marriage rights vs. more basic rights?

  • a2507

    Posts: 152

    Nov 12, 2008 1:11 PM GMT
    Let me start by saying I support the rights to marry of same gender couples. I too felt joy at seeing Obama win but felt sucker punched by the loss on Prop. 8.

    But it seems to me that marriage is a 2nd level right, a goal for those who already enjoy a more privileged position of having legal protections like Californians do.

    In much of the US, there remain no legal protections for LGBT people. My state is one of those. And before you begin to blame the victims of our local prejudices, it's not for lack of trying. If it's hard enough to do community organizing and advocacy in gay meccas, think about what it's like in places like Oklahoma.

    I've done that advocacy but when I was doing I was either a student, owned my own business (which was directed to the community) or worked for a major No. American corporation which added "sexual orientation" to its non-discrim. pol. while I was there.

    I now work for a smaller business where most of the exec. are hard core Roman Catholic and seem committed to carrying out RC policies, and I really have to consider whether in these difficult economic times, I can risk being fired for being Gay, regardless of having done very well since I joined the firm.

    What's my point: where are we as a movement? People from across the country gave dollars to fight Prop. 8. I wish we'd won.

    But where were the dollars from around the country to fight the anti-marriage amendment to the Oklahoma Constitution? How about gay dollars to support those who ran against the anti-Gay politicians who dominate this state? Or the other smaller places where LGBT lives are limited. We can't all immigrate. And gay kids will still be born even into the most forsaken places.

    Maybe Obama will do better for the LGBT communities than Clinton did. I hope so. Maybe we'll see ENDA and the Mathew Shepard hate crimes amendment. But I don't think it's unreasonable for those who've gotten ahead, to remember, and maybe help, those who are still behind.

    Peace.

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    Nov 12, 2008 1:40 PM GMT


    We can't offer much to you guys, our American cousins, except our efforts to write a letter to President Obama, which we're carefully composing and busy revising, with the input of those we know up here to help. So far so good.

    Whether or not this letter is met with any consideration is a moot point. We're determined to try anyway.
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    Nov 12, 2008 3:07 PM GMT
    For my brothers on RJ---this is a home run.

    Olbermann: Gay marriage is a question of love
    Everyone deserves the same chance at permanence and happiness
    SPECIAL COMMENT
    By Keith Olbermann
    Anchor, 'Countdown'
    updated 8:13 p.m. CT, Mon., Nov. 10, 2008

    Finally tonight as promised, a Special Comment on the passage, last week, of Proposition Eight in California, which rescinded the right of same-sex couples to marry, and tilted the balance on this issue, from coast to coast.

    Some parameters, as preface. This isn't about yelling, and this isn't about politics, and this isn't really just about Prop-8. And I don't have a personal investment in this: I'm not gay, I had to strain to think of one member of even my very extended family who is, I have no personal stories of close friends or colleagues fighting the prejudice that still pervades their lives.

    And yet to me this vote is horrible. Horrible. Because this isn't about yelling, and this isn't about politics. This is about the human heart, and if that sounds corny, so be it.

    If you voted for this Proposition or support those who did or the sentiment they expressed, I have some questions, because, truly, I do not understand. Why does this matter to you? What is it to you? In a time of impermanence and fly-by-night relationships, these people over here want the same chance at permanence and happiness that is your option. They don't want to deny you yours. They don't want to take anything away from you. They want what you want—a chance to be a little less alone in the world.

    Only now you are saying to them—no. You can't have it on these terms. Maybe something similar. If they behave. If they don't cause too much trouble. You'll even give them all the same legal rights—even as you're taking away the legal right, which they already had. A world around them, still anchored in love and marriage, and you are saying, no, you can't marry. What if somebody passed a law that said you couldn't marry?

    I keep hearing this term "re-defining" marriage. If this country hadn't re-defined marriage, black people still couldn't marry white people. Sixteen states had laws on the books which made that illegal in 1967. 1967.

    The parents of the President-Elect of the United States couldn't have married in nearly one third of the states of the country their son grew up to lead. But it's worse than that. If this country had not "re-defined" marriage, some black people still couldn't marry black people. It is one of the most overlooked and cruelest parts of our sad story of slavery. Marriages were not legally recognized, if the people were slaves. Since slaves were property, they could not legally be husband and wife, or mother and child. Their marriage vows were different: not "Until Death, Do You Part," but "Until Death or Distance, Do You Part." Marriages among slaves were not legally recognized.

    You know, just like marriages today in California are not legally recognized, if the people are gay.

    And uncountable in our history are the number of men and women, forced by society into marrying the opposite sex, in sham marriages, or marriages of convenience, or just marriages of not knowing, centuries of men and women who have lived their lives in shame and unhappiness, and who have, through a lie to themselves or others, broken countless other lives, of spouses and children, all because we said a man couldn't marry another man, or a woman couldn't marry another woman. The sanctity of marriage.

    How many marriages like that have there been and how on earth do they increase the "sanctity" of marriage rather than render the term, meaningless?

    What is this, to you? Nobody is asking you to embrace their expression of love. But don't you, as human beings, have to embrace... that love? The world is barren enough.

    It is stacked against love, and against hope, and against those very few and precious emotions that enable us to go forward. Your marriage only stands a 50-50 chance of lasting, no matter how much you feel and how hard you work.

    And here are people overjoyed at the prospect of just that chance, and that work, just for the hope of having that feeling. With so much hate in the world, with so much meaningless division, and people pitted against people for no good reason, this is what your religion tells you to do? With your experience of life and this world and all its sadnesses, this is what your conscience tells you to do?

    With your knowledge that life, with endless vigor, seems to tilt the playing field on which we all live, in favor of unhappiness and hate... this is what your heart tells you to do? You want to sanctify marriage? You want to honor your God and the universal love you believe he represents? Then Spread happiness—this tiny, symbolic, semantical grain of happiness—share it with all those who seek it. Quote me anything from your religious leader or book of choice telling you to stand against this. And then tell me how you can believe both that statement and another statement, another one which reads only "do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

    You are asked now, by your country, and perhaps by your creator, to stand on one side or another. You are asked now to stand, not on a question of politics, not on a question of religion, not on a question of gay or straight. You are asked now to stand, on a question of love. All you need do is stand, and let the tiny ember of love meet its own fate.

    You don't have to help it, you don't have it applaud it, you don't have to fight for it. Just don't put it out. Just don't extinguish it. Because while it may at first look like that love is between two people you don't know and you don't understand and maybe you don't even want to know. It is, in fact, the ember of your love, for your fellow person just because this is the only world we have. And the other guy counts, too.

    This is the second time in ten days I find myself concluding by turning to, of all things, the closing plea for mercy by Clarence Darrow in a murder trial.

    But what he said, fits what is really at the heart of this:

    "I was reading last night of the aspiration of the old Persian poet, Omar-Khayyam," he told the judge. It appealed to me as the highest that I can vision. I wish it was in my heart, and I wish it was in the hearts of all: So I be written in the Book of Love; I do not care about that Book above. Erase my name, or write it as you will, So I be written in the Book of Love."


    © 2008 msnbc.com


    You can watch the video at:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/27652443#27652443
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    Nov 12, 2008 3:11 PM GMT
    I absolutely agree with you in Many respects, I think it is attrocious when People talk of Marriage as the biggest fight the Gay community has had in the last however many years, and scoff at those people who really think that. Until Title 7 protections are enacted based on Sexual orientation and nation wide hate crime laws are passed, we have much larger issues to be fighting about.

    I think the mentality is if we can get full civil rights in some places others will follow, the problem with that mentality is that gays have these protections in about 20 states, but the others are not following. Marriage is important, but there are other things that are more important and are being left by the wayside. We will see if the mentality being followed right now will work out for the best.
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    Nov 12, 2008 3:40 PM GMT
    chungo44 saidUntil Title 7 protections are enacted based on Sexual orientation and nation wide hate crime laws are passed, we have much larger issues to be fighting about.
    I agree with that. I think this is what Obama was hinting at several times: that is he said his advice as a civil rights attorney would to be to aim for our basic civil rights first. We meet every qualification I know of as suspect class but until we are FULLY recognized as such at a federal level, people will continue to lob shit legislation at us. We need full civil rights protection. ENDA is important and getting rid of DADT is too.
  • joggerva

    Posts: 731

    Nov 12, 2008 3:56 PM GMT
    a2507What's my point: where are we as a movement? People from across the country gave dollars to fight Prop. 8. I wish we'd won.

    But where were the dollars from around the country to fight the anti-marriage amendment to the Oklahoma Constitution? How about gay dollars to support those who ran against the anti-Gay politicians who dominate this state? Or the other smaller places where LGBT lives are limited. We can't all immigrate. And gay kids will still be born even into the most forsaken places.

    Maybe Obama will do better for the LGBT communities than Clinton did. I hope so. Maybe we'll see ENDA and the Mathew Shepard hate crimes amendment. But I don't think it's unreasonable for those who've gotten ahead, to remember, and maybe help, those who are still behind.


    Great post a2507. I've been wondering the same thing over the past week, as my state (VA) was just one of 20 that in 2004 and 2006 passed consitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage, and one of about a dozen (can't remember right now) whose amendment also banned civil unions and domestic partnerships. Where were the nationwide protests against those decisions? (I guess without high profile gays in residence, we didn't have Melissa Etheridge to declare tax-free status).

    I think it comes down to a false sense of security in the movement. The feeling that with "Change" coming to the White House, and actual, legal gay marriages being performed in California, the amendment couldn't possibly pass. Not this year, not in that state. We raised a lot of money, sure, more than the Mormons and the whole "For Prop 8" side, actually, but I don't think the passion was at the level it is now before the vote. I think, unfortunately, it took this unexpected vote to shock many people into advocacy and action. I just hope that these activists consider fighting for more than just Californian marriages.
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    Nov 12, 2008 4:40 PM GMT
    joggerva saidI just hope that these activists consider fighting for more than just Californian marriages.

    I think people more broadly even if they don't realize it. Laws against gays anywhere are just the religious right and conservative parties, and their ilk trying to keep us in our place, and re-enforce that we are abnormal, mentally ill, dangerous, and unworthy. They have flatly said as much. It is scary because other movements have started this way. I have made other posts about how the same phrases and complaints were used against us in all the great persecutions against homosexuals in that last century (i.e. Nazi's, communist revolutions, etc)
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    Nov 12, 2008 7:27 PM GMT
    I have mixed feelings about all of it, to be honest. It is just plain shitty that a minority is excluded in any fashion vis a vis the Constitution, state or federal. And movement has to start somewhere with the opportunities and resources that are available. CA is one of those places as there are many who support gay rights, i.e. 48 % apparently, as well as a Governor who is ostensibly for equal protection and rights, in addition to a number of other politicians willing to put themselves on the line, a la Gavin Newsom of SF. With marriage being a widely recognized, understood, celebrated, and "sexy" institution, cause, and symbol, there is need to address in the moment what has happened in CA - as a forebearer of progressive thinking/doing for many other states - to push other endeavors through similarly. Prop 8 is being taken to the CA Supreme Court, where if it is not repealed, will most likely at some point be taken to the US Supreme Court, thus affecting all states should a positive result transpire. Hence, to focus on this validating symbol of marriage in a place where it can get pushed through, on a micro-level, may affect the macro as well.

    I agree that the "movement" in CA has become rather navel-gazing. The drama is rich, however, as the stage has been set by church, state, "sinners" with equal rights, and is playing out in a Colosseum-like setting with the spectators giving a thumbs up/down vote on the "lives" of others; the population is involved, and all are watching what CA as an intriguing and politically-loaded theatre will do with this drama. And what is being battled in the public eye? Maybe what role can/should religious beliefs have in democracy? Will CA, as a bellwether state on progressive culture, ultimately give permission to others to feed the gays to the lions? It's a bit of a cultural battle royale.

    I would like that this fight can happen simultaneously and as a platform to further equality for lgbtq'ers in other states, as well as speaking to how class issues, which also incorporates race/ethnicity inequalities, are also concretized by law and policies that remain invisible and unaddressed. This has become a resource-rich and myopic battle, and could be used in the public eye to push for and highlight the number of other homophobic policies at play across the nation; as well as incorporating issues of social injustice that perpetuate a system of power hierarchy. Let's make that happen. Unfortunately, there is no central mouthpiece of our community who could be utilized as a megaphone and inform the population at large. But, posts like yours, sending emails, writing letters, putting thoughts out there, addressing relevant organization locally, are what we need to continue to do.

    Marriage is indeed a fight for the already-privileged. Who the fuck cares about marriage if you're a week away from possibly losing housing, w/o health care, surrounded by community violence, prevented on many fronts from accessing basic needs, and/or being historically disenfranchised. And, yet, I think it still needs to happen, however needs to happen less myopically and better informed as you've suggested.

    Thanks for the post.
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    Nov 12, 2008 10:55 PM GMT
    ActiveAndFit said
    chungo44 saidUntil Title 7 protections are enacted based on Sexual orientation and nation wide hate crime laws are passed, we have much larger issues to be fighting about.
    I agree with that. I think this is what Obama was hinting at several times: that is he said his advice as a civil rights attorney would to be to aim for our basic civil rights first. We meet every qualification I know of as suspect class but until we are FULLY recognized as such at a federal level, people will continue to lob shit legislation at us. We need full civil rights protection. ENDA is important and getting rid of DADT is too.


    QFT

  • coolarmydude

    Posts: 9190

    Nov 12, 2008 11:12 PM GMT
    I didn't know of a cause in supporting gay marriage in Oklahoma. The reason I donated to CA, as I am a Louisiana (LA) voter, is because I found out about it here in RJ. I read about the opposition and I donated.
    Even when LA had it on the ballot 4 years ago, I wasn't aware of a campaign to try to prevent gay marriage. I also think that proportionally CA (Edit) has more gays and gay supporters than most other states. It's not a matter of choosing a fight in one place or another for the individual, but a concentrated effort, such as what occurred in CA, could create the impetus to succeed in all places, including "Podunk", OK.
    But don't fret at the setbacks. I bet you know what state Selma is in? Think of Matthew Shepherd. What state comes to mind and what happened after his death?