11th of 20


Moms group toasts the marriage equality news.

Youbetcha, the moment the California Supreme Court handed down its decision to uphold the constitutionality of same-sex marriages, on the basis of the equal protection clause in the constitution, the battle to defend it began. (For more, see Christopher Lisotta’s piece in The Nation; likewise The Bilerico Project’s Karen Ocamb’s round-up last Thursday, for which I owe a hat tip to Dana at Mombian. Wikipedia’s page on the case is already updated on the matter.)

Still, we had to celebrate. After all, we’re all proud members of Our Family Coalition, on whose behalf the case was argued, alongside fifteen couples and Equality California.

I know I’ll get queasy this summer and fall, being bombarded with the anti-gay people [oops!] anti gay-marriage ads and arguments, reliving the bile and bigotry of eight years ago, only now with two of my own children listening in. And it’ll be a nail biter all the way up to November 4th.

I was talking with a staffer at Our Family last week, sussing out her take on the proposition’s prospects this fall. She was talking about how the whole thing will come down to a get out the vote effort, and usually the right wing has proven to be very motivated on this issue. (Huh? Catastrophic war a motivator? Staggering economy? Relation between the two? Might any of this be a motivator?) I would like to think that if they read any of these LGBT parent blogs, they’d have a hard time forgetting the images of obviously loving families they see writ all over them, and they’d keep flashing on their own kids, maybe, when they tried to justify why our families’ legal and fiscal instability should be inshrined in the state’s constitution. I’d like to think that.

But then Yensing uttered two phrases that made me feel just a tad better about the battle royal we’re facing: (1) presidential election year, and (2) Barack Obama candidacy. Who pulls in a ton of younger voters, a cohort notoriously pro-marriage equality and pro-LGBT civil rights? Obama. Who pulls in forward-thinking, open hearted ones of all ages? Obama. Whose campaign rhetoric is all about overcoming the divisive politics of the past? Obama. Whose candidacy is going to get more folks’ asses to the voting booth this fall than we’ve seen in a long time? Obama.

So. Obama, plus we are going to fight this one like hell. Start now by supporting Equality For All’s campaign against the anti-marriage equality initiative. This is predicted to be the most expensive LGBT civil rights battle the state has ever seen, and we’re going to need help.

Hope springs eternal.

[I know this was totally a post, not a maxi-caption. Even in my book. Just couldn’t help it.]

[Later note: addenda in the comments. What can I say. It’s a Big Issue.]

3 thoughts on “11th of 20”

  1. Okay, I had to add one more thing to this. I mean, if I break my prose post fast and actually write one, a modest one, just this once, I may as well not miss the opportunity to pack in more useful references & links, right?

    Chris Crain, of Citizen Crane, has a good, concise piece on why and how this initiative thing will be the battle royal. He quotes Matt Coles, of the ACLU’s LGBT Project. :

    If we win the case and the initiative qualifies, we’ll be in the largest, most expensive, highest stakes political fight we’ve ever seen or are ever likely to see. Our opponents will understand that if they lose, and the voters in effect ratify the court’s decision, their fight against marriage in America will ultimately be unwinnable. They’ll put everything they have into the election.

    Go over and read the rest, if ye be in any further need of inspiration to roll up your sleeves.

    Most of y’all are upper-to-date on this than I am. But in the interests of helping any of us spread the news further and wider, I want to proliferate the links.

    Along those lines: fallout already falling out, in the form of familiar violence: Pam at Pam’s House Blend draws our attention to a gay bashing in Sacramento, hours after the court’s verdict came down.

    And if that sort of info helps motivate, I offer also this collection of conservative responses to the ruling: Heads exploding over CA marriage ruling. I ordinarily try to avert my gaze from the worst of that malarkey, and heartily appreciate my sistren and brethren who have the stomach to go mano á mano with the perpetrators thereof (and Pam sure is out there, bless her, with a iron stomach and a quick wit). Just pass this on to folks who don’t have a clear picture of the nature of the venom directed against us.

    As preparation for what you’ll read there, I include for you this image, which accompanies the post and which (one has to imagine) came from the hate forum that’s quoted from in the piece:

  2. My mother remembers “white” and “black” drinking fountains. I never had to see them. I hope my almost 3 year old son never remembers a time when we didn’t give people the same rights as others, solely based on who they choose to love. It’s a long over due step in that direction.

  3. When I was a kid, my family lived in Louisiana for a year, and I remember looking out the window at a sign on a shop that read “Colored Laundry.” I thought: well that’s the strangest thing in the world. A whole laundromat for your stripes and plaids, and a whole ‘nother laundromat for your whites. People are funny down here.” Can’t recall how my parents explained it.

    The whole marriage equality issue invites many compelling comparisons to de jure and de facto racial segregation. Not for nothing do so many point to Loving v. Virginia and the anti-miscegenation fight. As many know, the California State Supreme Court made an early ruling in that sphere, too, in 1948 in Perez v. Sharp. Perez has been cited by many in the press in coverage of the In re Marriages case just ruled on, perhaps since that ruling was a guidepost for the justices as they deliberated. In the Wikipedia article on anti-miscegenation laws, it leads off the section describing the last period of the anti-miscegenation repeals battles.

    Two other aspects of that case are sobering. One, while many states repealed their anti-miscegenation rights after Perez, the South stood firm. The “states’ rights” fig leaf that both Obama and Clinton hide behind smacks of cowardice and equivocation on a matter that should be absolutely clear. The Wikipedia article notes Hanna Arendt’s then-controversial statements about anti-miscegenation laws:

    The free choice of a spouse, she argued in Reflections on Little Rock, was “an elementary human right”: “Even political rights, like the right to vote, and nearly all other rights enumerated in the Constitution, are secondary to the inalienable human rights to ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’ proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence; and to this category the right to home and marriage unquestionably belongs.”

    Why controversial? Because fellow liberals worried that such would, says the Wiki piece, “arouse the racist fears common among whites and thus hinder the struggle of African-Americans for Civil Rights and racial integration.” Sounds familiar. I consider it a major ethical shortcoming of both major Democratic candidates that neither has had the courage and vision to lead on this issue.

    Sherry Wolf, in a piece in Socialist Worker, Guess who opposes gay marriage? says:

    There’s something profoundly disturbing about Barack Obama, the son of a Black man and a white woman, calling for “states’ rights” when it comes to same-sex marriage, especially since the California court cited as precedent in this case the 60-year-old decision that opened the door for his own parents’ legal union.


    The other sobering parallel with Perez, also noted when the CA Supreme Court decision was first announced: it took another twenty years for the federal Supreme Court to rule on the matter.

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