no on H8

November 9, 2008

When I left for work last night, I couldn’t even get past the light at the end of my block because all I saw was this:

Over 2,000 pissed off Long Beach liberals marched down Broadway from Redondo to Alamitos where they stood in front of the now-lavender painted Hamburger Mary’s bar (great kareoke on Sundays) to chant about equality, start fights with the cops in riot gear and make me late for work and I wasn’t even invited.

I understand the need to protest such an aggregious oversight to basic human rights as the passage of proposition 8, but aggression and malice will not help the cause. Although a proposition is a pretty wiley way for the Mormon Church to have their moral agenda put on the ballot, it forced people to genuinely think about their opinion on homosexuality for legal purposes. And the state’s “yes” vote proves that most people’s opinions are still rooted in America’s conservative beginnings.

At work, I ended up talking to a customer who was irate at the passage of prop 8. He didn’t understand how a country could overwhelmingly vote for a black president but one of the most liberal states couldn’t allow gay marriage to stay legal.

And so I explained how a regular at my work perfectly exemplified the ideological shift in the country that helped elect Obama but will be of no use to the gay community. He is a proud conservative who had never voted for a democratic candidate. But with Bush officially the worst president in the history of the country, the long-time businessman realized we need to switch things up a bit. Without thinking about Obama’s skin color, the regular told me that he voted for his first democrat ever. Growing up in a liberal state (California) with a well-integrated school system, he didn’t have to think about Obama being black because all that racist stuff is behind us, right?

Well, it’s not that far behind us. But as the passage of prop 8 shows, full societal acceptance takes time, even generations. The African-American civil rights movement has, technically, been going on for 150 years. Maybe our parents didn’t grow up with separate drinking fountains, but some of our grandparents did. And their parents definitely did. The concept of segregation is so far in the past that I literally can not fathom laws that explicitly alienate people and detract from their quality of life because of their skin color.

But what about their sexual orientation? How many gay people did our parents know growing up? How about our grandparents? I have tone of gay and lesbian friends. It’s normal to me, but it wouldn’t be for that regular, who is still a man of religious convictions. To him, being gay is like being a part of a subculture; as if they skateboard or listen to The Smiths. Get over it, he says. Can’t you just be happy with domestic partnerships? In a word, no. Of course they deserve to get married. They deserve to breathe air and use the internet to look at porn and get arrested if they murder someone. Being gay is not a legal issue, it’s a religiously moral issue. And, hopefully, the ignorance will continue to die off so an open-minded generation will finally be able to separate church and state and make sure that California’s 18000 already-married same-sex couples are not infintely stuck in pergatory.

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2 Responses to “no on H8”

  1. Well said…it is much easier for the younger generation to accept the gay and lesbian community. While it seems ridiculous to me that not even California could escape the narrow-mindedness regarding same-sex marriage, I must remind myself that California has a reputation of being ‘liberal’ due to Los Angeles and San Francisco. But go to other areas, such as Fresno, Riverside, and Bakersfield, and it feels like you stumbled into the Ozarks. But one day, when everyone comes to their senses, we’ll look back at this moment and shake our heads: “Wow, how were people ever so ignorant?”

  2. yourdailysnitch said

    Give it time and I think everyone will come around to the idea that same-sex marriage doesn’t harm anyone.
    That’s really interesting the experience you had there and the fact you unintentionally found yourself in the middle of all of it.

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