I've stated before that the intent of this blog is not to focus on gay rights or gay issues. It's not that I don't care about them, it's just that there are many other blogs and websites who do that work and do it well. My focus has usually been elsewhere, and will likely continue to be.
But this "Proposition 8" business in California is ongoing, newsworthy and personal to me. As I've said in other posts, The Other Half and I got married in Palm Springs this summer, and we now have our 4-month-old marriage in a state of legal limbo. . .still technically valid, but vulnerable to a challenge by virtually any Californian who decides to make it an issue. Can you imagine that? Your marriage up for discussion--for termination--by anybody else, for any reason?
I do not blame the "No on 8" people for not winning this fight. They didn't ask for this fight, and they didn't have massive religious institutions pumping money into their effort. And they were doing a pretty good job toward the end there. And I am heartened by all of the protests and legal challenges being waged to fight this. We don't see people "taking to the streets" much in America, even after the lawlessness of the Bush Administration. This activism and action is the silver lining in the very dark cloud.
But I am infuriated by what I'm finding on the internet regarding the aftermath of Prop. 8. I'm not talking about the far-right wingnut sites, the religious sites, the pre-existing anti-gay sites. . .they're always vile on the subject. I'm talking about ordinary sites like The Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, AOL News, and any other mainstream site that allows comments. The amount of ignorance, hatred and absolute stupidity on these comment boards is stunning, and deeply insulting.
I've been participating in online message boards almost since they've existed. And the arguments being used whenever a gay topic is raised--any gay topic--have been repeated and refuted on them ad nauseum. They're always the same, and they all boil down to the "ick" factor. Plain and simple, people who are against gay rights cannot stop thinking about the mechanics of gay sex. What kills me is, marriage rights aren't even about sex. Gay people will have sex regardless. But that's where the discussion always goes. Oh, and with a heaping dose of usually hypocritical religious dogma.
I've been with my husband for almost eleven years. We're as typical--and probably as boring--as your average Jane and Joe down the street. We pay our taxes, we vote and yet we are second-class citizens. We're not the same. We're "less than." Our relationship, we're told, cannot be put on equal footing with a married man and woman. Sorry, I call bullshit.
Most of the straight people I know who have been married have also been divorced. Some more than once. Is anybody "protecting marriage" from them? Is their second or third marriage "sacred?" Here in Las Vegas, where same-sex marriage is also prohibited by our constitution, a man can get drunk, find some chippy at the craps table, run off to the wedding chapel, and voila, they automatically gain the sanctity of marriage.
Don't tell me it is a privilege and not a right. Not when the requirements are an unrelated, of age, penis and vagina, and that's it. Some privilege. And don't tell me that I have the same right, and can run right down and marry a woman. Then you'd just blast me for being gay and ruining the woman's life, right? Right.
I've seen my relationship compared to a man marrying a dog. I've seen it compared to polygamy, incest and pedophilia. I've usually seen this all from people claiming to be moral and religious. Can you see why that might piss a person off? Can you see why that might make a person lash out at religions? Especially religions that actively dabble in politics?
It is quite simply stunning to see what people are willing to say in a public forum. And it isn't limited to the online world. The same phenomenon exists in talk radio, in churches and in political speeches. Nothing is off-limits as it pertains to gay people. You can say anything, no matter how nasty, and get away with it. Only the very extreme get any rebuke, and that's usually when they extend their attacks to others, like slain soldiers. So spare me for being intolerant of intolerance. Spare me for not respecting your "opinion."
I am not an opinion, and I am not an issue. This is not on par with believing in a woman's right to choose, or legal medical marijuana, or any other social issue. I cannot divorce myself from my sexuality. I am not fighting for an issue, I am fighting for my life. Homosexuality is not a behavior, it is a sexual orientation. A gay person is still gay, whether or not they have sex at all. And shoot, if you want to end gay sex, let us all get married (heh, had to throw in a joke somewhere!).
Minority rights issues are seldom popular. That is why historically, they are not put up to a popular vote. If they were, women would never have gotten the right to vote. Black people either. Slavery might still be legal. Segregation surely would be. So, why have we allowed gay rights issues to come up for a vote? And tell me, if gays are a ripe target, who's next? Fat people? Jewish people? Left handed people? All could be backed up with one religious text or another. But no one would stand for that, would they?
Finally, I want to reiterate that the vote in California was different from other (still wrong) state constitutional amendments in a very fundamental way. This was not a measure to block same-sex marriage. It was a vote to take away a right that already existed. And if you don't think that the fanatically religious--given a taste of power after all of these anti-gay amendments in 40 states--won't want more, you're nuts. Have you seen their issues? It ain't just the gays folks. It's sex before marriage. It's contraception. It's adultery and divorce.
"The people have spoken," some will say. Yeah, great. The people have voted to give a state the right to invalidate my marriage. Nice. Have a party. But just remember this when they come after something you care about that they disagree with.
And now the story that inspired this rant: