Posts tagged prop 8

beyond prop 8

well, as we all know, the CA supreme court announced yesterday that they decided to uphold prop 8 (the constitutional ban on same-sex marriage). disappointing, yes – the proposition never should have passed in the first place.

in the wake of the announcement, RaceWire – the online blog of ColorLines Magazine – posted two really amazing articles (quite bravely, i would say) challenging the assumption that we should all continue to fight endlessly for gay marriage “until the battle is won”.

i posted my own opinions about marriage back before the election.  now, in a post-prop 8 world, these two articles state my mindframe pretty damn clearly, so i thought i’d share them here (i pretty much want to just quote the whole articles, but i’ll try to limit myself.  just please go read the full articles – neither are long!).

Prop 8 is a Distraction, or: NOW can we Dump Gay Marriage as a Cause?” by Yasmin Nair

“Over the last decade or so, well-endowed gay organizations and some influential gay commentators have manipulated media attention to make the world believe that there is nothing that would make our lives happier than the attainment of gay marriage…

“We’re allowing ourselves to be distracted by the tactics of the Right and forgetting that marriage should never have been our goal to begin with. At best, the goal of marriage is a symbolic and sentimental one…

“There’s been much talk about how this ruling will now make it easier to take rights away from all minorities. This assumes, of course, that ethnic/racial identity is the only way through which people identify themselves and ignores the fact that several groups in California and elsewhere have already watched their rights being eroded. For, instance, California’s prison system is notorious for its ill treatment of prisoners. But, ah, of course, gays and lesbians have nothing to do with the prison population. Or with rights other than the right to get married and retreat into the safety of our normal lives. As we quibble about marriage, it’s easy to forget that a rise in poverty and the lack of health care means that large segments of society are already denied their rights to decent education, housing, and a sense of security about their well-being…”

I Don’t Want Marriage, I Want Equity” by Tracy Kronzak

“…the right wing coined the term “Special Rights”: giving people legal protection just because of whom they are sleeping with. I posit that marriage is the ultimate Special Right. It gives privileges, rights and protections (1100 and counting) to people based on whom they are sleeping with…

“Eliminating the legal rights and privileges associated with marriage actually gives us an amazing opportunity to build bridges between the LGBT communities and many others working for equity and justice. It gets us out of our “me-too” mentality when it comes to marriage and broadens the Queer community’s perspective to a “we-too” framework…”

Thank you RaceWire!

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“Prop 8 – The Musical”

see people: gay marriage will “save the economy”! case in point:

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repeal prop 8 action

in an ironic twist of fate after my last post, i ended up on an action team to protest the passage of prop 8 last night in san francisco.  there was a mass march planned from civic center to dolores park starting at 5:30pm, and after the march stepped off at 7th and market, 10 of us (after quickly forming an affinity group in 24 hrs), followed the march to 9th and market where we then stopped, linked hands, and formed a human chain across market street, displaying a banner that said, “We Will Not Be Silent: REPEAL PROP 8″.

cd-line

our street blockade effectively stopped traffic for several hours, and the energy of the group and the crowd that surrounded us was amazing.  there weren’t more than 30 seconds pause between the endless chants, some tried and true, and some innovated on the spot.  then, just when we were considering an escalation of tactics, the main march came back to join us, and our group led the crowd past the cops, throughout the city, taking over the streets and ending with an occupation of the castro well into the night.  you can read my report of the night’s events on the ruckus society website.

although there were no arrests (the cops behaved in typical SFPD “another day, another protest” fashion, making no arrests as long as things remained nonviolent, which they did), the spirit of the night was empowering for all who participated, and perhaps introduced many to the world beyond permitted marches and rallies, even if just slightly.

below is a really grainy video from my phone during the castro occupation of one of the individuals from our group, yelling “how many people held 9th and market?!” and the group standing up to cheers from the crowd:

when i was asked to support the action and participate in the blockade, i didn’t hesitate.  and while some may find that ironic or confusing, given my stance on marriage, to me this was a grassroots endeavor worth participating in:  an entire section of society (which includes myself) just had some of their rights stripped from them on tuesday, when prop 8 eeked past 50% support in the state-wide election.  although the state (and federal) constitutions may not have ever originally intended to permit marriage rights to same-sex couples, the constitution also never meant to include blacks and women, when it said “all men are created equal”.  they meant white men who owned property.  don’t tell me the word “men” is a shorthand, inclusive term!

so despite the fact that i hope one day state-sanctioned marriage becomes irrelevant, prop 8 has stripped people of their rights through pure discrimination and blatant bigotry, which to me is more important to fight than marriage itself.  our rights are being eroded regularly, and we can’t let one slide, lest we find ourselves under martial law (oh wait…).

adrienne maree brown wrote a heartfelt piece about the hate experienced through the prop 8 campaign.

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my thoughts on the whole gay marriage issue

ok. since i essentially get my only advertising from friends’ posts on facebook, i’m a little out of touch with election-mania.  but i’m finally starting to get a taste of just some of the insane prop 8 propaganda that’s out there.

this morning i received an email asking to donate to the no on 8 campaign because the yes on 8 campaign is trying to raise $2 million to pass the proposition because they think that armageddon will actually arrive if 8 gets defeated and gays are [still] allowed to marry (in CA). apparently some people on the right are actually calling the prop 8 campaign more important than the presidential election.  i might be inclined to agree with them, but only because i don’t think the presidential election is all that important.

at any rate, hearing such things (“armageddon”, etc.) inspired me to actually poke around a bit and check out some of the propaganda on both sides of this proposition.  ok i didn’t go too far – mostly just to facebook posts;)  there were plenty there already.

one of the crazy things that caught my eye was this scary yes on prop 8 video using kids to sing about how confused they would become if prop 8 passes:

how does allowing queers to marry suddenly turn these kids’ dad into a woman, and their mom into a man?!

so my opinion on the gay marriage issue has evolved a bit over time.  on marriage in general, i was always opposed from a pretty young age – always saying i would never get married (making my parents think that i would become a nun at one point), that i didn’t need a piece of paper from the state to sanctify any of my relationships.

then in college in oregon, when portland passed what became only a temporary right for gay marriage, i as the leader of the gay-straight alliance at a pretty conservative small-town private liberal arts college, suddenly felt compelled to advocate for marriage rights as a way to promote gay rights and call out homophobia on campus.  i was even a bride in a mock wedding we produced in a fraternity basement, marrying my [straight] best friend.

i admit my politics on marriage issues got thrown for a loop when the whole gay marriage issue hit the front page.

but then moving to the bay area in 2004, within my first two weeks here, i was introduced to gay shame’s end marriage campaign which was probably the most radical thing i had ever seen in my life, and made me quit advocating for gay marriage in any small way (it’s not like i was lobbying or anything).

for awhile i was adamantly opposed to gay marriage (and all marriage).  and it’s another one of those debates i’ve been in with progressives where they tend to find me totally callous and think i’m preventing “progress”.

since then i feel like my thoughts have become a little more flexible on the issue.  unlike some of the radical arguments against gay marriage, i don’t fully buy into the assimilationist argument – ie all queers should fundamentally be non-conformist and stand against all that heterosexual monogamy stands for.

i do absolutely oppose the origins of property co-optation that marriage is founded on, and believe that marriage is inherently discriminatory – why should only monogamous “couples” have the kind of legal rights that marriage allows?  what about non-monagamous relationships and people who choose to remain single?

i believe that legal rights like tax breaks and property rights for married couples are essentially capitalist financial incentives made to encourage individuals to couple, marry, and produce children – more workers to exploit.

and it’s this issue of money around the marriage issue – both the discriminatory financial incentives, and the gross consumerism of the wedding industry – that makes me remain opposed to all marriage.  lisa jervis captured some of my thoughts on the sickening consumer market for gay weddings in her “assorted thoughts on pride weddings and capitalism” article.  it’s been ridiculous to see just how much money there is in the wedding industry, and now that the market for wedding clientele is growing to include gay and lesbian couples, it’s raking in even more profit.

in spite of all this, i do acknowledge the private/public ritual aspect of commitment that some people choose to make through marriage.  i don’t deny non-monogamous relationship’s validity, but i do recognize that for many people, some form of a formal commitment can be a very beautiful step in their relationship and in their lives as an individual.  i have absolutely nothing against this.  and i admittedly tend to enjoy weddings.

so let me make myself clear:  even though i’ve been using the word “oppose” throughout this post, i do NOT wish to deny anyone the right to marry if they so choose.  i will vote NO ON PROP 8, to be sure.  but i do think that the issue of fighting for gay marriage has taken up tremendous amounts of resources in our political climate, when there are so many other injustices with much more dire consequences (war, environmental racism, economic exploitation, to name a few) that should be getting much more attention.

so, i’m not going to spend my money or time on fighting for gay marriage, but i will certainly do nothing to deny anyone equal rights under the law.  and i will happily continue to attend friends’ and family’s weddings when given the opportunity, and support the people in my life to live happy and healthy relationships, no matter what state of “commitment” or state-recognition.  but ultimately, i will continue to work towards a just and sustainable community where state-sanctioned marriage is irrelevant.

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