Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Why do I feel left behind?

I will have the requisite "celebratory Obama post" later. Right now, I'm not feeling too celebratory.

I don't want to kill completely the Obama buzz (which I am still feeling as well); we should rejoice at this triumph (and I am). But we also need to spend some time grieving for an almost equally important failure: the (apparent) passage of California's constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.

Sadly, I fear the message of November 4 turned out to be "Change We Can Believe In (Unless You're Gay)."

There are so many people I want to blame right now. The vicious and fraudulent Mormon "Church." That repulsive Catholic cult, the Knights of Columbus. The fucking Central Valley with its troglodytic farmers. Blacks and Latinos who do not recognize discrimination against members of another minority group. The idiots who wrote the California Constitution so as to allow A SIMPLE MAJORITY VOTE to amend it.

Let's take a moment to consider that last one. The California state constitution is going to be amended because approximately 5 million people voted "Yes" on Prop 8. The population of the State of California is over 36 million people. By my (admittedly fifth-grade) calculations, this means that less than ONE SEVENTH of the population of this state was able to amend the state constitution.


Think about that for a minute. Doesn't 1/7 of the population seem a wee bit too small to be amending a state constitution? Doesn't this seem like broken government?

When I think of all the work that volunteers like Ted Gideonse put into the fight against Prop 8 and when I think of people like me and my friends cutting into our bare-bones grad student budget in order to give small (but meaningful--at least to us) amounts to the fight and when I think about the brave Mormons (and yes, there were a few) who were willing to stand up to their "Church" to fight discrimination...
I'm proud, sure; but I'm also discouraged and demoralized.

I'm an adopted Californian. And today, for the first time since I moved here, I am ashamed of my state. I suddenly feel uncomfortable in California--the same discomfort that I felt when I lived in Indiana and Virginia. The sense that most of the people surrounding me hate me. Not in Santa Cruz, of course (although the margin in Santa Cruz County wasn't as big as it should have been), but in the clear geographical majority of my state. I know it could be worse and that I could be stuck in Utah or Alabama or some other moron colony, but it used to feel good to live in California. And I miss that feeling already.

Want to know a secret? My boyfriend and I almost got married last week. We knew it would have been a little early in our relationship (especially in terms of breaking the news to our family and friends); yet, we were worried that we wouldn't be able to do so in a year or so when we are actually completely prepared for it. But we decided to rely on the polling (which was wrong, but not by a ton) and our belief in the general benevolence of Californians. We were wrong.

I think the gay rights movement is in a bad place right now. If an Obama landslide and record youth turnout couldn't defeat a gay marriage ban in one of the most liberal states in the US, we have to start reconsidering our position in American society. I think we have to start asking questions about our assimilation to standard American domestic values (like marriage and children) and whether we are in my lifetime going to be allowed full civil rights. Maybe we need to try something else.

Electing Obama was huge step forward for America; so why do I feel left behind?


m said...


I was born and raised here and today I feel so sad and uncomfortable to be in my own state.

I can't imagine how you must feel but I do know that if the government suddenly told me I couldn't marry and start a family with the person I loved, I would be inconsolable.

I would like to point out that in 2000 California voted about 60/40 for Prop 22. Prop 8 is looking to pass by 52/48- that's pretty damn close. 8 percentage points in 8 years isn't much but it softens the blow from something that makes me want to jump off a bridge to something that makes me want to lay in bed all day and weep.

We must and will keep fighting, Fosco. California and its citizens are better than Prop H8's lies and fear-mongering.

Anonymous said...

I know of no one who hates you Brian, and I would have no use for anyone who does.

The Beeman

todd said...

The outcome of Prop (H)8 was nearly my only disappointment out of election night.

As a non-Christian it is hard for me to stomach the actions of many people of that faith on that issue. I've read reports that church pastors in CA were telling their members that they would be required by law to hold wedding ceremonies for gay people, which is completely untrue.

WWJLA. What Would Jesus Lie About.

There are many lovely people who are Christians, but actions like this should be repudiated by everyone, even those who agree with Prop (H)8.

Anonymous said...

You have my sympathies. It is very difficult when someone dismisses you out-of-hand simply because of whom you love.