Monday, November 10, 2008

Proposition 8

I wish marriage was not such a big deal, for anybody. I continue to be baffled as to why it is a political institution at all. You want to get married, then go to church and get married in the eyes of whatever god or gods matter to you. Why does that have anything to do with your legal rights? Especially why does it have anything to do with my legal rights? Plus who are we fooling with this idea that marriage is a sacred institution that must be protected? My parents got divorced when I was still a kid, and probably yours did too. If they didn't get divorced, then I hope they were/are happy and love each other well, but pardon my cynicism.

Anyway, I am just going to post links to a couple things I thought were interesting, both of which I found at Racialicious.* They focus on claims that blame black voters for the success of Proposition 8 in California.** In Dan Savage's fucked up rant on the subject, he says, "I do know this, though: I’m done pretending that the handful of racist gay white men out there—and they’re out there, and I think they’re scum—are a bigger problem for African Americans, gay and straight, than the huge numbers of homophobic African Americans are for gay Americans, whatever their color."

Hello, false dichotomies, anyone? I love Savage Love but I do not love this idea that there are a handful of racist gay white men (all the rest are of course fighting to end bigotry on all fronts?) and a whole lot of homophobic African Americans. Not hard to guess where Savage's allegiances lie. I also think it's interesting that he doesn't say "homophobic straight African Americans," but also doesn't examine any of the reasons why black people might like queers or even be queer but still not be all "Yay gay marriage, this is the issue for ME!"

The first of the links from Racialicious, to Daily Kos, analyzes CNN's exit poll that gave birth to the statistic leading to the blame. The second, to Disgrasian, looks at some other ways the same poll could be analyzed, to lay the same blame in other places. Which is how it always works, really.

Finally, Toby posted a link to Jasmyne A. Cannick's editorial as his facebook status update today. The author talks about why gay marriage is not an issue she, as a black lesbian, is interested in fighting for, and she also discusses how what the people leading the gay marriage effort did and didn't do to gain support in their fight against Proposition 8. Makes sense to me. I think it's ridiculous and fucked up to amend the state constitution to deny someone rights, but I also think it's ridiculous and fucked up to spend this much money on a "right" that I don't see as relevant to most of us. (Hey Lisa, the "us" would be the queers, okay? And some other people too.)

Talking this over with Megan, she reminded me that it's not as easy as "marriage is dumb, why are we/they fighting for this right?" because we do live in a world where being able to get married is closely tied to having full rights as a parent, partner, and all that. I said, "I know, but I wish," and she said, "I know..." and I said, "guess I should clarify, huh?" so here. I get that for a lot of people living in our world the way it is, marriage is important. But yeah, I wish we'd work on changing that so that everyone has health care (for example), married or not, rather than buying into it by fighting for the right to get married as the primary battle.

*Okay, maybe that's not all I'm going to do. But it started that way.

**According to Wikipedia, which we know is not always a reliable source, here is a brief summary of Proposition 8 for anybody who's been under a rock: "Proposition 8 is a California State ballot proposition that would amend the state Constitution to restrict the definition of marriage to a union between a man and a woman. It would overturn a recent California Supreme Court decision that had recognized same-sex marriage in California as a fundamental right. The official ballot title language for Proposition 8 is 'Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry.' The entirety of the text to be added to the constitution is: 'Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.'"


Noodle said...

What I think is really screwed up about this whole gay marriage business is the absolute heternormative-ness of marriage. You can't get less un-queer than marriage. (Maybe you can, actually.) I was at a protest rally in Silverlake this weekend with my roommate, and we overheard a young girl say to a news camera: "I'm seventeen and I want to get married someday!" My roommate went almost catatonic on that one: how did we get here, us, fighting to get married?

But as it goes, this is the fight, this is the amendment. Letting it rest sets a ridiculously dangerous legal precedent that will chip away at progressive anti-discrimination law. So I guess I'm going to fight to repeal Prop 8 in the hopes that the conversation will open up and we'll all of us, gay straight whatever, start asking why we define marriage and family at all, and who counts for what, and so on.

Also, I can't wait for Thanksgiving with you, and I don't always talk about politics.


Sig said...

That person was me. The above person.