November 4th, 2008: A Historic Night for All Americans…oh, unless you’re gay

Anonymous's picture

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

Gay? Really?

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.

Want to comment on this blog entry? You can do it here, but it would be great if you'd also do it on my Blog, "Tales from the right Hemisphere". The link is below:

http://blog.myspace.com/patnelsonchilds

jeff's picture

Eh...

There were really no surprises last night. Going into the election, Obama was leading in every poll and every gay ballot initiative was trailing. Ultimately, these ballot initiatives and lawsuits are all just part of a process that is leading to the Supreme Court, so Obama getting to pick new SCOTUS members will be crucial there (Justice Clinton, anyone?).

If anything, I was surprised most by Proposition 8 out here, in that instead of just being the usual "definition of marriage" nonsense proposition mainly aimed to do nothing but get Republicans to the polls, it was actually writing discrimination into our Constitution. And, with that caveat, minority voters were still voting *for* it.

According to exit polls, black women voted 74% against us, Latino men went 52% against us, Latino women were split 50/50, and no data was available for black men in the CNN exit poll. White people and Asians voted for us.

If we had information about religious voters, I think we'd see the real voting bloc here, though.

And, as I've always said, gay civil rights is a done deal after one more generation dies off, as 66% of 18-24 y/os were for us, whereas 59% of people 65 and older went against us.

Obama is a politician, so he was against Prop. 8, but also against gay marriage. But no one fought the real battle on this one. The people behind Prop 8 used lies about tax status, teaching kids about gay marriage in schools, and even sent around a flyer saying Obama supported Prop 8 to homes in the past few days, which Obama's campaign denounced. But the people against Prop 8 also felt they couldn't win the case if it were about gay marriage, so their ads never said the word gay, and instead went for a discrimination angle.

But this isn't a contest, it's a civil rights struggle. There will be setbacks, but we are winning. When I interviewed some of Harvey Milk's friends recently, they said Milk would be surprised that a mere 30 years after his death we'd even be arguing for gay marriage. So, in the short term, we lost; but if you track the progress of gay rights, it is moving quickly and inevitably toward freedom and equality.

I was a Barack supporter the whole way, so the gay stuff didn't really dampen my night (mainly because it wasn't unexpected). We have a black president who already plans to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell, and wants to shore up every legal convention to ensure gay civil unions are as strong as married straights. We're part of his inclusive vision of America, and everything is pointing in the right direction.

So, we lost a few battles yesterday. Tracked over time, we're winning the war.

---
"Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment." - Rumi

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patnelsonchilds's picture

As Bill O'Reilly Would Say - "Say Hello To the Tin Man for Me"

Jeff, Jeff, Jeff. I agree with you to this extent - we are making inexorable progress toward gaining our rights and equality. I have strongly believed that since our setbacks in the 1980's. However, I must respectfully take issue with the general tone of your post, which you so brilliantly summarize in it's title. I can see how, for you, the battle is already won, as you are safely ensconced in San Fran, or as it is known to the rest of the country - "Oz". For the rest of us, and especially for the young people here, whose job it will be to move the ball forward after you and I have become potting soil - the battle is far from over. Perhaps we are only a generation away from bringing the "Golden State" into the folds of civilization, but many of us also aspire to bring some level of equality and acceptance to the rest of the country (you know, that big pasture between SF and NYC). Oddly enough, a lot of LGBT people live there too, and for them, there's still a great deal of work to be done. Gay civil rights - civil rights in general - are never a "done deal". No matter how far we've come, we can always be dragged backwards. As any student of history (or holocaust survivor) will tell you, complacency is a dangerous crop to plant.

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- Pat Nelson Childs
"bringing strong gay characters to Sci-Fi & Fantasy"

jeff's picture

Hmm...

Sorry, newspaper work for many years killed off my investment in such things, so I don't see things as passionate, emotional, personal issues. I go to the facts, the numbers, the through line to make sense of it. It's a detachment that I don't think you can undo after doing it for that long professionally (especially on my criminal justice beat of covering murder, rape and child molestation trials).

I fail to see how my title of "Eh..." conveys much more complacency than your closing of "Oh, fuck it. Never mind." Not to mention, I use all of like 3 titles for *all* my replies on here. (Hmm... Err... Eh... I think those are about it, a fact that has been lampooned before).

I'm also unclear how my battle is already won in Sodom by the Sea, seeing as I'm in the literal place where the marriage ballot initiative just lost less than 24 hours ago.

I have always maintained that most of this stuff will be handled in the courts and that I expect the courts to lead popular opinion, the same way it pushed school integration, slavery, and other things before there was overwhelming public sentiment in their favor.

It is why my donations all go to the ACLU and Lambda Legal rather than other social/community groups.

I don't know why every reference to any of my posts has to mention my lack of desire to live in any US city outside of SF and NYC. I do find it slightly strange to be reminded the work that needs to be done in non-urban areas, considering these missives are always posted on the site I run that is .... almost entirely populated with young people in non-urban centers (I think there are 3-4 Bay Area people on here, and no current people in NYC that I know about).

I fail to see why I'd keep Oasis running if I had nothing but disdain and indifference for non-gay mecca residents. I make no money on this site and am planning to put more of my own personal money into the entire site in 2009 to add new features and grow it in entirely new directions.

So, my gay activist work in non-urban areas should seem very apparent.... this site is it.

I don't find there to be a conflict in the fact that I want as many gay people across the country to live happy, open, rewarding, fulfilling lives... but personally, I am drawn to liberal, cosmopolitan, urban centers.

---
"Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment." - Rumi

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patnelsonchilds's picture

LOL...

Well, considering the fact that you skewered me in an earlier discussion because I didn’t find your rather cutting attempt at humor funny, I suppose it only makes sense that you would be unable to appreciate mine. Either we’re both too thin-skinned for this kind of political jousting or, more likely I think, we’re just two blind guys trying to describe the same elephant from different ends (please someone tell me you get that reference).

I know that you are a concerned and caring activist, but at times you come off as frustratingly blase, and I can’t resist the urge to poke you with a stick just to see if you’ll turn around and bite me.

Sorry.

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Please visit my Myspace Profile and add me as a friend.
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- Pat Nelson Childs
"bringing strong gay characters to Sci-Fi & Fantasy"

jeff's picture

heh...

I wasn't even sure what part was meant to be humorous, so I guess not. :-)

I did get the elephant reference.

---
"Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment." - Rumi

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patnelsonchilds's picture

You know, I think I

You know, I think I inadvertently invented a new T-shirt:

Godless, Gunless & Gay

It has kind of a ring to it, don't you think? I'd wear it.

I'll keep it open source, so anyone who wants to go on zazzle and make one is welcome to. If you make any money on it, though, you have to buy one of my books, because I'm poor. ;-)

_________________________________
Please visit my Myspace Profile and add me as a friend.
_________________________________

- Pat Nelson Childs
"bringing strong gay characters to Sci-Fi & Fantasy"

Neutrina's picture

I'd wear it... "When the

I'd wear it...

"When the people begin to reason, all is lost" - Voltaire