Monday, November 10, 2008

Hope Wins. Hope Chest Loses.

So the last week has been amazing. I never thought I’d see someone as partisan as Elizabeth Hasselbeck of The View give a sincere endorsement of President-Elect Obama. I can only hope that the goodwill continues, but I know it won’t. Opposition parties but snarkiness at the top of their daily to-do lists.

My joy at Obama’s election was tempered by the bans on gay marriage that were passed in three states. Florida and Arizona were expected to pass by significant margins, and they did. So, while I was disappointed, I was not surprised. California on the other hand, caught me off guard. I knew that polling showed the race was tight, but I was optimistic that a state as progressive as Cali would come through.

And may I say that I’m shocked that a constitution can be amended by such a simple majority (pun intended). Whatever happened to 2/3 majority? 52% to 49% doesn’t seem to be a clear mandate.

There has been lots of finger-pointing at the Christian conservatives, especially the Mormons, who pumped a significant amount of pristine Utah money into the California battle. (I loved the protestors sign that said “You want two wives. I want ONE husband.)

Again, though, what do you expect from Mormons?

But my biggest disappoint was with African-Americans. Overall, the percentage of African-Americans who voted FOR Obama (and change), but voted AGAINST gay marriage was somewhere in the neighborhood of 70%. So essentially, they were the swing vote.

There has long been a discussion in the gay community about the lack of support from the African-American community. The logic goes along the lines of “since they experienced the worst discrimination this country has ever seen, and fought so hard for their civil rights, surely they’ll overcome their own prejudices and support civil rights for all.”

And while that may seem logical to us, it’s completely illogical to the African-American community, whose religiosity insists that gay is evil and sinful.

Now, I do think that the battle is actually going to be won, and sooner than later. I think that gays and lesbians will get the same civil rights as other taxpayers, because ultimately, this isn’t a religious issue, it’s a civil one.

Which brings me to the obvious solution: Eliminate marriage altogether. Drastic, you say? Not really. I’m just talking about the government institution. Make it like many other countries, where you have a civil ceremony, which grants you the rights and appurtenances under the law. Then make marriage solely a religious ceremony, with no legal standing.

So, if you want to legally commit to another person, go to the courthouse. Then if you want to get “married,” go to church.

Since most people’s objections revolve around the religious aspects, make it okay for THEIR church to make their own decisions about who they will and will not marry. End of debate, right?

I mean it’s always struck me as a little odd that a minister/priest/preacher says at the end of the wedding ceremony, “Now, by the power vested in me by the state of . . .” Excuse me? Does that strike anyone else as a very blurry separation of church and state? Should religious officiants be “vested” with power by the state?

I have to say, I loved when President-elect Obama included “gay” in his list of Americans during his acceptance speech. Let’s hope that HIS acceptance will lead to acceptance by an even wider constituency.


Anonymous said...

The past 2 weeks in my homeland (aka California) has left me dazed and confused. Blocking cross streets and intersections were people carrying signs for yes on 8. The Mccain/Palin yard signs out numbered the Obama/Biden signs. There was a very limited supply of vegan options anywhere. Now granted this is in the east bay a sleepy little upscale town nestled in the foothills of Mt. Diablo. Always liberal, always embracing diversity, always open minded this beautiful little town has lost it's charm. As much as we seem to go forward is it the law of advancement that we backslide just a little? I was so excited to come home to Austin.
"C'mon people now, smile on your brother everybody get together try to love one another right now".
It left me with the early 70"s nostalgia, let's all meet at peoples park in Berkeley, let's end all this war and hate, I'll cut school and hitchike there. You bring the window pane.....

thirdcoast2leftcoast said...

Ever the glass-half full girl, the good news is that despite the loss, the margin was much smaller than in our last fight for Marriage Equality (the despicable Knight amendment which passed with a margin of 61%).

And hopefully, the courts will address the issue you pose. From our Governor this morning (who knew I would agree with him on so many issues!)

"In an interview with CNN, Schwarzenegger also predicted that the 18,000 gay and lesbian couples who have wed already would not see their marriages nullified by the initiative.

"It's unfortunate, obviously, but it's not the end," he said about the same-sex marriage ban. "I think that we will again maybe undo that, if the court is willing to do that, and then move forward from there and again lead in that area."

If the religious right is so concerned about the health & welfare of marriage perhaps they should outlaw Marriage by Pop Stars (Britney, Madonna, et al.). IMHO the multi-married glitterati are much more of a bad example than we are.

hokgardner said...

I have yet to have anyone explain why having two adults promise to love, honor and cherish each other is a bad thing, no matter the genders of the people involved.

Even my 8 year old doesn't understand it. "Why shouldn't people get to marry the person they like best?" she asked.

knittergran said...

Well, your solution will probably never fly. It makes too much sense...