWAY from people?" And seeing, during Obama's acceptance speech, what essential solace and strength he draws from his marriage--how can he possibly not understand that you deserve the same thing?

I still think we can, and we will; but it will be a process full of setbacks. Someday you and Jeremy will have a day of triumph like what people who fought for civil rights for blacks in the 60s experienced last night. I just hope you don't have to wait until you're 104.

Anonymous said...

You are not alone in your grief, and you are most definitely not alone in your fight.

More than taking away a right to marry, this prop says outright that "You are different and therefore NOT equal".
We can not and will not sit idly by while the country I live in and love continues this divide.

Continue to love and be loved, let that power lead to change.