Sunday, November 16, 2008

Prop H8

Like many other cities around the U.S, there was a rally yesterday protesting the passage of Proposition 8 (also referred to as Prop H8) which stripped same sex couples of their right to marry in CA. The group marched up State Street from Library Mall to the Capitol. I estimate the crowd at around 500.

Anti-Prop H8 rally on State Street
Anti-Prop 8 Rally Marches Up State Street

The crowd was less angry than expected, considering what a "fuck you" they had just received from the voters of California. Of course, here in Wisconsin, gays and lesbians had already been marginalized by a despicable state constitutional amendment (SHAME on you, Wisconsin!) so perhaps it was just another kick in the shorts rather than something personal.

Well attended Anti-Prop 8 rally
Anti-Prop8 Rally

There is more, so follow the link...

I suspect many are unaware of it, but the Mormon Church (LDS) coordinated and funded support for Prop 8 to the tune of $20 million. As far back as the late 1990's the LDS were coordinating this nastiness with the Catholic Church.

Pointing Out Mormon Hypocrisy

Signs of the Time
Signs of the Time


And where were Obama and Gov. Schwarzenegger? A few words from either of them might have prevented this travesty. Perhaps a few F-bombs could be reserved for them.

You would think that a group who were prevented from marrying whomever they loved only a few decades ago might have had a little more sympathy for this cause. You would be wrong. In CA, African-Americans voted almost 2:1 in favor of passing Prop 8. What up with that?

Allowing Blacks to Marry Whites?
Re-criminalizing Blacks Marrying Whites, For Example?

And here are the current scourge of America. The group that wants to ruin marriage for uptight straight people. Just look at them! Clearly they are hell-bent on destroying all that is Godly and good. You can see it in their eyes. They want nothing more than to completely destroy Western Civilization. Just what the FUCK are you so afraid of, America?

Enemies of the State
Enemies of the State

A final thought:
In Germany they came first for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up. ~Martin Niemoller


  1. Your racist comment about african americans infuriates me. As an out & fucking proud, black, queer person who has resided in madison for a year now, i am fucking fed up with this city and it's racist, WHITE, privileged queer culture...

    from a qpoc comrade:

    Dear white gays and lesbians at the silverlake prop 8 rally on saturday (and dumb white people at large),

    To begin, I am a Queer Black woman. I know this fact alone may be shocking. You probably thought "queer Black woman" was a mythological creature, made up by the writers of the L Word in the 4th season.
    You've probably never Noticed one in real life. Or have seen such a person when you're hanging out at one of your exclusive, slick, hipster-hideaways that line the streets of silverlake these days. But it's true, we do exist. Now, I understand this may require a moment to process. So go ahead, take a minute...

    Truth be told, I have no personal investment in the struggle for lgbtq marriage rights. I'm not all that interested in a patriarchal institution historically used to oppress women.
    I'd rather explore more creative and liberating expressions of queer love, than conform to such a tired old convention as marriage.
    Yet I do recognize that there are certain privileges associated with marriage, that everyone should have a right to access. Still, this struggle is not on my list of priorities.

    Despite this I was yet another of the many people who voted against prop 8, who were terribly distraught when it passed, and who joined in street protest to express outrage. This is because I was so moved by the obvious and profound level of hate which motivated and fueled the "yes on 8" campaign. These people only sought to further poison people throughout our state with hate against our LGBTQ community. They did so in the face of all the work many people have done and continue to do on the daily to make this place safe for LGBTQ people. So that we can one day walk down streets without any fear of suffering attack because of who we are. So when I saw "yes on 8" rallies with large groups of kids and children shouting out derogatory slurs and wielding those terrible signs, I could not be but totally overwhelmed by the hate.

    So this past saturday night, I assumed I was attending an anti-hate rally. But that could not have been further from the truth. On stage was some white, dinosaur, les-biatch completely berating and tearing down the entire "african-american community". Blaming us for the passing of prop 8, she all but outrightly called Black people ignorant and foolish. She continuously used "us" in reference to gay people and "they/you" meaning black people. And to my surprise, all the folks around me were cheering and hollering at her every indictment of the black community. I learned that night that the racist rhetoric at this rally was in response to the divisive reporting propagated by mainstream media that Blacks voted in proposition 8.

    There are two dangerous underlying assumptions insinuated by this woman speaker and all the news reports. Firstly is that homosexuality is White. And secondly, that communities of color are absolutely homophobic. The reason these assumptions are so dangerous, is that they make me and all queer people of color invisible, as if we don't exist. These assumptions render my perspective and my own life experiences invisible, and they leave no space for qpoc within the lgbtq rights movement. Just like there was no space for me at that rally. If "us" is the queer community and "they" are black people, then where am I? I wonder if you white gays and lesbians could not see the queer black woman beside you, when you rallied that black people had stolen queer rights.

    And just to get this out the way, Black people did NOT make the proposition 8 vote. The media has hyped the exit poll that "2 to 1 black voters supported prop 8." Even if that were 100% true, there's no way Black people made the election. Anyone who bothered to think for themselves, or maybe even look at ALL the facts of the situation, would immediately see the fallacy of that conclusion. While the Black vote may have favored prop 8, the black vote still represents a minority percentage of the total voting population (Less than 7%!).The majority population in this state is still WHITE, and the majority of the voting population is WHITE. Therefore, even more white people voted for prop 8 than anybody else. The total number of black votes for prop 8 alone could NOT have made or broke the election, but 8 would not have passed without white people. DUH.

    That this focus on misinformation is an obvious ploy to distract, divide and conquer the lgbtq rights movement, was totally lost on you all. Instead you white gays and lesbians just gobbled up this bullshit and swallowed hard. While I'm tempted to write you all off as ignoramus maximus, I think the fact that white gays and lesbians were so ready to point the finger of blame at Black people, further exposes the racist assumptions harbored within that community, as well as the lack of space for recognition of intersectional identities.

    Last I checked the "yes on 8" people were leading a very successful campaign of lies and misinformation, confusing prop 8 as an issue of child education.
    Given all the people who voted in fear based on these lies, how is it that the Black community so unanimously voted in hate and bigotry?

    And here's a question, why is it that the most immediate response of the white gay rights movement in this situation, was to start pointing the finger of blame? Are you all in second grade, is this really the most productive thing that could be happening now? Even I know, with my short few years of organizing, that when you come to the end of an unsuccessful campaign, you come together as an organization/movement/etc.
    and ask yourselves "what did we do well, what could we have done better, and where to we go from here within a larger strategy?" You don't go pouting in the streets about whose fault it is you didn't win!?

    But this response isn't all that surprising given that the average gay/lesbian within your movement experiences a great deal of privilige on account of race&class. And typically it is the people with the most privilige that have the most difficulty holding THEMSELVES accountable to anything, and not just blaming everybody else.
    In fact, the closest any of you have probably ever come to accountability is your white guilt, and Lord knows that's not even close!

    Fox 11 news happened to catch and feature the rally's ignoramus supreme on the ten o' clock news.
    "We (gay/white) people made Obama president, and they (Black people) left us behind! That's it, we're the last minority left now!"

    This guy (like many of you I'm sure) voted away his white guilt at the polls last week. And he clearly thinks that the country purged itself of white supremacy in a single vote last week. Now you poor, poor, white gays and lesbians- you are the last of the oppressed! Alas the tables have turned, and it is us Black people barring you from your constitutional rights. We funded the $20 million "yes on 8" campaign of lies and misinformation- oh wait, that was other white people? Well, we contributed the largest percentage of total "yes" votes- no? that was white people too!? Well darn, now none of this making sense..

    I realize this letter has gotten pretty long, so I'll finish by saying this.
    If you white gaze and lesbiannes are so ready to leave Black people out of your gay rights movement, so be it. Who wants to be where they're not wanted anyway. We'll take our beautiful brown selves elsewhere, and start a real rainbow movement.
    And we'll take all references to our civil rights movement with us. No more appropriating that legacy. Nope, not allowed. Because how you gonna hate on us, and then allude to our struggles in your commercials. I don't think so.

  2. Thanks for the comment, quinkastink22. I think you maybe missed my point, though I can certainly see how you got there. First, I should point out that I am not gay, lesbian, or transgendered, nor even bi. I'm straight, and married. However, I certainly see the value of marriage, flawed by it's patriarchal roots though it may be.

    I'll start there. My wife is certainly not - in any sense of the word - held down by me. In our case, our marriage, the specific rather than the general, is based on partnership. We pool all money as household funds, pay all bills from it, and share the wealth of whatever is left over. She has her own personal bank accounts and credit cards in addition to our joint money. She is co-owner of our house and car, and (if we had any) would be co-responsible for our debt. She (we) benefits from health care options that I have as a result of working for corporate America. Her job does not offer health care. Were we not married, she would be either out of luck, or out of pocket. Further, being married provides us with specific legal abilities to take care of each other in medical emergencies. If we were just Persons Of Opposite Sex Sharing Living Quarters, a boorish family member could prevent me from making decisions for her care, and vice versa. Could Domestic Partnership provide the same benefits? Maybe, but not always. Why have seperate but equal?

    I simply cannot know how specific black gays and lesbians feel, any more than I can know how specific white, latino, asian, or any other individual feels. I do know that my friends are deeply affected by Prop 8 and the equally hateful legislation enacted here in WI. However, I can read a newspaper and get stats on how large, general demographic groups voted. You infer many things about me based on one post. Talk about painting with a broad brush! To sum up what I think I know from the media (hated if it says something we don't want to hear):

    - The Mormon Church (LDS) poured something like $20 million into "Yes On 8". They partnered with the Catholic Church on this. It is despicable and wrong-thinking.
    - Old white people voted Yes on 8. It is wrong-thinking. Old white people vote in large numbers.
    - Lesser educated white people voted Yes on 8.
    - Blacks voted 2:1 Yes on 8.

    Am I free to point out any of those things, or just some of them?

    Old white people are a self-correcting problem. They will die and their attitude dies with them. Young, educated white voters really don't much care who you marry, or not. In theory, one generation from now this will be a non-issue.

    I expect religions to get their knickers in a twist about stuff like this. It undercuts their temporal power. I hate it. But I expect it. I have maintained for years that religions ought to be free to restrict religious marriages (Mormons or Catholics can refuse to marry same-sex couples) but the State (Fed) should be free to marry whoever it sees fit, granting all rights AND obligations to the couple. In no way is my M-F marriage threatened by M-M or F-F marriage.

    I suspect your heat at my post comes from the "Whose Rights Are Next" photo and my caption. I chose that on purpose, because it:

    - is an issue (a "right") that occured in my lifetime
    - generated all sorts of religious interferance and intolerance
    - was deemed a thing so wrong that it would wreck traditional marriage (and even civilization as we know it)
    - polarized people
    - and was a restriction that needed fixing

    In short, it has a lot of parallels with the current topic. And of the demographic groups I listed above, I bet a couple of them would still have an issue with black-white marriage if they were polled annonymously. I also know that there were both blacks and whites who didn't support b-w marriage. It was wrong-thinking that limited the entire group based on individual's interests.

    So sure, more whites voted Yes on 8 than did blacks. But not as a percentage. If that had been the case, Prop 8 would have passed more like 66:33 percent, not 52:47.

    I am not trying to scapegoat blacks here, any more than I am Mormons and Catholics. But acknowledging the role each played is important because that is what the LGBT community will have to overcome in order to reverse these bad, stupid, hurtful laws (amendments to Constitutions!).

    And for the record, I really don't give a shit that Obama is half-black except in sort of an "it's about time" sort of way. Ditto if the Dem candidate had been Hillary/a woman. My family has no particular original sin of slavery either, since my ancestors emigrated here after the emancipation. I respectfully hand back your smear of white guilt.

  3. Was it the truth that they voted 2:1? If it is the truth then what is the issue with quoting a statistic? I think people are getting side tracked and taking offense because they are being overly defensive. You are probably just quoting some figures you read. I believe that prop 8 is for california only. I believe that change will eventually come and the gays will eventually get equal marriage rights or something equivalant. Look at how long and hard women had to fight to vote and how long and hard blacks had to fight for their rights, and look at the labor movement and how much trouble there was before we got labor laws passed. Change is difficult but it will come. Change will not come overnight. But slowly surely attitudes will change and we will make progress.

  4. @Anonymous: Yes, the 2:1 ratio is what is being reported. Here is a snip from an AP article at SFGate:
    "Exit poll data showed seven in 10 black voters and more than half of Latino voters backed the ballot initiative, while whites and Asians were split. Though blacks and Latinos combined make up less than one-third of California's electorate, their opposition to same-sex marriage appeared to tip the balance. Both groups decisively backed Obama regardless of their position on the initiative."

    Within a generation, same-sex marriage is fait acompli. What remains will take work, perhaps legal action, but definitely some education of key demographics.

    Here is an interesting bit of supplemental reading from a reader at

  5. The fact that my gay friends do not have the same civil rights as everyone else just plain pisses me off. I have enjoyed this post and the great photographs, as well as the comments. It is a dialog that needs to be open. I was floored a couple of weeks ago when my father (small town, union, democrat in his 60's) made an off hand comment about passing Prop 8. Thing is, when pressed on the issue, he doesn't know why he's against gay marriage other than some small minded person he knows told him to be against. He never *really* thought about it. This is the case for most issues. He votes democrat because he always has, but he doesn't know why. He doesn't concern himself with the details, he doesn't understand what the issues fact, I suspect that if he took one of the online quizzes that asks your opinions of the issues and matches you up with a candidate, he'd likely come out a Republican. I bring this up because I believe it is true on a much larger scale. I think many people, folks in rural Wisconsin, for example, who don't know any gay people - or think they don't know any gay people, more likely - have just never really thought about it and, rather than form thier own opinions, just repeat what they've heard from friends or neighbors or thier pastor/preist, etc. It takes a lot to get people to care enough about an issue that doesn't affect them and until is does directly affect them, they'll vote against it.

    Just rambling. Thanks for the converstation!

  6. Here is a link to a great letter to the editor written by a high school girl in Mat-Su Valley, AK. It probably should be required reading in every civics class across America. Here is a powerful quote this young woman delivered:

    "All men are created equal. All men. That does not mean only if you’re the same color as me, think like me, talk like me, or worship who or how I do. It means regardless of age, gender, race, political affiliation, sexual orientation, or religion - we all have the right to life, liberty and happiness. Guilt does not follow race. All Arab-Americans are not Muslim extremists; being Arab-American simply means their family came from a certain part of the world. All Asian-Americans are not all like Kim Il-sung; Asian-Americans come from countries like China, Thailand, Japan, Taiwan and Singapore and they are not all the same. All African-Americans are not guilty of the genocide seen in places like Rwanda and Kenya."

    Waverli Rainey, you rock!

  7. So what exactly is "white guilt"? It's the first I've heard of this phrase.


  8. I'm a lesbian with a partner of 23 years. I'm also a native Californian, and I was living there at the time of the first
    "anti-gay marriage" amendment. We were horrified that our friends and neighbors would see us as some evil to be stamped out rather than the folks who live next door. Apparently they didn't think about that when they touched the screen.

    The fact remains that homophobia is far more prevalent in the African-American and Hispanic communities than among whites. African Americans and Hispanics are a huge percentage of the population there. One individual vote may not make a difference, but get a whole bunch of them together, and you have a problem. I am baffled at how my fellow Californians could vote for Barak Obama - creating the first African-American President (it's about bloody time!) and yet deny a basic civil right to other citizens of the state. I still, to this day, have not gotten an answer from anybody on how gay marriage is going to "endanger" straight people. I've been asking for years. Not one answer. I recall one commentator saying something like, "Go ahead and let gays marry. They ought to be given the chance to be as miserable as the rest of us."

    I've been reading about marriage and family life in Colonial New England, and marriage was consistently viewed first as a civil contract, secondly as a "sacred" rite - so much for any argument that the "founding fathers" saw it differently. This is true today. If it wasn't, one would not need a license, one could not be married by a judge/justice of the peace but would have to be married in a church by a minister, one would not need to go to court and divide property in a legal divorce proceeding. Those "Las Vegas weddings" wouldn't be possible. Marriage is, and always has been, an economic institution. Dressing it up in religion doesn't make it any less so.

    If a church refuses to marry gay people or have them as members, then it absolutely has the right to do so. It does not have the right, however, to interfere in a civil legal contract.
    - Badger

  9. White guilt? I have to surmise here, but I assume it is my supposed guilt for all the hienous things done to blacks by whites. I am to feel guilty because of my whiteness, not because of any action, or lack thereof, on my part.

    It was this too-easy condemnation (the very crime the first commenter is accusing me of!) that prompted me to post Ms. Rainey's essay, particularly this bit:

    "Guilt does not follow race. All Arab-Americans are not Muslim extremists..."

  10. Graph Jam has an excellent graph showing the full consequences of gay marriage. Recommended viewing.

  11. i angrily posted that letter in response to your statement:

    "You would think that a group who were prevented from marrying whomever they loved only a few decades ago might have had a little more sympathy for this cause. You would be wrong. In CA, African-Americans voted almost 2:1 in favor of passing Prop 8. What up with that?"

    because i think there is so much unchecked racism in madison. i have nothing to do with the white guilt you feel as a result of me calling you out on your blatant lack of acknowledgment to your privilege.

    i really think you have to look at who proposition 8 was actually going to benefit in the first place, middle class, assimilationist, white couples. i'm sick and tired of hearing folks BLAME and QUESTION people of color, for not supporting this proposition...what infuriates me even more is that countless queers, transfolk and gender-variant folks are being violently murdered, beaten and trampled on by the state every single fucking day, and the general response from the mainstream gay community is to donate money to the fucking transphobic, capitalist HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN in their efforts to turn us all straight, instead of subverting the state, building coalitions (ESPECIALLY WITH COMMUNITIES OF COLOR) and making those communities actual safe spaces for ALL queer identified folk

    ...this is really fucked up and discouraging to me.

  12. Well quinkastink22, it's clear you have a powerful mad going on. You are wrong to assume that my posting a statistic, one clearly and evidentially reported quite widely, makes me a racist. You are calling me a racist because I am white. Period. So there is no point in trying to address you logically.

    I support gay rights. I don't care, at all, if you want to get married or not. I DO CARE that many same-sex partners want the same marital benefits that I enjoy as a heterosexual. It is wrong that they are excluded.

    In order for same-sex couples to enjoy those same rights and responsibilities, they as a group need to educate or circumvent the following broad groups (in no particular order of importance):
    - old white people
    - fundamentalist Christians
    - African Americans
    - Republicans
    - Latinos
    - uneducated human beings

    Since that list is likely to keep you in a tizzy, I will repeat: The above list is a broad demographic view and does not represent any individual that falls into that set. I know plenty of old white people who are already advocates for equal rights. Yet they are smart enough to know that they belong to a demographic that does not, as a set, support equal rights. Trying to educate young white people to support equal rights is like preaching to the choir. They are already on board. The LGBT community needs to spend its time and energy trying to calm the fears of, and educate the groups I listed above. If that is racist, then it is also ageist, politicalist, religiousist, and educationist.

    I do not know your story or what filled your belly with anger. I am not The Man and I do not have my boot on your neck, and never have. I do not care what color your skin is or who you make out with or how or how many (as long as everyone is a consenting adult, of course). I do not care if you want to get married or not. I support your right to subvert the dominant paradigm which is fucked up in many ways.

    I am not your problem.

    And finally, I think you are right about the Human Rights Campaign.

    You are welcome to rebut, but I am done responding so the last word will be yours. Best of luck to you.

  13. I found this post at Andrew Sullivan'sblog, The Daily Dish, quite appropriate to post here:

    "One useful data point from the NYT today. In 1968, a year after the Supreme Court struck down anti-miscegenation laws:
    53 percent of non-blacks agreed that there should be laws against marriages between Negroes and whites.
    And around 53 percent of non-gays voted against marriage equality in Prop 8 forty years later. So sme [sic] things don;t [sic] change. In fact, the popular hostility to miscegnation in America was far deeper and wider in the 1960s than hostility to gay marriage today.
    And yet that broad popular majority did not intimidate the courts then, did it? "


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