Thursday, November 06, 2008

Before I Get To The Butt Drawings

(and uh, not to water down the importance of this issue with my post title...)

I just wanted to quickly address two of the comments in my last post.

#1: Anonymous 7:08 PM said...
What's the we? I don't understand the fascination with gay unions from the heterosexual left-leaners. I'm all for live-and-let-live, but don't we have bigger fish to fry?

I woke up this morning thinking about this comment, for so many reasons, apparently. I don't know which point to make first.

- Speaking on behalf of (at least some) heterosexual left-leaners, I would LOVE not to have to have this debate at all. Live and let live? FINE BY ME. I'm not the one who has an issue, or who feels the need to "defend" traditional marriage, or who's out there creating new laws to redefine old ones specifically to strip rights of a minority group. It's not the liberals who give a shit what anyone does in their bedrooms. Why are the conservatives (and it is, by a vast majority, the conservatives) so obsessed with what the gays are doing? What on earth are we defending marriage against?

Here is a comic bit from one of my favorite local comedians, Mo Mandel. He is impersonating the gruff men from the rural area he grew up in.

I hate gays.

Why?

'Cuz they're always comin into my dreams and tryin to have sex with me!



- I absolutely agree we have bigger fish to fry. BUT. Right now, today, Ish and I can get married whenever we damn well please, and some of our best friends can't. I have a right they don't because...wait, why again? And that makes it my issue.

- Yes, I believe I -- and even "we" -- have a civic duty to protect the equal rights of all citizens. If minority groups never got support from majority groups, where do you think we'd be as a nation today?

I don't actually think we're on this immediate slippery slope, no. But if today we're a-okay with taking rights away from one minority group, what's to stop us from taking them away from another?

In Germany, they came first for the Communists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist;

And then they came for the trade unionists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist;

And then they came for the Jews, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew;

And then . . . they came for me . . . And by that time there was no one left to speak up.

- Pastor Martin Niemölle


I have heard a lot of rhetoric about how it's not fair to compare the civil rights issues that gays are currently facing with the civil rights issues that minority races have faced. I have heard many times that comparing "sexual preference" to "race" is totally different. But I have not heard one argument as to why.

I suspect the undercurrent is that some people still believe being gay is a choice.

It isn't.


#2: Tom said...
I'm surprised that Prop 8 passed too, and I don't live in CA and don't have a horse in the race. But don't lay this at the feet of organized religion. The people of California have spoken -- the same ones that ALWAYS vote Democrat (except Obama). If it was voted down, everyone would be singing the praises of a democratic process. When it doesn't turn out the way you want it, all of a sudden, it's moral and religious people, and a bad system. That's entitlement at it's finest. The first lesson people should learn, and we're failing our grade schoolers, is that life is not fair.

- "Life is not fair" is not good enough. No, life is not fair, but I believe that there's a better shot of it being fair here than anywhere else in the world (except perhaps Canada, maybe New Zealand). When it comes to any civil rights debate, "Sorry, but life isn't fair" is not a reasonable defense.

- I disagree adamantly with the direct democracy approach in California and everywhere else they're imposing similar processes. Ballot measures are anti-republican and I am fundamentally opposed to them. Yes, even when measures I agree with pass (like Prop 2, and voting down Prop 4). We have legislative officials for a very good reason.

I think ballot measures are a great way to take the pulse of a city, county and state, but that doesn't, shouldn't, and can't automatically make those measures constitutional -- not at a state level, and not at a federal level.

- "All of a sudden it's moral and religious people"? No, not all of a sudden, but yes, it is moral and religious people; or at least, it is people claiming that they are protecting marriage for moral and religious reasons.

Look, this is NOT me harshing on Christians because I think I'm so progressive and believe that anyone who has faith in Jesus is backwards. I do not believe that, not in any way.

But I am not making stuff up about who:
  • Created this measure
  • Supported this measure
  • Poured tons of money into this measure
  • Lied about this measure

Yes on 8 was strongly backed by a coalition of religious and conservative groups, including the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, the Knights of Columbus and the California Catholic Conference.

So no: it is not ALL Christians, and it is not ALL Republicans. But those ARE the majority of Yes of Prop 8 folks. In fact, based on the latest Field Poll (you can download this .pdf of the results if you want), here are some demographics to chew on -- not because I'm being elitist, entitled, or arbitrary:

73% of Obama voters do NOT support Prop 8.

84% of McCain supporters do.

61% of people with a post-graduate education do NOT support Prop 8.

62% of people with a high school education do.

62% of voters over 65 support Prop 8.

44 comments:

  1. Is that 33% correct? I would think that 33% of people with a post graduate education DO support prop 8.

    I agree with you on everything else. I want to also assert that my christian and moral beliefs lead me to say that somebody else's rights are my fish to fry - I can't just perpetuate injustice and feel moral about it. People who defend oppression by referencing my belief system really make me angry.

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  2. Thanks, Bethany. And you were right, I inverted the number. 33% support, 61% do not.

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  3. Yeah, my celebratory mood about change is being tempered by my crankiness with the small mindedness.

    I'm figuring the legal challenges will soon follow and knock this type of majority tyranny out soon.

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  4. I'm thinking there should be a new Prop on the ballot next time. How about a constitutional amendment banning the Bible? Apparently it makes people think uncharitably about their fellow humans.

    Or here's a good one for the religious folks, how about we ban divorce? I'm pretty sure God didn't approve of that either. Lust, greed and gluttony? Welcome to the USA.

    Seriously though, I have a lot of friends in California and they're all stunned that this passed. Could it be that the measures were worded so poorly that people voted the opposite of their intention?

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  5. Hey, Kristy?
    Thanks so much for this post, which I desperately needed today.
    Since apparently commenters on this subject are compelled to explain who they are, I am a queer woman, not in California, with a college education but not graduate degree, a Christian, 37 years old, white, Obama supporter. Is that everything that's relevant? I am also an excellent cook with poor eyesight.
    Anyway, I read your blog and love it very much.
    Many of the other blogs that I read are by queers.
    And there are a lot of us out there who feel like our straight liberal friends have forgotten us in their callooh! callay! over the Obama victory. I am over the moon about the Obama victory. But millions of people said on Tuesday that I am so unacceptable that they are willing to actually change their constitution to strip away rights.
    I also know that civil rights for any minorities come with the backing of those in the majority.
    Thank you for not only letting me know where you stand, yesterday, but for letting all of your very many readers know why it matters that you stand there.
    Mwah.

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  6. Thank you for writing this post. I live in Chicago, and the attitude here is overwhelmingly YAY OBAMA. And that is great, but I hear everyone talking about how gosh darn progressive we all are, and what a huge step forward this is for our country...

    And all I can think about is Prop 8 and similar amendments and how people are too busy patting themselves on the back that people seem to overlook the legalization of discrimination that is slowly- oh so slowly- making its way across the country and into our states’ constitutions.

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  7. Plus 61% of people under 30 voted No.

    It might take a while, but progressives continue to win the good fight in the long run. Hopefully, we won't have to wait for our generation to get old before equality is achieved.

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  8. People have this emotion called guilt and generally when their opinion doesn't agree with what is considered a societal norm, it's easier to go with the masses. So, there is a very real possibility that the field poll "results" are highly skewed. Because if they weren't, don't you think it would have passed? If you had an unpopular decision and there's someone on the phone or a mailer, who has your name and address, how willing do you think you'd be to say "Sure! I'm all for racism, sexism and bigotry in general!"

    from the Field Poll website on their survey procedures:
    "The list is updated regularly and includes the names of virtually all registered voters statewide, along with a wealth of other information about the voter, including a voter's address, city and county of residence, gender, date of birth (age), party registration, whether or not the voter is a permanent absentee voter, and extent to which the voter participated in past elections."

    (We're dealing with the same thing in Florida, you know.. Field polls hinted that our Prop 2 would have passed, but it didn't. It failed miserably. Why? Because when you don't have to excuse and answer publicly for your opinions, people are more honest.)

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  9. err correctio. Our prop 2 should have failed. (it was set up to define marriage as a union between an innie and an outie.) However, the stupid thing passed.

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  10. This is why gay marriage is an issue for everyone. It's in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Specifically, Article 16:
    (1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.

    (2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.

    For a cool graphic about the Univ. Decl of Human Rights, go to: http://www.humanrightsactioncenter.org/

    By the way, it's the 60th anniversary of the Univ. Decl of Human Rights this year, which is also the year we elected President Obama! I still tear up at the thought.

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  11. Wow. I rarely comment, but what Bethany posted completely resonates with me - "People who defend oppression by referencing my belief system really make me angry".

    I would just substitue "angry" with "disheartened". I am a Christian and believe strongly in loving others because God first loved me...and 'others' include everyone, religious or non-religious, conservative or liberal, gay or straight.

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  12. The thing is, "the people" aren't always the best judge of when to grant rights to minorities. If "the people" had voted on whether to give women or blacks the vote, I suspect neither would have the vote yet.

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  13. Thank you for writing this! I heart you!

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  14. I felt compelled to write a similar rant on my own blog. I am a straight, white, married, Christian woman from Oregon and I agree that this is everyone's issue. it just hurts some people more than others.

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  15. thanks for your post kristy! couldn't have said it better. the sad truth of the matter, too, is that gay ppl who legally marry (in MA or CT) still don't have most of the same legal rights as straight couples-- because gay marriage is not legal at the Federal level. so prop 8 passing in CA is such a freaking slap in the face, because it is taking away the small sliver of our rights that we managed to obtain. and now... going from slim to none. what a setback.

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  16. ok...
    I am now going to google Prop 8 because everyone is talking about it and I am lost!!! :)

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  17. You know, I'm up here in Canada, in a province that allows civil unions or gay marriages, whatever you want to call them, and it offends me that a group of people are being denied the ability to essentially protect themselves the same way that heterosexual couples are able to by marrying legally. How closed minded is it that 3 states voted to impinge upon the rights of others.

    The presidency didn't concern me as much (I was pretty sure it would go democrat anyway), but the propositions to ban gay marriage and the anti-abortion bills did, because that's the kind of crap (sorry, but that's what it is) that trickles up here to Canada - particularly into our less liberal provinces out west.

    This just goes to prove that church and state are not even close to being separated in the US, and marriage is a LEGAL transaction...because not all of us are religious, we don't all chose to be married in the church. That's all they have been asking for, and it amazes me that "the land of milk and honey" can't manage to give that freedom to people of any sexuality.

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  18. also really annoyed by how much of that money for the yes campaign came from OUTSIDE of california...

    i just want to tell those folks to butt the hell out of our business.

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  19. go ahead and get political, girl. someone(s) has to do it.

    the bottom line is, you can compare the civil rights to the queer community to those of women and people of color, etc. because when you consider the 'etc' part, religion is encompassed in that. and folks, if that's NOT a choice, i don't know what is.

    not that i believe sexuality is a choice (at all...) but if you use that argument, it breaks down right there.

    i had a 15 year old student kill himself this year because he came out and got ridiculed by his family.
    really.
    the effort to remind people that they are different, not worth the same basic rights as the rest of the population....the rhetoric and hate that goes with that kind of intolerance.... it is not ever worth a beautiful boy in a coffin who is so young that burying him in a t-shirt is actually appropriate.

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  20. Terry-
    I take your point, but are you also bothered by how much of the money for No on 8 came from out of state? Because a lot of it did. Not enough, clearly. But, well, mine, for example.

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  21. man i thought i was gonna see some butt diagrams. drat! :(

    if i was a native californian i would vote no on prop. 8.
    i just wanted to let you know that i agree with you 100% (and i'm from the oh so very red state of texas) :)

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  22. It's not legal here in Oz either, which saddens me.

    I thought that marriage was a union between two people who love each other. At least that's why I did it and continue to be married.

    There are plenty of men and women in same sex relationships who live as married people, who love and care for each other, but are not allowed to get the certificate for it and the legal rights that go along with it.

    If marriage is all about love, then regardless of the sexes of the two people who enter into it, as long as they are consenting, what does it matter?

    If you really value the morals of marriage, then let's look at the things that don't respect it, like people marrying for money or status and not love? That is the kind of thing that cheapens marriage.

    I am so sick and tired of people who think they have a say in who can get married and who can't. Seriously, I didn't have to ask my State or country's permission to get married to the man I love, why should anyone else have to?

    I agree with the comments someone made about the Bible. To be fair I've never read the book, but I don't like how many organised religions and cults use it to support their bigotry.

    I just think "What would Jesus do?", not that I'm religious by any stretch of the imagination, but anything I've ever heard about Jesus describes him as a wonderful accepting person. So if that's what we have to go by, I think he would be appalled at this.

    Kyls

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  23. I am quite curious how all of the Obama supporters who are so pleased that he won feel that he does not support gay marriage and in turn would have also voted yes on Prop 8? I personally found the democratic stance on gay marriage ridiculous, "yes we think same sex couples should have equal rights but, no we dont think they should marry", WTF?

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  24. Actually, Obama opposed Prop 8. (I'm not sure how he can play it both ways, saying he's against gay marriage and then opposes Prop 8, but I am hopeful that his administration will end this cognitive dissonance).

    From an article in the SF Chron:

    In a letter to the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club read Sunday at the group's annual Pride Breakfast in San Francisco, the Illinois senator said he supports extending "fully equal rights and benefits to same-sex couples under both state and federal law."

    "And that is why I oppose the divisive and discriminatory efforts to amend the California Constitution, and similar efforts to amend the U.S. Constitution or those of other states," Obama wrote.

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  25. This is from a while back, but still pertinent, I think:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=73oZ_pe1MZ8

    Obama is for gay marriage, but the time for him to fight that was not during his campaign. If we play the game of social politics, we're back to 2004.

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  26. What I can't get over is how it isn't completely illegal to have voters strip away the rights of a segment of our population! HOW THE HELL IS THIS LEGAL????

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  27. Good points, Sammis. What's baffling to me is your figures regarding Obama supporters. Cali was an EASY win for Obama - what happened on Prop 8 -- strictly statistically?!

    So now tell me why Prop 4 is a good thing. Other surgical procedures require parental consent, but not an elective termination? The same girls protected by statutory laws regarding sexual consent can have surgical terminations without parental consent. Without even opening the whole can of worms about when life begins, why is parental consent not necessary for THIS surgery? And where were all the pro-prop 8 people on this one in the same vote?? Remember, you're in my realm now. :-)

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  28. Oh, Tom. You're cute. But I'm not touching an abortion-related debate with a million foot pole. Not because I don't have strong and articulate arguments, but because I have seen (and participated in) SO MANY similar debates, and I have never once seen such a discussion change anyone's mind. Instead, it just makes everyone upset and yell-y.

    I WILL say that I think more people were mobilized to vote, one way or another on Prop 8 than on Prop 4. But it is kind of a mystery.

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  29. Have you seen what Melisa Etheridge has to say? http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2008-11-06/you-can-forget-my-taxes/

    Amen.

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  30. I couldn't have said it better, and I'm far too lazy to do the research to back me up, so thank you.
    *sends to friends*

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  31. The one thing I do keep saying about this issue; if it's a religious issue, and you're opposed to gay marriage because of your beliefs, then don't let gay people get married in your church. Wouldn't that be an acceptable compromise?
    It should not be a legal argument and a religious one as well. The state is making laws, not religious judgment calls about what God would want.
    Separation of church and state anyone?
    . . . . aaaaand, I'm done.

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  32. I'm glad you're all ranty about this and not letting it rest.

    There was this crazy ballot measure here in Colorado in 1992 that excluded gay and lesbian people from any protection offered by anti-discrimination laws; it was, I believe, sponsored by Focus on the Family (one of their first big forays into shit that is none of their business) -- if it wasn't sponsored by them, it was certainly fought for by them. And the lies they filled the airwaves with to get people to vote in favor of it were just shocking, and had little if anything to do with what the amendment actually said. It was a bunch of nonsense about how gays and lesbians received protections that the rest of us don't, and so people went to vote thinking, "Well, why should anyone get protections I don't get??" And it passed, and then it was thrown out as being unconstitutional by the state supreme court and ultimately the United States supreme court.

    It was the same year that Bill Clinton won a pretty overwhelming victory, and it was really puzzling as to why we could all send this progressive (Bill Clinton seemed progressive back then) person to the White House but oppress people with the same ballot.

    Hopefully, the courts will continue to see reason when this bit of hate disguised as a constitutional amendment reaches their chambers.

    In the mean time, the rest of us will have to continue ranting.

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  33. Okay here is the bottom of how I feel about Prop 8... No one voted about MY marriage just because I happened to be a woman who married a man... NO ONE LEGISLATED MY MARRIAGE. I can't seem to understand why no one believes in this the same way I do. And frankly I am saddened and appalled by it.

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  34. kristy -
    "I'm not sure how he can play it both ways, saying he's against gay marriage and then opposes Prop 8"

    Some people may not be "for" Gay marriage but still be against prop 8. The former is personal opinion or religious upbringing. The latter is Civil Rights.

    There are a lot of things I don't personally like - nasty speech (protected), stupid newspaper articles (protected), obvious criminals getting off because the police violated search and seizure laws, religions I disagree with... But it's not up to me and the constitution protects the rights of these people, as it protects mine.

    I personally think any consenting adult should have the right to marry another consenting adult. For me, this isn't about Gay vs Straight. It shouldn't be about religious beliefs. This is about people and fundamental rights as humans.

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  35. Hi Vicki,

    You're right, of course. My point was more about how clear his language seemed in his letter to the Alice B. Toklas group, compared to his statement that he does not support gay marriage.

    In either case, I am hopeful with him at the helm.

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  36. when prop 8 passed, i was reminded of one of my favorite movies, guess who's coming to dinner. i found the following quote...

    "You and your whole lousy generation believes the way it was for you is the way it's got to be. And not until your whole generation has lain down and died will the dead weight of you be off our backs!"

    it's just a matter of time

    -el snarkster

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  37. It's probably a little gutless of me to write this anonymously but I don't think my comments are all that inflammatory so I think we can let it slide.
    Personally, I am against gay marriage. Of course I'm against atheists getting married too. Now I'm not going to rant about how you and ish shouldn't get married, I've had friends without religion marry and it makes them happy, so I honestly wish you all the best with that. BUT from my point of view I find it a bit odd that marriage is such an important part of society. Now I'm quoting one of your earlier posts (possibly out of context) that sums up how I see the situation "Either marriage is a legal institution or it isn't"
    Well, what if marriage wasn't a legal instituion? Wouldn't that simplify everything? I don't know if de facto relationships are recognised in the US but here in australia they provide many of the legal rights of a married couple (not all and I think that should change). I know abolishing marriage is an unrealistic solution (an elegant solution, which in my mind would solve many problems) but could you IMAGINE a world where being married and legally committed to each other are 2 seperate things.

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  38. Anonymous -- I totally agree that the most logical/fair solution is to get government out of marriage. Everyone should be provided the same rights under civil unions. Leave marriage to religions to dictate. I just don't think there are enough people who would go for this. And short of that, the only way to assure equal rights is for marriage to include gay couples.

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  39. Here's a good post (from a married gay adoptive mother of African-American daughters) explaining why gay marriage and race-related civil rights are not the same.

    http://lilysea.blogs.com/peterscrossstation/2008/11/quickly-race-an.html

    In all other respects, I'm with you, heart and soul.

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  40. Great post, but where did my comment go? Come to think of it, the last few times I've commented it hasn't shown up here. This is a test to see if I show up here!

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  41. I was shocked to learn that most blacks voted against gay marriage. What's that? So, do blacks defend human rights or defend THEIR own rights only? I believe the gay movement should specifically address other minorities, and specifically blacks.

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  42. perhaps it's too gouche and/or risque a comment for prime- time, but you know what's even worse than those gays coming into your dreams and tryina have sex with you?

    it's that their dicks taste like shit!

    well.....I'm just sayin'

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  43. I've been watching your debate about Prop 8 with interest as I live in NZ and we've had Civil Unions since 2004. I wasn't one of the people who marched down the street and protested it, but I also didn't totally know if it was the right thing. I'm glad that our government chose to give everyone (straight people can have civil unions too) the same rights as married people and recognise long term relationships. To be honest I don't think it has really had a very big impact here - the sky didn't fall and it hasn't made people turn gay or whatever else the fear was.

    As I understand you can still have a Civil Union in California?

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