Proposition 8

Anyone can tell you that on Election Night, I was walking on sunshine. I was so excited and joyous, so proud and amazed that I called my family and just screamed things like "We Did it!" "Oh my God!" "I Can't Believe it!!" I hugged strangers, I danced in the streets of downtown Atlanta, I went to a club and danced to Live Your Life by T.I. I rejoiced in a moment that I know we can never forget. Victory was ours. I went to sleep and had happy dreams, a nice peaceful slumber because I had laid my burdens down.

I woke up early Wednesday morning, simply because I was excited to be alive, and remembered that Obama was not the only thing on the ballot on Election Day. I went to the NYTimes website and after smiling at a picture of the 44th president, our first Black president, I scrolled down only for my heart to sink. Proposition 8 was passed in California, passing a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in the state, overturning the Supreme Court ruling that has led to thousands of same sex couples exchanging legally protected vows.

Prop. 8 won with a margin of 52.5 percent in support to 47.5 percent against the measure. Not a landslide, but it doesn't really make a difference. Same sex couples in California have been stripped of their equal rights, which helps to close the door to similar measures passing in other states. Maybe the most troubling part to me is that exit polls show that 70 per cent of African Americans were in favor of the proposition to ban same sex marriage.

Many of the supporters claim that this amendment is necessary to protect traditional marriage. African Americans have the lowest marriage rates of any race in the United States and the highest rate of families headed by a single parent., but I imagine that by allowing same-sex couples to legally marry this would plummet even further and reak more havok in the fragile family structure of African American families. I understand the church's right to do as they please, and I guarantee, I don't want to marry in your church. But just like other little girls, I dreamed of getting married, and I don't think that the populace should have a say in its legitimacy.

I am always confounded by how African Americans so easily use religion as a tool for bigotry, forgetting the way it was used against us for centuries. Understanding that we were a threat to the family structure of whites, to the morality of their communities because we were beasts and less than human. We were 3/5 of a person for goodness sakes, and now we stand proudly in discriminating not against some other group but against each other. I simply hope that one day my Black family and friends will recognize that I am no less Black that you are, I am no less human than you are and my love is no less real that yours. When you support injustice aimed at the LGBT community, or maybe fags and dykes are the words you prefer, you are disenfranchising me.

And if you strongly disagree, I am more than willing to listen to why I deserve less rights than you...


identitycrisis said...

I have been trying wrap my brain around this for the last week. I want to defend black and Latino people when the media blames them for passing Prop but I also want to scream "How could you? How do you not see this as an issue of human rights that is inextricably bound to your own rights?" But my anger and frustration won't change the homophobia and heterosexism that exists in all communities. So I have to ask, how do we begin the conversations that spark the brain and touch the heart? How do we fight the racism in LGBT communities and homophobia in minority communities? How do we teach our children not to even start drawing those lines of division? I read somewhere that people in the No on 8 campaign were told not to go to polling places in churches and schools. How then does the message get to those places that are so critical in shaping people's minds and hearts? What is the next step to stop this from happening in more states? While I understand that legal measures are needed at this time to protect and grant people the rights that they deserve, I know that real change can only be realized when people's minds and hearts have been touched and changed. I'm taking this as a reminder that there is work to be done and tough conversations to be had around the dinner table, in the office and yes, in the classroom. If I make it to church anytime soon, the conversation will be had there too.

"We live in an age in which silence is not only criminal but suicidal...for if they take you in the morning, they will be coming for us that night."
--James Baldwin

T said...

Ok, I'm super late, but I just found this blog...

My question is, is marriage a right or is marriage a religious and/or legal institution?

If I wanted to do something in a Synagogue, but I can't because I'm a Christian and not a Jew, are the Jewish people discriminating against me or are they just making a point.

I haven't chosen a side on prop 8, 'cause I don't live in California and I don't have to, but I just wanted to answer your question about rights and keep the dialogue going.

Spiderlgs said...

C- I have thought the same thing. I am definitely angry. But I think that what I am realizing is the true importance of me being out and being outspoken about issues and about who I am. I am not a rainbow wearing, pride parade going kinda girl, just cause i'm not really into schtick or crowds, but I am just trying to be who I am because I think you have to humanize the LGBT community because it makes it much more difficult to be hateful and discriminatory when everyone queer individual stands up and says.. hey wait.. you're talking about me!

Spiderlgs said...

T- Marriage is both a legal and religious institution because you can get married at a civil court house attesting to no religious beliefs and you can get married in a church/synagogue/temple/mosque following the specific laws and doctrine of your religion. And even if you have a religious ceremony you still have to go to a government office and fill out a marriage license that has NOTHING to do with your religious beliefs.

I don't understand why you would want to get married in a synagogue if you are not jewish, but a lot of people get married in religious houses that they do not subscribe to because its their fiance's belief. But they have to follow the rules of that religion. But this is not the issue for me. I don't want to get married in anyone's church. I dont want the government to force your church or synagogue or anyone else's church to HAVE to perform a ceremony they don't want to perform. Just like the government doesnt force the Mormon church to allow non-Mormons into their churches because of the separation of church and state.

I don't believe that the law of the United States should be chosen based on the lines in any holy book. My rights should not be taken away or withheld because of what anyone or any group believes in a country that says touts equality.

That's all.

identitycrisis said...

I love that you are blogging and responding to comments on Christmas Eve. I was just thinking of doing the same thing. Well, I guess I am.

I think you are right about putting a human face to issues. I don't recall myself ever being really homophobic but I do remember those moments that challenged my understanding of my own views. I remember one of my friends telling me about her two moms and two dads. I remember a trans woman that I met in my counselor training and I remember her coming back the following year with her husband. I recall laughing and crying with friends all across the spectrum. It was those experiences that made the things I'd learned in classes and workshops real.

I also think that you will find your own way to have those conversations and to be a voice. In fact, this post was just that.

Spiderlgs said...

I am finding my voice and becoming more aware of my insecurities. Its odd because you walk around happy with your choices and confident with who you are, but still wondering what others are thinking.. and what they may do or how they may react because of it. Well in 2009, I'm letting that ish go.

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