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Dana Rudolph

How Prop 8 Hurts Families

Filed By Dana Rudolph | January 15, 2009 10:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, The Movement
Tags: California, Marriage Equality USA, Prop. 8

"My six-year old, the day after we lost Prop 8, asked me, with tears running down his face, if we were still a family." —Contra Costa County

Another Contra Costa parent explained, "My eight year old daughter heard many of those radio and TV ads, I can tell she is still reeling inside. We talk about it as she brings it up, but she just ran smack into discrimination, aimed at her on TV. That is a lot for me, it is way more than she needed to see." Another parent shared, "My 7 year old son asked, 'If the Yes people win, will you and Mama have to break up?' Prior to this campaign, my children had no real understanding that we live in a culture that condemns our family, as our immediate community and their schools are supportive. It's not gay parents that hurt our kids, it is homophobia."

I've written before about how Prop 8 has caused children to question whether their families will be torn apart, their parents forced to separate. That might be viewed as the histrionics of one or two people quoted in the papers—except now we have proof it's not.

In the aftermath of Prop 8, the grassroots organization Marriage Equality USA received hundreds of stories, especially from LGBT youth and the children of LGBT parents, describing over 1,200 specific instances of how Prop 8 frightened them, promoted bullying in schools, and caused tensions and resentment among family members and neighbors, among other harms. They have compiled these into a report, "Prop 8 Hurt My Family - Ask Me How (PDF)."

Among the report's conclusions:

  • LGBTI people experience increased verbal abuse, homophobia, physical harm and other discrimination associated with or resulting from the Prop 8 campaign;
  • Children of same-sex couples express fear due to direct exposure to homophobia and hate and concerns that the passage of Prop 8 means they could be taken from their families and targeted for further violence;
  • LGBTI youth and their supporters experience increased bullying at schools as Prop 8's passage fosters a supportive environment for homophobic acts of physical and emotional violence;
  • Straight allies experience the impact of homophobia firsthand and express shock and fear for their LGBTI family members and friends and the danger they may experience if they were perceived as gay or an ally;
  • Families are torn apart as relatives divide on Prop 8; and
  • Communities are destroyed from the aftermath of abusive behavior towards them during local street demonstrations, neighborhood divisions, and the impact of "knowing your neighbor" voted against your family.

The right-wing tried to claim without proof that marriage equality would hurt their children; here's proof that inequality hurts ours.

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Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | January 15, 2009 3:42 PM

Dana, the fact that our children suffer as a direct result of the actions of these so-called "Family Values" folks proves that they care nothing about real families, but only about their own selfish aggrandisement.

Thanks for posting about this!

Every single day I thank the cosmos that my children have never had to face this. I'm bisexual, my kids are aware, and we have many friends who are gay and in different types of relationships, my kids have never ever known that to be odd or wrong.

In Canada things are generally different but there have been incidents in my community in the past and they've been vile - bashings and such.

I have cried so many times for reading tales like these, I truly wish there was more that I could do. Please know that I'm with you, no matter how small my voice may be.

Yup. I'm glad we have these studies to prove what we already know is true, and we need to keep on publicizing their results at every turn to add credibility to what we're saying.

Thanks for keeping us informed, Dana.