Saturday, September 20, 2008

Same Sex Marriage May Suffer

Oh, dear. Another reason to hate Obama. I'll be the first to admit that I did not see this one coming. So, you know that California passed a law making same-sex legal (Ellen and Portia are probably the two most famous beneficiaries of that law. Except maybe George Takei and his partner, for all you Star Trek fans.) It was great news, and there was much rejoicing throughout the land. More or less.

Well, you know that there are people who are not willing to be content to let this law stand. Oh, no. So, there's a measure in California on which the good people will be voting Nov. 4th to determine if same sex marriage should be banned in their Constitution. No biggie. Ahem. And that leads me (finally) to this article from the NY Times,
Same-Sex Marriage Ban Is Tied to Obama Factor
. The very beginning of this piece sets the tone:
Could Senator Barack Obama’s popularity among black voters hurt gay couples in California who want to marry?

That is the concern of opponents of Proposition 8, a measure on the November ballot that would amend the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage, which was legalized in May by the State Supreme Court.

Well if that ain't a kick in the teeth. Like Obama isn't already a big ol' flipflopper on GLBT issues, and has some amazingly homophobic associates - close associates, not just acquaintances (which don't seem to bother any of his faithful - goddess only knows why - must be some awesomely hip hopey changey unicorn leading them to the rainbow to make people like Meeks and McClurkin A-Okay!).

So, here's the thing, according to the article:
Mr. Obama, the Democratic presidential nominee, is against the measure (RRRA here - HAHAHAHAHA!). But opponents of the proposed ban worry that many black voters, enthused by Mr. Obama’s candidacy but traditionally conservative on issues involving homosexuality, could pour into voting stations in record numbers to punch the Obama ticket — and then cast a vote for Proposition 8.

Oh, yippee. Yet another way Obama will SCREW us this year. Only the second state in the entire country that actually treats LGBT people as fully human in this country, deserving of all the same rights as anyone else, and it is facing trouble.

“It’s a Catch-22,” said Andrea Shorter, the campaign director of And Marriage for All, a coalition of gay and civil rights groups that recently started what it calls an education campaign around the state, focusing on blacks and framing the issue of same-sex marriage as one of civil rights.

The Obama/Proposition 8 situation appeals to those opposed to same-sex marriage, who are banking on a high turnout by blacks and conservative Latinos. “There’s no question African-American and Latino voters are among our strongest supporters,” said Frank Schubert, the co-campaign manager for Yes on 8, the leading group behind the measure. “And to the extent that they are motivated to get to the polls, whether by this issue or by Barack Obama, it helps us.”

To blunt that possibility, gay leaders and Proposition 8 opponents have been sponsoring casual events at restaurants in traditionally black neighborhoods in Los Angeles, meeting with black clergy members and recruiting gay black couples to serve as spokespeople on panels and at house parties and church events.

“This is black people talking to black people,” said Ron Buckmire, the board president of the Barbara Jordan/Bayard Rustin Coalition, a gay rights group in Los Angeles. “We’re saying, ‘Gay people are black and black people are gay. And if you are voting conservative on an antigay ballot measure, you are hurting the black community.’ ”

Yes, you are. And everyone else, too, because this doesn't just affect black people, it affects ALL people. It is an interconnection - if you vote to take away some people's rights, you diminish all people, in my opinion.

Black voters account for 6 percent of likely voters in most statewide elections, according to the Public Policy Institute of California, while Hispanic voters make up about 15 percent. But taken together, those two groups could easily decide the election, people on both sides of the issue said.

“If the white Christian evangelic movement believes they can do it alone, I’ve got news for you,” said the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, the president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference in Sacramento, which supports the measure. “They don’t have the sheer numbers to do it without the minority effort.”

The Obama factor is just one potential element in the battle over Proposition 8.

Great! SOOO glad the African Americans, Hispanics, and Evangelical Christians have an issue on which they can band together! Ahem.

Both sides said they expected to spend $20 million or more to help blanket airwaves. One advertisement by opponents shows a heterosexual bride on her way to the altar thwarted by various obstacles — a broken door, a clingy child — before the tagline: “What if you couldn’t marry the person you loved?”

Polls have shown Proposition 8 is trailing. A Field Poll of likely voters conducted last week found the measure was favored by 38 percent of voters and opposed by 55 percent. Mr. Obama, who has said he does not favor same-sex marriage (emphasis mine - I keep saying this - he is not the advocate for us people claim he is), has stated his opposition to Proposition 8, calling the measure “divisive and discriminatory” in a letter to a gay Democratic club in San Francisco.

At least Obama has stated his opposition to the measure. And we ALL know how well he keeps his word. Hahahaha - sometimes I crack my own self up...

You know there is more, and in the interest of fairness, I am cutting nothing from these quotes:
But opponents are not declaring victory.

“We think there’s 15 to 20 percent that are still undecided on this issue,” said Geoff Kors, executive director of Equality California, which supports gay rights. “We do believe that if we can get our message out at least equal to the other side, we will win, but that’s a fund-raising issue.”

Mr. Kors said opponents of Proposition 8 had raised about $12 million so far.

Supporters of the proposition, which qualified for the ballot shortly after the Supreme Court decision, said they had raised about $15 million.

Those donations include money from religious and conservative groups, including $1 million from the Knights of Columbus and $500,000 from the American Family Association, run by the Rev. Donald E. Wildmon. That group’s Web site includes a fund-raising video for Proposition 8 featuring a clip of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. while a speaker comments on the duty of black pastors to speak out in favor of Proposition 8.

Some supporters of the measure also say they sense a newfound enthusiasm in their ranks since Gov. Sarah Palin became the running mate of the Republican presidential nominee, Senator John McCain.

“I think Governor Palin has obviously energized social conservatives and religious conservatives and all types of conservatives,” said Bruce Hausknecht, judicial analyst with Focus on the Family Action, the lobbying arm of Focus on the Family, a conservative group that has spent nearly $450,000 on supporting Proposition 8. “And if that motivates more of them to get out to the ballot box than would have for John McCain by himself that has to benefit socially conservative issues like Prop. 8.”

Yes, no doubt Gov. Palin has energized the Evangelical/Conservative base, though she herself said quite clearly when pressed on this issue by Charlie Gibson, that she does not judge people.

And here is the crux of the matter:
The black community has long had a conflicted relationship with gay men and lesbians, Mr. Buckmire said, equal parts homophobia and denial.

“For too long, black people seemed to think there were no gay people around, especially black ministers,” Mr. Buckmire said. “They’d say the most insanely anti-gay things, and then the choir would come up and the choir is 50 percent gay.”

Still, the tendency of black voters to oppose gay marriage extends beyond religion. Patrick J. Egan, an assistant professor of politics at New York University who has studied black voting patterns on same-sex marriage, said black voters consistently polled much lower than white voters on approval for same-sex marriage, about 16 percentage points, even when religion was not a factor.

Well, that's just jake. Everyone is so excited about the increased number of African Americans engaged in this process, and it IS a good thing when Americans are active in the democratic process - we have too often lagged behind other countries in the numbers of citizens going out to vote. But what does it mean when citizens cast their votes to deprive other citizens the right to obtain, "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness"? How do we address this dichotomy? And is it incumbent upon those who claim they wish NOT to deprive an entire class of people to speak out loudly, not just in a letter to one club? I think so. I think too many of our leaders, both in the pulpit and in politics, are far too silent on this issue. It is a matter of EQUALITY, pure and simple. How can one claim to be a Democrat, yet not vote for democracy? It is a quandary for some, for too many, though regardless of color or religion, in my mind, it should not be. The dominant religions of the world are based on one major concept: love. The subset of that is to treat others as one would want to be treated. How, then, can Christians, Jews, or Muslims vote against the right to love? How can African Americans or Hispanics, or any other group that has been marginalized vote to marginalize others? How does one justify that to oneself, especially when some of these people know all too well the pain of being categorized as "Other"?

This is an issue of justice. This is an issue of equality. This is an issue of Democracy. And, this is an issue of love. "Do unto others as you would have them do to you."

Couldn't say it better myself...


Texas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Wow, what a powerful video!!

Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy said...

Thanks - it was sheer luck that I found it! :-)