For California's LGBT residents, last night's historic election victory is a bittersweet one.
At the same time that Barack Obama's amazing victory was being proclaimed, it become clear that Proposition 8 was headed to victory. Bigotry went down to defeat on one front even as it triumphed on another. I drifted off to sleep listening to election coverage around 1:00 a.m., and I deliberately did not try to find out the latest Prop 8 figures, holding on to hope that it might still lose when San Francisco and Los Angeles precincts were finally tallied.
I woke up this morning to the devastating news: with 95% of votes counted, a historically high turnout of California voters, by a margin of approximately 4-6 percent, chose to stick it to the LGBT community.
Proponents of Prop 8 can go on and on about how they're actually "fine with teh gay, but it's just marriage that should belong to them, alone." I heard someone on the radio say essentially that this morning, adding for good measure that it's to "protect teh children." The lack of logic in such a statement is simply staggering. "We're fine with you, but we're voting to take away your rights--and enshrine that inequality in the state constitution--ensuring that you and your children will remain forever second-class citizens."
If this is "fine," what is "not fine?" Is what they're saying code for, "We'll agree most of the time not to throw you in jail or lynch you for being gay, and you should damned well be grateful, because that's all you're going to get. Oh, and don't forget, you're going to burn in hell"?
I am so angry! And also sick at heart. I can try to console myself by saying that these selfish, ignorant bigots are fighting the tide of history--after all, we now live in a world where Catholic Spain, fer crissakes, has same-sex marriage. And I can hope that the proposition will be challenged in the Federal Supreme Court--where, with a President Obama in office, we have a chance to win we wouldn't have if McCain had won and been set to chose replacements for Ruth Bader Ginsberg, John Paul Stevens, and David Souter.
But for some reason, these thoughts are not comforting me this morning. I look out my living-room window and see the "Yes on 8" sign on my neighbor's balcony across the street, and it feels so damned personal. "What's the matter with you?!" I want to shout. "Why are you so incredibly selfish, hateful and ignorant?"
It's ironic that this "f**k you," from 52% of California voters comes when I'm taking the next three days off from work to hang out with my daughter, visiting from where she lives in France. LGBTQ folks will NOT quit loving, having and adopting children, and forming long-lasting, strong, and healthy families. It's just that we will do so while paying taxes for benefits we never receive, subject to laws which treat us more harshly than our straight neighbors, and reviled and targeted by some of those very same neighbors who, illogically, regard us and our families as the threats.