All Americans should congratulate our new President-elect Barack Obama. While it is no secret that I was not a supporter, I can certainly appreciate the enormous historic nature of having the first African-American elected as President of the United States. Obama's victory speech was eloquent and soaring, filled with both hubris and magnanimity in just the right doses. He spoke earnestly of reaching across the aisle to work with both Republicans and Democrats, and brought out his familiar line about being a President for all Americans, whoever they are – Democrats, Republicans and Independents, men and women, young and old, black and white, straight and gay
At the risk of dampening everyone's mood, I just want to pause briefly at this point to contrast the joy of this moment with a few more sobering events that took place on this very same election night. Namely, Constitutional Amendments banning same-sex marriage in Florida, Arizona and…sadly, even California. That essentially brings the momentum of the Gay Marriage Express to a screeching halt. The most troubling of these three mandates for institutionalized bigotry is, of course, Prop 8 in California which, after unprecedented spending on behalf of both sides of the issue, is on its way to passing with a decisive 52.4% of the vote. The far right really hit hard to get this proposition adopted, true, but when it came down to it, bipartisan intolerance is what swept in this despicable and divisive amendment. When one looks at the presidential vote which, in the Golden State, went 61% to Obama and only 37% to McCain, and then over at Prop 8, which has managed to secure nearly 53% of the "yes" votes, things start to stink a bit. Sure, the religious right did their part to push this turd up the hill, but they don't bear all of the responsibility. I mean, do the math people! It tells you that many of the people who were willing to sweep Obama in with a huge victory in California were also willing to check off the box that would essentially squash the hopes and dreams of thousands and thousands of their fellow Californians (and other committed, same-sex couples from all over the country) by taking away their right to marry for the foreseeable future.
The duplicity of Florida's "change you can believe in" voters was almost as atrocious. Obama beat McCain 51% - 48%, and yet Amendment 2 passed with a whopping 62+% of the vote. Once again, do the math. 48% support McCain. Even if every one of those people supported Amendment 2, that leaves 14% of Obama supporters who were willing to throw gays & lesbians under Obama's Campaign Bus.
Arizona, at least, voted exactly the way you'd expect when it passed Amendment 102. McCain won by 54%. The Amendment passed by just a little over 56%. So in Arizona, only 2% of Obama supporters were able to plug their ears and tune out that "straight and gay" phrase Obama used so many times in stump speeches all through the campaign
By far the most despicable, dehumanizing anti-gay legislation took place in Arkansas. It doesn't surprise me. It only disgusts me. This little piece of legalized hate, which either has passed, or will very soon pass, bans gay couples from adopting or fostering any children under the age of 18. Apparently they've caught onto our secret plan to molest all these children and turn them all godless, gunless & gay (and why not? The Catholic Church has been doing it for centuries). If it survives the inevitable legal challenges, this law would set the progress of gay rights in that state back not years, but decades – and by setting a precedent, it paves the way for other backward-thinking states to turn their social reform calendars back as well.
So…nice job, President-elect Obama, but it still kind of sucks to be gay in this country. Still, I'd like to end this on a positive note: Don't worry. Be happy. As I said before, Obama's election to the presidency promises to bring the prospect of hope and change to millions of us throughout this great nation: Democrats, Republicans and Independents, blacks and whites, old and young, rich and poor, disabled and not disabled, straight and……..what's that? Obama went on record again last week saying that he, too, was against gay marriage
Oh, fuck it. Never mind.
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