Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Power of Hope: An analysis of Prop 8 and the Movement for Gay Marriage

This blog post contains two pieces of interest for you.

1.  An article from blogger GardensforAmerica--this article is partly a response to the *last* blog post, partly a commentary on Obama winning, and partly a commentary on failures of the No on 8 campaign.

2.  A video entitled "The Prop 8 Issue - Being Black and Being Gay are Not the Same."


The Power of Hope: An analysis of Prop 8 and the Movement for Gay Marriage

Why did Obama win the presidential candidacy? Was it because he was the first Black candidate for the office of the President? Was it because he had some really smart policies that Americans thought would be good for their country? Was it because he is the direct opposite of George Bush, and offered America an alternative to Bush? During the past few months he showed America he has excellent executive abilities by the way he ran his presidential campaign; a campaign that bombarded the opposing candidate so strongly that he won 54% of the popular vote. He showed he had excellent executive abilities in his choice for VP, and in his message that was consistent strong and unyielding with regard to the core aspects of his platform (trade reform, taxing reform, educational reform, research and development of alternative energies). But even his strong executive ability is not why he won. He is the most liberal president to be elected in the history of America. Racism played a significant role in this election. So how was he able to overcome the obstacles America put before him?

I think he won because he called on America to hope. He called on America to hope for a newer, better, smarter, more peaceful America. He called on America to hope for a future where we are not divided by our politics, where America's promises of freedom, equality, civil rights, and the American Dream are a possibility, where America's influence, innovation, and strength can be used to create peace in the world to promote international harmony, and provide opportunities to nations struggling, where heterosexual families and gay families can live together in harmony.

My last point is not part of his platform. But I do believe that his election will mean LGBTQQI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, queer, intersex) families will be able to have families and have rights nationally that we do not have currently. Why do I believe this? Because he stated this in his speech during the DNC, while he did not say gay marriage, he did at least talk about it and come out strong in favor of gay rights--something a presidential candidate has never really done--especially not when s/he is in the limelight. He also again acknowledged LGBT people in his acceptance speech on the evening of the election, during the first few sentences of his speech!!!! We are on the national agenda! I think he did this because he knew Prop 8 was going to lose and he wanted to send us a shout out.

So, to the young woman who wrote the previous blog entry, I understand your frustration. But I also think we need to look at the positive, and critically look at ourselves to make sure that we are also moving towards change. Prop 8 was not an initiative from Capitol Hill. It was put forth by Californian citizens. I think the election results on Prop 8 are a good thing, in the sense that 45% of California believes that the LGBT community should be able to get married. That is huge. A few years ago, that would NOT have been the situation. The last poll I saw placed Californians that stood for gay marriage at 40% of the population.

Also, I think the NO on Prop 8 campaign was very badly run. It did not address the issue of family, which was the crux of the Prop 8 campaign. It did not address the lies the Prop 8 campaign made regarding forcing churches to conduct gay ceremonies or teaching about LGBT issues in classrooms. In fact, I think the best arguments for gay marriage came from the
*Mormons for Marriage* website that Obama IS America! posted earlier.

Finally, race played a significant role in this proposition, especially since California has one of the largest populations of people of Color. The gay movement is very racialized (meaning that it is primarily organized by White, liberal LGBT people), and I think they did not effectively reach out to communities of Color in this campaign. LGBT People of Color often feel tokenized in these movements, they feel marginalized, they feel exotified. I say these things from experience - as a Lesbian Woman of Color I have participated in the activist movement, and associate with many LGBT activists of Color.

The No on Prop 8 campaign focused on associating gay marriage with the Black Civil Rights movement in the 1960's but did not integrate the issues of these groups into it's campaign, nor did it reach out to these groups as mentioned earlier. I think Prop 8 passing should also be a wake up call to the LGBT movement, to address fundamental problems within the movement, and to look at how to build a broad-based understanding of the fundamental need for gay marriage. Perhaps we need to take a few tips from the Obama campaign to really look at how the gay movement can build a broad-based voting consensus on these issues. BESIDES, I don't think a ban on gay marriage is constitutional and I think this law will be overturned by the California Supreme Court.

Anyways, Some thoughts - sending peace and love.


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