Diane Silver

Prop 8 and Sadness

Filed By Diane Silver | August 05, 2010 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: California, marriage equality, Prop. 8

When I see people celebrating the federal court's decision overturning Proposition 8, I feel sad -- not for them, but for me. I wish I had their innocence. I wish I could feel their joy.

The ruling from the district court is indeed wonderful. Judge Vaughn Walker's legal arguments and especially his 80 findings of fact will provide aid and comfort to lawyers battling for marriage equality in other locales. Perhaps the publicity about his ruling will also teach the heterosexual population, or at least a portion of it, that the long, well-financed effort to derail marriage equality hurts same-sex headed families, hurts our children, and is the definition of cruelty.

But I've been around long enough to know that Judge Walker's opinion is only one step in a long process.

Next up is the federal appeals court, and then if everything goes right, the case goes to the U.S. Supreme Court. And then if everything else really goes right (and this may be a big if), the final step will be victory in the Supreme Court.

If the supreme justices of the land rule in favor of marriage equality, however, we still won't be done. After that decision, the battle will likely turn to a federal constitutional amendment, and we'll be back to fighting the same old opposition in every state.

I don't mention my glum mood because I want to rain on anyone's parade, but instead to make the point that attorneys Ted Olson and David Boies can only move the ball down the field. They can't actually save us. The only people who can save us is us and our straight allies. We have to continue organizing and fighting, and we have to do it on the grassroots level in every state. I'm not saying that people aren't already working hard to do this. I just want to bring a bit of reality to the celebrations.

But then, maybe I feel a little too much like a cynical Charlie Brown. Lucy has pulled the football away far too many times for me to believe that's she's finally going to let me kick it.

I wish I could cheer and feel that unabashed joy I see around me. I really do.

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No, you're absolutely right. It's pathetic how this community jumps on every bandwagon that presents itself on TV. It's a damaged community with absolutely no foresight whatsoever.

Just like they did with Obama.

Of course Keith Olberman and Rachel Maddow jump on this and dramatically hype it up even more just so they could rally their few viewers loyalty to continue to be exploited.

Let's face it. Gay people are a damaged people. They won't even face or address alcohol use being nearly triple that of straight people within this community. They will argue the fact like wild hyenas which is really one of the most unappealing part of this communities nature is how disgusting they behave. They did it for Obama and CONTINUE to. He could go on television and eat a baby and they'll still sing his praises and wish him a happy birthday. I don't see it changing in our lifetime or the next 5 or 6 generations ahead either. It's a dense people that are too busy naval gazing than doing anything positive. The only thing they are married to is their own slavery.

I do love someone who agrees with me, but I'm afraid that I don't agree with your opinion of the LGBT community. I don't feel damaged, and I don't think many LGBT people are damaged. I also don't see the celebrations as pathetic. They're brave and joyous moments, and I'm delighted to see people having such hope. I wish I could have some myself, and I wish I wasn't feeling so tired of the fight right now. All I'm trying to do is add a little reality to the mix, and well, let other folks who are also a tad weary of the battle know they're not alone.

Thanks for the comment. Take care.

Rachel Maddow was an AIDS activist. A Rhodes Scholar. She has a PhD. And she's gay. I guess that doesn't really fit in with your whole "gays are damaged" thing though.

Seriously, what's with this community tearing down any one who does anything good?

Oh wowwwww, is she really? Wowwww, is that all it takes to dupe you? Is her white privilege in having access to an education? Turn off your TV for five minutes. They get paid millions upon millions of dollars to lie to your face.

By the way no one is watching MSNBC anymore because we've all figured out they're as full of crap as the other stations like FOX and CNN. MSNBC's ratings are embarrassing. They are only speaking to the most dense among us.

Maddow is a lying asshat that duped the GLBT into voting for another liar and anyone is still listening to this idiot?

Are there any other minorities you'd like to describe as "a damaged people" because of their elevated rates of certain conditions?

Do you really want to go down this road?

Does anyone else besides me wonder if there is something in the timing of this decision? Did Judge Walker wait on it till the DOMA decision in MA by Judge Tauro was issued? I don't think the DOJ has appealed that yet. Legal people here, please let us know if the order of things matters.

"The only people who can save us is us and our straight allies."


We need to educate, enlighten and enroll our fellow citizens. That's the only direct action that we know works.

Funny, that's exactly what I was going to say. Feeling....dizzy

JonathonEdwards | August 5, 2010 5:22 PM

While I appreciate the sentiment here, disagree. The nature of the discussion at the appeals court will focus on procedure. Did Judge Walker conduct a fair trial. And the 9th Circuit is the most liberal. So this next round will be remarkably devoid of anti-gay bs. At least in the court. When it gets to SCOTUS, all stops will be off, but that's gonna be a couple of years.

If the supreme court upholds yesterday's decision, you're right that the next attempt will be for a federal marriage amendment, but that doesn't have a snowballs chance in hell of going anywhere. It wouldn't get through congress so it would never get to the states. I think you can drop that bit of worry.

The real thing to worry about is Kagan and Kennedy. They are the only people we need to worry about between now and the final ruling on Prop 8, when it comes in a couple of years.

I think that this victory, though, is cause for exactly the kind of celebration that's going on. Not because suddenly I can get married in California again - I can't and I suspect that the stay will be extended indefinitely during the appeals process.

The reason for exuberance is because of the very loud, powerful, and important language that Judge Walker just threw into the main stream media, the internet, coffee shops, car dealerships, etc.

Now NOM isn't just arguing with irrelevant little gay lobbying groups. Now they are arguing with a Republican appointed federal judge who bullet point by bullet point tore their lame arguments to shreds. We can celebrate the official, federal smackdown that this gives the other side and I think that will change the nature of the debate in significant ways. So much so that when repeal of Prop 8 makes it to the ballot, along with all the other education that folks are doing, we will win.

This didn't win the game, but it was an awesome, awesome pass that got us closer to the goal. And for that we should all be on our feet blowing our vuvuzuelas loud and strong.

Andrew, I love the comment about "blowing our vuvuzuelas loud and strong." You made me laugh! I agree with much you said, although I disagree that a federal marriage amendment doesn't have a snowball's chance. It doesn't now, but it may well in the future. Never say never in politics.

I totally agree with Diane about the end-game being a resurrection of the FMA --- today's political climate may be against it, but we are one swing to The Right or one Evangelical Revival away from it being a real threat.

The Good News is that the arithmetic gets better as time goes on: We now have five states that allow SSM, two states that recognize SSM from other states, plus several states that have some form of civil union. If all those states refuse to ratify FMA, then there might not be enough states left to ratify it. But that is a big "IF" because state legislatures can be inconsistent any time the prevailing political winds lead them to be.

That's what I was thinking too, AJ. I think Diane is right about attempts to pass a federal marriage amendment will heat up. And, honestly, after watching Clinton "solve" the problem with DOMA when he tried to play both sides, it doesn't inspire any real confidence that Obama won't try some Solomonic decision too only to fuck it up royally. He seems intent on fucking over his liberal allies in a desperate attempt to win over right wing voters.

I don't know that I think they'll have enough votes to pass it though. Plus, the other monkey wrench in the works would be that each state legislature would have to actually bring the amendment up for a vote - and there's no process that says they even have to do that much. Here in Indiana, our amendment has been blocked several times by Dems who don't want it on the ballot. I don't see that being any different for a national amendment which would have to go up for a vote during a federal election - or just as Indiana is electing Congressmen, a Governor and the President.

Think Dems want right wingers coming out in droves? Hardly.

Sorry to correct you, Bil ... but while state constitutional amendments in Indiana do need to go onto the ballot eventually, federal amendments do not require a popular vote --- nationwide, once the last state legislature has ratified a federal amendment, it becomes part of the US Constitution.

So when considering whether we are energizing the voter turn-out on the Left or the Right, it makes a big difference whether we are discussing a federal amendment or a state amendment --- the mechanisms for passage are different.

There are plenty of lawyers here who are most welcome to correct me (kindly, please!) if I'm wrong about this.

This is how press releases should phrase the ruling:
"In a major victory for conservative principles, a judge appointed by George H W Bush ruled in favour of individual freedoms. The founding ideals of conservativism is freedom of the individual: Freedom from the government imposing unreasonable restrictions on your personal lives. In Judge Walkers ruling he emphasized how unreasonable it would have been to take away the rights of US Citizens....

Like you, Diane, I've been around for a long time and seen a lot of battles over the decades -- whether it was about AIDS or gay marriage or even something as simple as being able to hold a dance on a Saturday night, I found myself in the middle of them.

But one thing I have noticed over the years is how the battles are getting... well, easier. This wouldnt have made it to the federal court a decade ago. It would have been set up as a filler on the evening news, as a kind of throwaway joke to relieve the tension of stock market reports. Now, tho, suddenly we're taken far more seriously. I mean, when you have appearances on national talk shows by folks like Maggie who's "concerned" because of Prop 8, you know we're making real headway.

So rejoice a bit, ma'am. This is all good. And it's only gonna get better.

I'm sad and tired and sick of 46 years( my lifetime to date) of straight people endlessly batting back and forth the question of whether we (fags dykes trannies) are really humans beings or not, or whether it's time to vote us off the island. And it never gets resolved , really , just back and forth, back and forth, yes they're human beings , sort of , but no , actually, not quite...

And I'm tired of forever being the good little gay boys and girls endlessly making elaborate intelligent arguments, appealing to this or that larger principle that they'll HAVE to recognize, about why they really should let us in to the club...

Personally I just feel kind of done with that whole conversation. Not that that's an and point, it's just where I am today. So yeah, feeling the sadness, even on Victory Day...

I'm neither as optimistic and naive as you think I am, nor as pessimistic as you are.

I never assumed this was the end. I think most of us were aware that we still have to work through the appeal process.

Judge Walker's decision is comfort to me. It feels like justice. I feel heard. And I'm not lawyer. I'm not even a career activist. I'm just someone who's been out for 17 years.

SCOTUS is the end of the line though. There isn't going to be a federal constitutional amendment. If that was ever possible, they would've done it in 1996.

Paige Listerud | August 6, 2010 2:26 AM

I don't know if anyone checked out the LA Times--the head of California's GOP denounced Judge Walker as an "activist judge" for his decision, even though he's W's appointee and a Republican.

This is the way the Republicans are playing it and they will get away with it with anyone who isn't paying attention. They have elections to win and money to raise and same-sex marriage is their cash cow--I think even more than abortion these days!

Anti-gay rhetoric is like crack for Republicans, they just can't stay away from it. It makes no difference that Dick Cheney's daughter is a big ol' lez. Even mavericky McCain can't stay off the anti-gay crack pipe.

As we all know, crack kills--mostly, the anti-gay crack just kills us and that's my sobering thought as we take this to higher and higher courts.

I think folks are starting to see that whole "ACTIVIST JUDGE!" thing for the boy-who-cried-wolf charade that it is. They've just played that card way too many times now.

The Roberts Court reverses decades of precedent and gives corporations the carte blanche on election spending ... and then liberals supposedly are the only ones with "activist judges"!!?? ... Do the Right Wingers even know the word "hypocricy" exists?

Sorry, typo --- correct spelling is "hypocrisy" ...

Marc Paige | August 6, 2010 2:48 AM

We all have a role to play to make sure this victory in California is not in vain. We all must be out of the closet, and engage in conversations with our loved ones and friends about the importance of marriage equality in America. If we know of gay men and women who are still closeted, we must encourage them to be out. Our biggest enemy is not NOM or Focus on the Family or FRC. It is the closet.

I agree, to an extent. There is no doubt a long road ahead. Perhaps further more, the fact that providing civil services (such as in marriages) is a state reserved power, rather than a federal enumerated power, means that state legislatures might be against a constitutional amendment for whole different reasons.

But there are always obstacles. And it always sucks when things get bogged down in logistics but cheer up. Each victory (no matter how small) -is- a step forward and I do think the positive reaction to the ruling does progress the social changes necessary to pass an amendment in the future. So even if right now it seems a bit pointless in the "grander scheme of things" to celebrate, I think the message it sends to legislatures is stronger and more important than anything else.

I am very pleased of blogs like this existing..it sheds a lot of light on the reality of the situation..its a long long road for us..we have won a battle but we are up against a huge war.
I too have experienced the feeling of the carpet being ripped out from under my feet and falling flat on my a$$ , ending up with a severe back injury..I'm afraid to "cut a rug" again and do a celebration dance.
Its great to acknowledge the success and progress of the hopeful death of prop 8, but it does upset me when I see people going wild and viewing this small battle as an ultimate victory and that prop 8 has vanished forever.
Its a long road and we are really tired of the disappointment..its a constant draining battle.
I'm hopeful but I'm not blind nor unrealistic...
Let's see how this story unfolds..

DaveinNorthridge | August 6, 2010 7:40 PM

Cheer up, Diane. I'm 60, I've been out for 40 years and married to my same-sex partner of 39 years for 3 years now (California, during the summer of 2008 before the November election). I understand your trepidation (we all remember Bowers v Hardwicke), but do yourself a favor and read all 138 pages of Judge Walker's decision -- http://www.sfgate.com/chronicle/acrobat/2010/08/04/Prop-8-Ruling-FINAL.pdf?tsp=1.

Up until now, the courts have been dealing with abstractions, but in this ruling, the Judge provides 80 -- 80 -- findings of fact that appeals courts will have a very difficult time discarding. This is new for our issues. If you want to be sad, be sad about the President on this one.

love this!!!

especially "If you want to be sad, be sad about the President on this one"

Victory is impossible as we define it. I fear, mostly, that once this goes to the SCOTUS, and eventually gets through (maybe not this case, but a case), and FMA is defeated again, we'll generally forget about the real problems the community has.

Maybe that'd be a good thing because it would give us some clarity, what with lots of people and a huge focus of activism taken away.

So, yeah, I out-pessimist Diane.

My reaction on hearing the news was similar to Diane's, and I ended up blogging about it yesterday. This morning when I re-read my post I thought maybe it sounded like too much of a whine.

We simply have to keep moving the ball down the field. I think all other civil rights movements have struggled in the same way. It's a long journey.

I finally decided maybe "whine" is okay, as long as it doesn't disrupt the work.

Well, that is where the problem begins is when LGBT refuse to admit their weaknesses. Denial isn't just a river in Egypt as they say.

Have you checked the alcoholism rates in this community compared to straight people?

You might want to look into that.

And if you're so delighted you might want to change the title of your blog.

Good luck. Take care.