Wednesday, November 05, 2008

...a Man Who Bruises

My family has lost a lot of battles. Regardless of how this election ended up, looking back on that is how I should begin here.

We moved back to Utah, just in time to find a law passed that made it so only single gay men could adopt, not couples. With great emotional and regular effort, we fought our way past that to become parents. After we welcomed our boys into our home, there were then about three anti-marriage, anti-civil union laws passed in our state, pushed by LDS, and meant to make sure we had no "marriage-like" rights as a couple. We went up to the capitol on each to beg. Each time we were met with indifference or worse. Then we had our Amendment 3 which constitutionally took away all marriage rights and civil unions. Each time those laws passed handily, in the name of God, or family, or even marriage. Each time it was a kick in the head. Each time we regrouped and moved on.

Now Proposition 8 has passed, 52 to 48, and we may be once again without legal rights as a couple anywhere in the US, save those measly agreements a man could have with, say, his attorney. It is again difficult to take, and admit the world isn't what it should be and that this country isn't really the place where all have equal protection under the law. It's just tough to wrap your head around it.

I understand how it passed, though. I think the pro-prop 8 camp summed it up:
"We caused Californians to rethink this issue," Proposition 8 strategist Jeff Flint said. Early in the campaign, he noted, polls showed the measure trailing by 17 points. "I think the voters were thinking, well, if it makes them happy, why shouldn't we let gay couples get married. And I think we made them realize that there are broader implications to society and particularly the children when you make that fundamental change that's at the core of how society is organized, which is marriage," he said.
He's greatly right; we were going to keep equality under Ca state law, and their ads, backed by an influx of so much LDS money, did make a lot of good intentioned Californians "rethink the issue." Mr. Flint, though, didn't get people to "realize that there are broader implications"; he got people to fear us, their neighbors, to fear that we wanted to hurt their rights, to fear ghosts and mirages of "broader implications". He got them to believe they are the victim. Unfortunately, the lies worked, from the Boston Catholic Charities case to closing down LDS temples. They got the public to believe our case was about something as insipid as making gays "happy" or wanting "social acceptance", and convinced them that separate but equal isn't the oxymoron it inevitably is in law. Simply, let me say it again, they won by lies for which there should be guilt, no two ways about it (but how can you feel guilt about lying while doing God's work, right? ;-)).

The "fundamental core" of society here has been debased, not supported. Sacrifice, family, love and dedication are all made into a legal second class if the anatomy is off, and that sends a message that marriage isn't important to give to some families. Also they've set a precedence of putting into their constitution a retraction of and limitation on personal rights. All should be worried the tools they brought to the legal playing field are going to now find wider use, but I'm pretty sure they aren't worried right now.

Mr. Flint is also right about the broader implications for children, though wrong on which children he's worried about. Marriage doesn't make our children pop into existence, but treating our families like subordinates will hurt many children, and those for Prop 8 will still have to face the fact that their child will go to school with mine and learn that homosexuality is out there. What's worse for them is that their children will learn what their parents did to their friends' families. When the moral tide rises, and it is undeniably rising, even their children won't be buying what they're selling, and they'll be regarded as, say, I regard my well-intentioned, though undeniably bigoted grandmother.

Anyway, et cetera, et cetera, right?

I'm writing this now while my family sleeps. I don't want to be the one to tell this to my husband, but I will be. I don't want our kids to see the worry on my face. So I'm going to focus on what we have.

My family has lost a lot of battles, but I'll still start my day with my husband's embrace. I'll be greeted with our children's smiling faces. Family is simply stronger than "pro-family" groups can understand, and we'll find another way, if we need to. Nothing makes our inevitable victory in the face of so many lost battles seem more inevitable than the thought of the three of them.

What's better is that Brian is going to wake up and find his guy won; Barack Obama will be the next president. We have lost battles, but just think of how many battles the African American community has lost, how many times they felt beat down and were literally beat down. Today a man from their community, and apparently a great man (my distrust for politicians notwithstanding), is set to be the leader of the free world.

I am overwhelmed with a joy that dulls the sorrow for my family when I think of how that may feel to the African American who went through those tough time and thought this day would and could never come in the US. I am happy my boys will grow up with the first president they really know being a minority, and I hope this signals the death of much of our racist past.

I'm awake this morning in pain and bruised, but still proud of the US, even if our greatest ideals remain unrealized for some families, for my family. We will get there.


Amanda said...

!! Prop 8 passed?? CNN's still showing it too close to call, with 91% voting in. Granted, it looks like it will pass, but I was still holding out hope. :(

A.J. said...

I am sorry. It's not fair and it's not right.

Evan said...

I heard it was still close as well...

Nonetheless, that was amazing Scot. I'll admit I got teary-eyed when I read it as you once again have proved to me what family is all about. Thanks.

Cadence said...

I'm guessing the last 5% is like absentee ballets and what not but I do like how cnn isn't calling it I'm sure then don't want to get in the middle of this... it's only a matter of time... but how much is the question...
its at the very bottom...

Scott said...

I'm guessing the last 5% is like absentee ballets and what not

I don't think so. I'm fairly certain that the percentages reflect in-person ballots only (including early votes). I don't know why some precincts are taking so long to count, but the absentee ballots are not included in the missing 3.6%.

I'm hearing from a couple of different sources that they are estimating somewhere between 3 and 4 million absentee and provisional ballots yet to be counted.

Given that the spread is currently only 400,000 votes, and with that many votes left to count, it's still much too close to call with any degree of certainty.

If there's any reason to believe that absentee voters are more likely to have voted "no" than "yes", there's still a chance of the result flipping.

It's a slim hope, to be sure, but it's not over yet (and may not be officially over for a few days).

Ophidimancer said...

I mourn.

They can't take our marriage away can they? Doesn't ex post facto prevent that?

How long before our Jim Crow laws are abolished.

chosha said...

The "fundamental core" of society here has been debased, not supported.

Exactly. You just summed up my last post.

I'm really sorry this happened and I know it won't destroy you or your family, but it certainly did some damage to my faith in people.

Scot said...

Thank you all. I know we only know each other as well as the internet allows but it does help to know I can come here and whine and find such a great group of support.

Anyway, I wish it could fail with the remaining ballots, but don't feel it's statistically possible. I'll hope to be wrong.

At least it's a small loss for us, percentage wise, and time will only turn it into an eventual win.

"They can't take our marriage away can they? Doesn't ex post facto prevent that?"

This is what I found out.

"it certainly did some damage to my faith in people."

Chosha, here's to hoping that's temporary for us both.

A.J. said...

There are legal challenges in the works...I am hoping it goes to the U.S. supreme court and all prohibitions on same sex marriage are done away with as being unconstitutional. I can dream can't I?

Amanda said...

As long as it doesn't end up going to the supreme court and changing the US constitution to ban gay marriage...that's what I worry about. :(

Scott said...

Amanda, the Supreme Court interprets the Constitution, but they can't amend it.

A Constitutional Amendment must be either (1) proposed by 2/3 of Congress or (2) proposed by a national convention, which must be convened by resolutions passed by at least 2/3 of state legislatures.

Once proposed, the amendment must be ratified by at least 3/4 of the states, either by their legislatures or by ratifying conventions.

Amending the US constitution isn't easy, and I don't think there's much chance that an anti-gay-marriage amendment would even manage to get through the proposal process, let alone get ratified.

Amanda said...

I don't know, I think in the present climate of fear, it's possible that all that could occur. I suppose I should have been clearer - I worry that if it goes to the Supreme Court and they decide the ban on same sex marriage is unconstitutional, the legislature might take a leap in the direction of a constitutional amendment, and feed off peoples' fears. How many of the states right now have bans against gay marriage? I don't know for sure, but it's probably 2/3rds or at least close to that number. The last thing we need is to have the constitution amended to 'one man and one woman.'