Prop 8 makes me sad & afraid

27 Oct

Last night, I couldn’t sleep. Out of nowhere, I had started to feel really sad, and at first I couldn’t figure out why. Then I realized that I was worrying about the passage of Prop 8, which would take away my right to marry the woman I love.

When the California Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage, I couldn’t have been much happier. It was inspiring to watch some of the first same-sex marriages happen at Oakland City Hall. It gave me so much hope for the future of our state, and for the first time, my girlfriend and I started to think seriously about the possibility of marriage.

But now I’m facing the reality that this right could be ripped away from me. A few months ago, I thought Prop 8 was sure to go down. The polling looked good, and I thought that the thousands of same sex couples who were getting married would shift this debate forever. Didn’t everyone at least peripherally know one same sex couple who had gotten married?

Now I think my assumptions may have been off. The Mormon church has dumped millions of dollars into passing Prop 8 and has run extremely misleading ads that seem to have been very effective. The polling is far too close for comfort.

But all of this was still very far removed from my own life. That changed on Saturday, when I took the bus down to Lakeshore in Oakland, as I got off the bus, I saw a large group of Yes on 8 protesters shouting and waving their signs. They were mostly kids, with a few adults. And they seemed very, very angry. There was a small contingent of No on 8 people across the street, who were standing quietly with their signs and passing out fliers.

I left this scene feeling upset – sad, angry, and afraid. I could not believe I had just seen people expressing such hatred in the heart of Oakland. These feelings grew in me all weekend, and I realized that I needed to do something about it. I’ve been so engrossed in Rebecca Kaplan’s campaign for Oakland City Council and the No on Measure KK campaign in Berkeley, that I’ve done almost nothing for No on 8.

Well, that’s going to change. I’m going to dedicate most of my energy this week to No on 8, and I hope you will join me. Here’s what we can do to make sure that one day I can marry the woman I love and that all Californians have the right to marry whomever they love, regardless of gender:

  1. Donate! Like I said, the Mormon church has raised a ton of money for Yes on 8. We need to counter that with funds of our own. Do not wait another day – give generously today.
  2. Volunteer: I’ll be phoning at the Oakland United Democratic Campaign office at 1915 Broadway in downtown Oakland several nights this week (I’m headed there right now). The great thing about this office is that you can phone for various campaigns at once – I’ll be phoning for No on 8 and Rebecca Kaplan. Join me any night from 5-9pm. If you’re not in Oakland, you can find your local No on 8 office here.
  3. Do Personal GOTV: Don’t assume all your friends are going to vote. Call, email, or bang down their doors – just make sure everyone you know is voting No on 8. The California Democratic Party has set up this great tool that allows you to text your friends for free. Check it out and personalize the message to remind your friends to vote No on 8.

13 Responses to “Prop 8 makes me sad & afraid”

  1. Chuck October 27, 2008 at 6:37 pm #

    Sadly, welcome to the club. I’ve been at the same point for a while. It’s different when you live someplace such that you’re directly affected by this kind of thing. I’ve tried to be as generous as I can in time and money, but I’m right there with ya, for what it’s worth. Here’s hoping for the best. Keep up the good blogging efforts🙂 Appreciated!

  2. themacinator October 27, 2008 at 8:47 pm #

    agreed- the amount of “yes” people, and their vehemence and hatred and willing to use violence has really made me sad this week. more than any national election issues, this local struggle has really brought it home for me how far we have to go. i don’t even want to marry ANYONE, and i feel like this is a fight worth fighting- since when are we back to advocating “separate but equal?”

  3. cliftonofhesperia October 27, 2008 at 9:06 pm #

    May I give you some reasons not to be?

  4. Becks October 28, 2008 at 8:19 am #

    Phoning for No on 8 last night was emotionally exhausting, but I’m glad I did it. I was amazed at how many West Oakland residents enthusiastically voiced their support for Rebecca Kaplan for city council and then said that they were voting for Prop 8!

    I guess they don’t know or don’t care that Prop 8 would take away Rebecca’s right to marry her partner.

    I’ll be back tonight to do some more phoning. It’s difficult, but the other options are much worse.

  5. cliftonofhesperia October 28, 2008 at 8:53 am #

    I’ll give you some rest on the subject, then.

    Argument 1: But Same-sex marriage is CURRENTLY LEGAL in California. Prop 8 will end that!

    Fact 1: Same sex UNIONS have been. First, the term, ‘Same-sex Marriages’ is recent and is the conflict of opinions. Second, ‘Civil Union’ is the proper term of two people of the same gender coming together. Marriage in the dictionary is “the union between to people of the opposite sex.”. Therefore doing so will only make the term ambiguous and would not help people define marriage.

    Argument 2: Voting NO on Prop 8 WILL NOT force schools to teach same-sex marriage

    Fact 2: “The California Department of Education’s own website says that 96 % of public schools provide instruction under the Comprehensive Sexual Health and HIV/AIDS Prevention Act (Educ. Code Sec. 51930, et seq.) and every school that provides instruction under that Act must provide instruction and materials that teach about marriage. Additionally, the Department of Education’s own checklist for instruction under the Act confirms that instruction about marriage is required for the school district to be in compliance with state law.” (from http://forums.contracostatimes.com/topic/schools-must-teach-marriage)
    Therefore the argument is bogus. In fact the idea that “you love someone” is not enough to marry. If the reason for marriage is that, then why stop from there? Why not allow multiple wives/husbands and marry animals? And lets go farther and say you can have group marriages and marry children, regardless their age!
    So then you would cause havoc in the school curriculum and cause kids to both not be able to identify their gender, and make ambiguous the reason to marry in the first place. Thus unsafe activity would be increased (licentious behavior is a pool for AIDS)

    Argument 3: Voting NO on Prop 8 WILL NOT force Churches to recognize same-sex marriage and they WILL NOT lose their tax-exempt status

    Fact 3: Although this is true, one simply has to look around at the places that do and you’ll find that is will be done so anyways. Take recently how when two physicians, Dr. Christine Brody and Dr. Douglas Fenton, refused to artificially inseminate her when she asked for the procedure.
    Benitez said they denied her because she is gay; the doctors argued it was because she was not married.
    Robert Tyler, the doctors’ attorney, has said his clients, who are Christian, suffered a “crisis of conscience” when asked to perform the insemination and play a role in creating life.
    The court found that federal and state constitutional rights to religious freedoms and free speech do not mean that doctors can violate California’s Unruh Act, a set of civil rights laws that govern businesses, “even if compliance poses an incidental conflict” with a doctor’s religious beliefs] [Source: http://www.nctimes.com/articles/2008/08/18/news/sandiego/z610a19d73f733d1a882574a9005cec65.txt%5D
    Or how about when a church refused to allow a same-sex wedding on their own property? The church got sued because they wouldn’t allow it on their property, ‘the nerve of them’! [http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=91486340]
    It’s nice to think positively on things like this, but loopholes through laws are just the thing that happens. Good intentions just can’t measure up to lost liberties, or the opportunity to lose them.

    Argument 4: Domestic Partnership and Marriage ARE NOT the same

    Fact 4: Again, the correct term is civil unions, and they have the same rights as married couples, from visitation rights to power of Atterny. Proposition 8 doesn’t take away any rights or benefits of gay or lesbian domestic partnerships. Under California law, “domestic partners shall have the same rights, protections, and benefits” as married spouses. (Family Code § 297.5.) There are NO exceptions. Proposition 8 WILL NOT change this.
    In fact, it is a myth for that to come up as an argument since their own advocates were the ones who helped create the said laws!

    Argument 5: Banning same-sex marriage is unconstitutional and un-American

    Fact 5: This not only was not what the constitution was speaking of (since it refereed to individuals) but the theory is completely flawed. It is not anyone’s right to do anyone harm or take advantage of someone’s weakness. You never have the right shoot someone for nothing, you know.
    Again, refer to the above fact.

    (: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lt. Gov. John Garamendi, Sen. Barack Obama, Sen. Joe Biden, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Sen. Barabara Boxer, Sacramento Mayor Heather Fargo, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and many more are all AGAINST Prop 8.)
    Fact 6: Two-thirds more agree and most are from California. Check out some of the list on ProtectMarriage.com: [http://www.protectmarriage.com/endorsements]

    [The Teacher’s Association did not ask their own people whether they agreed but used their money for the opposition to Prop 8. Also, many group OUTSIDE California have been giving money to an issue that concerns Californians alone]

    Argument 7: The Supreme Court overturned the ban on same-sex marriage because it was UNCONSTITUTIONAL

    Fact 7: The Ban had nothing to do with the so-called constitution. In fact, marriage as an idea of between one of each sex has been around before recorded history and is apart of both this physical world and our psychological well-being. The decision should have therefore been up to the people as our founding father’s had intended such “trivial” things to be.

    Argument 8: The California Supreme Court Justices ARE NOT activists!

    Fact 8: Judicial activism – an interpretation of the U.S. constitution holding that the spirit of the times and the needs of the nation can legitimately influence judicial decisions (particularly decisions of the Supreme Court)
    These judges fit the said definition, regardless of whether they are moderate or not. Our Founding Fathers were the most brilliant people on the subject and should be listened too (Only one true Democratic Republic has lasted so long), therefore to ignore them because of mere opinions and feelings, which is inserting your own ideas as absolutes, is the most arrogant thing to do, in our argument.
    Activism IS ruling from your own subjective reasoning, after all

    Argument 9: But you’ll take away all this profit the weddings that will take place!

    Fact 9 : Actually, implementing this would cost the state Billions. From changing the written laws, to implementing it, and especially all the lawsuits that will come from it
    e.g., photographers cannot now refuse to photograph gay marriages, doctors cannot now refuse to perform artificial insemination of gays even given other willing doctors. Even if courts eventually find in favor of a defender of traditional marriage (highly improbable given today’s activist judges), think of the money – your money – that will be spent on such legal battles.

  6. Mary October 28, 2008 at 12:24 pm #

    You have a very nice blog

    I wrote a post on the Prop 8 issue on my blog and I would like to share it if that is ok

    thank you

    http://www.seniorhealthmoment.com/political/undecided-on-prop-8-in-california-consider-this-sad-story

  7. Eric October 28, 2008 at 5:07 pm #

    Rather than doing like you and weaving an unreadable web of lies, logical fallacies and empty rhetoric, I’ll respond to your points logically and with greater brevity.

    1) It is our constitution and the courts, not the dictionary, that determine the way equality under the law applies to institutions such as marriage. Even so, Merriam-Webster happily proclaims within marriage definition 1b), “the state of being united to a person of the same sex in a relationship like that of a traditional marriage.”

    2) Your argument here is quite the doozy: You use a slippery slope argument as a red herring and then top it off with a non-sequitur—nicely done. You present no evidence that education would be effected in any way. Same-sex marriage will no more lead to polygamy, bestiality, or pedophilia than allowing blacks and whites to get married did; which is to say, it won’t. California has some of the most robust opt-out laws in the country, allowing parents to remove their children from lessons they find objectionable. All major educational institutions and organizations in CA have disputed these claims by Yes on 8.

    3) Businesses, including medical practices, are already disallowed from discriminating against gays and lesbians; Proposition 8 has nothing whatsoever to do with such situations.

    The case you cite regarding church property had to do with a recreational space the church owned and rented out to the public at large in a business capacity. Since the use of the space was neither religious, nor restricted to congregants, the church could not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. This would not affect church buildings or the services conducted therein.

    4) Modern jurisprudence maintains that separate is not equal. Period.

    5) If this point made any sense, maybe I could dispute it. I guess it’s argument by impenetrability.

    6) Two-thirds of what or whom are you referring to? No On 8 has a very healthy list of endorsements: http://www.noonprop8.com/about/who-opposes-prop-8
    This list has a range of organizations much broader and representing a great many more people than anything Yes on 8 has shown off so far.

    7) Marriage has been around since “before recorded history?” Do you have a time machine? Besides the patent absurdity of such a claim, you completely ignore ancient historical precedent for same-sex marriage—or for that matter, the history of marriage as a purely economic/political institution in which women were property. Furthermore, allowing same-sex couple to wed does not in any way detract from the benefits that marriage provides to straight couples.

    8) The California and U.S. constitutions both provide for equal protection under the law. It is not judicial activism to enforce this provision. By your definition, the court decision which allowed interracial marriages was judicial activism. It is clear from your argument that you did not read the court’s decision.

    9) Prop 8 would have nothing to do with these situations. Again, businesses are already not allowed to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. There exists no evidence for your assertion of billions in costs to taxpayers.

    Presenting these points as fact is the rhetorical equivalent of putting your hands over your ears and screaming, “I CAN’T HEAR YOU!” The Yes on 8 campaign is driven by bigotry and fear, thus necessitating such misinformation and lies. I challenge you to dig deeper and look at the court cases you cite. Go read up on Brown vs. Board of Education and Perez vs. Sharp. Then go read the CA Supreme Court marriage decision and get back to us.

  8. Becks October 28, 2008 at 5:13 pm #

    Eric – Thank you for responding to all those lies. I just didn’t have the energy to do it myself.

  9. Scarlett Swerdlow October 28, 2008 at 8:18 pm #

    Props to Eric for his thoughtful response. Honestly, Clifton’s original post is so obtuse I couldn’t actually tell if he was for or against Prop 8.

    And thanks to Rebecca for this post. I’m not in California, so I can’t make calls, but I’m definitely going to donate to the No on 8 campaign.

    Keep up the good fight!

  10. Eric October 28, 2008 at 8:36 pm #

    @Scarlett: Oh yes, Clifton is serious. Don’t make my mistake and look at his blog. Just take my word for it.

  11. AustinOAK October 28, 2008 at 10:44 pm #

    For me it is personal

    I am working so much volunteering in politics since August that my Partner and I just have not had time to plan a wedding (the way we’d like) so we have to defeat PROP 8. Otherwise we miss the window (a passing PROP 8 surely means they will go to court to overturn the marriages- and win probably – very sad) . We thought about a “shotgun” wedding at Oakland City Hall next week and decided that we wanted to rather not do it in such fashion. Spoil it for ourselves. Sad but true. Cuz we could get’R done and be one of possibly 15-20,000 married before Nov 4th. It really meant a lot to me to do that.

  12. Chuck October 30, 2008 at 10:33 am #

    Austin, same boat here. I honestly don’t think anyone who supports 8 has actually gone through what you and I and many other have lived in the last few weeks; of imagining having to turn to your loved one and go “So, do you want to elope?” not to be funny or spontaneous or irresponsible, but to have that conversation knowing that it might be the last best chance of your lifetime?

    Family values my ass. Grrrr, makes me get my hate on…

  13. Becks October 30, 2008 at 11:08 am #

    Austin & Chuck – yeah, I’ve had that conversation with my girlfriend nearly every day for the past week (usually in a somewhat joking tone). I even had a dream the other night that we spontaneously got married, without telling anyone. And thousands of shotgun weddings have happened over the past couple months as people freak out about Prop 8 passing.

    Is this what the anti-marriage, anti-equality folks wanted?

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