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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Human Rights: CA. Proposition 8

The election results made us so joyful with Obama's win that we couldn't bear to tarnish the excitement with thoughts of the passage of California Proposition 8 or, as the voters here now refer to it, Proposition Hate.

However, we've been seething about it ever since it passed and sooner or later we have to share the seethe. California, hello? Excuse me? What the fuck did Arnie put in the water that people actually marched to the polls and voted against their LGBTQ brothers and sisters?

La Casa de Los Gatos is well aware that not all of California is progressive. SF, LA, Berkeley, Oakland, Palo Alto, Monterey, Carmel, Mendocino, maybe a few other small towns here and there, are pretty forward-thinking and have a significant population of LGBTQ people. Orange County has a fair number of pinheads, and military areas like San Diego are pretty fucking hopeless. But still, people! Why you wanna do this for? What business is it of yours who does what with their naughty bits? You want people checking around in your bedroom? No? Then get the hell out of our bedrooms!

This is ridiculous, and we're not going to put up with it. Civil rights should never be left to the will of the majority because the majority tends to oppose civil rights for minorities (of any ilk). Imagine if we had asked the people to vote on slavery. There were only a few people brave enough to oppose it at the time. The majority would have happily permitted it to continue or merely ignored the issue.

In the same way we cannot leave the right of LGBTQ folks to love and marry who they will in the hands of those who have no understanding or empathy on this issue. Straight people say, "Well we don't care who you have sex with, just don't flaunt it in our faces. You can have civil unions. You'll have the same rights. Leave us marriage." (No, we don't personally know anyone who actually says such things because we strive not to associate with troglodytes. However, such things and much worse can be found in a few minutes of perusing teh InnerTubes.)

Unfortunately, this is a myth. It's simply not true that gay people have all the rights that straight people have through a civil union. For one thing, in community property states, married people who own property in common cannot sell or give away any part of that property without their spouse's explicit consent. Upon one spouse's death, the other spouse inherits the entire property as a whole — no part of it can be alienated without the surviving spouse's consent, and no probate is required for the property to pass intact from one spouse to the other.

A civil union confers some benefits on the partners thereto, but consider the case of Lisa Pond who was traveling with her partner and children when she suffered a brain aneurysm. Her partner and family were not permitted to see her on her deathbed. Would that happen to a straight couple? No. Consider the case of a gay couple who spent twenty years or more building a home and family, acquiring property together. Should one partner die, regardless of any contract or property arrangement to the contrary, the same biological relations who kicked the dead partner out of their home for being gay could descend upon the couple's property and contest the will and boot the survivor out of the home in which they had invested a lifetime of earnings and hopes. Could that happen to a straight couple? The family could try it, but the courts would most likely rule for the survivor.

Well, the time has come to insist on the same spousal rights for gay couples, and quite frankly we don't care what the hell you call it — civil union, marriage, schtuppenpupik — if it will allow a partner at their dying partner's bedside in any state in the country; if it will guarantee that two people in a loving relationship can legally inherit one from the other to no less an extent than any other people in such a relationship despite their sexual preference; if it will give LGBTQ partners the same tax breaks and family rates on health care and child care and family matters, then call it what you will but give us our rights.

Today is the day that LGBTQ people all over this country march in support of gay rights, and against such antigay legislation as California's shameful Proposition 8. They'll be marching in Portland; InTheNameOf8 lists groups that will be working against Prop 8 nationwide; JoinTheImpact gives pointers on how to organize yourselves, including a site that tells you how to find your local protest.

Fellow digger and gay activist Scoyboy of OnTopmag has a fine piece on the spontaneous marches erupting across the nation.

In good news, many Mormons are disgusted enough by their church's shameful support of this equality-denying proposition to up 'n leave. Thank you to those of our Mormon brothers and sisters who stand with us.

We urge our Catholic brothers and sisters to take a stand against the hate being perpetrated by their religion. Jesus did not teach hatred and discrimination. He taught love and acceptance. He sat with beggars and prostitutes and dined with publicans and outcasts. He did not, as the fathers of today's church do, wine and dine on gold and silver with the wealthy and powerful while turning his back on the poor who starve among us. If you profess to believe in him, then you must act in support of his message and stand up for the rights of your LGBTQ brothers and sisters and not permit Proposition 8 to take away the rights of a loving couple to marry and raise a family — a right that you yourselves possess and take for granted.

To do something about this shameful and discriminatory proposition, you can go here and sign the pledge.

Be sure to write the gubernator, who will be getting an earful from the bigots and haters who poured millions into this campaign.

Finally, for those who think that the record numbers of Black American voters who turned out for Obama were responsible for the passing of Proposition 8, stop it, OK? Just quit. Go read this first, and then come back and flap your gums if you still can. To imply that Black Americans are responsible for this hateful proposition passing is to hold all White Americans, gay and straight, harmless on the issue. And how could that be, when Black Americans comprise a whole six fucking per cent of the California electorate? Do you think if even half the White churchgoing population had voted against this proposition, it would have passed even if every single Black voter voted for it? And, furthermore, are there no LGBTQ Black Americans, or people of Tint among the ranks of the various LGBTQ folks? Is it not a clear manifestation of prejudice to assume that all LGBTQ persons are White, that White is the default colour of LGBTQ people?

Prop 8 passed because of gullibility and misinformation. The religious churchgoers were told that if it did not pass, their churches might be shut down, their preachers jailed. We don't find that a compelling argument, but religious people we're not. So we understand that they voted out of ignorance and fear. Such ignorance and fear must not dictate our lives though. Already the forces of provocateurism are at work, with "unknown individuals" mailing packets of white powder to various religious factions. We doubt that LGBTQ people were behind that, but if they were, we urge them to remember to whose detriment such actions redound.

Much as we may dislike it, we have to reach out to our churchgoing religious friends and neighbours and engage them in discourse. For a perfect love casteth out fear. And quite frankly, it's time everybody got over this fucking fear hangover that's been chewing our hineys to ribbons for nearly a decade.

So get out there, people, and wave a flag or a banner or a poster for those of us who can't stand up. We're with you in spirit. This fight ain't over, but we all have to fight it.

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Stumble It!


At 11:52 PM, Blogger Henry said...

Hear, hear. Prop 8 was a sham, an embarassment, sad, even tragic. The Madame thinks so, the Madame's Southern Baptist parents think so, all her friends think so. She just returned from a party celebrating the wedding of two lesbian neighbors. They got married in Canada though, so theirs hasn't been revoked. But what good does that do them here? Sickening, it is. Another gay friend married his partner in Calif. before the "ban." As if those people who were grandfathered in feel ANY better about the situation. My feline thoughts are with you.

At 1:57 PM, Blogger ThePoliticalCat said...

The Madame is clearly a fine hoomin, Henry. I'd hang on to her if I wuz you. Thank you for your kind thoughts. Your personal acquaintance with dumpsters and the contents thereof has clearly taught you great empathy with the oppressed, regardless of their species.


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