WAS THE BEST OF ELECTIONS, IT WAS THE WORST OF ELECTIONS
Wednesday was a bittersweet morning for gay and lesbian Americans. On the one
hand, most of us were overjoyed at the groundbreaking decision we had made as
a nation to elect Barack Obama as our first African-American
president. On the other hand, we were heartsick by our fellow Americans’
decision to repudiate our equal rights in ballot initiatives across the country.
Out celebrities from Ellen
DeGeneres to Melissa
Etheridge and Samantha
Ronson voiced the duality of their and the gay, lesbian, bisexual
and transgender community’s emotions over the election results.
Gay marriage bans were passed in California (Prop. 8), Arizona (Prop. 102)
and Florida (Prop. 2) and Arkansas voted to ban gay couples from adopting children
or foster children (Act 1).
The one (dimly) bright spot was Connecticut’s decision not to open a
constitutional convention with Question 1, which would have cleared the way
to ban the state’s recently legalized gay marriages.
In short, Nov. 4 was our Tale of Two Cities. It was the best of times, it was
the worst of times. While one minority group got to reach the mountaintop, queer
Americans were once again ushered to the back of the bus.
As the full impact of the news set in by mid-week, many stars spoke out on
the passage of Prop. 8 and other anti-gay initiatives.
Watching the returns on election night was an amazing experience. Barack
Obama is our new president. Change is here. I, like millions of Americans,
felt like we had taken a giant step towards equality. We were watching history.
This morning, when it was clear that Proposition 8 had passed in California,
I can’t explain the feeling I had. I was saddened beyond belief. Here
we just had a giant step towards equality and then on the very next day, we
took a giant step away.
I believe one day a “ban on gay marriage” will sound totally
ridiculous. In the meantime, I will continue to speak out for equality for
all of us.
Etheridge wrote a commentary on The
Daily Beast which read, in part:
Okay. So Prop 8 passed. Alright, I get it. 51% of you think that I am a second
class citizen. Alright then. So my wife, uh I mean, roommate? Girlfriend?
Special lady friend? You are gonna have to help me here because I am not sure
what to call her now. Anyways, she and I are not allowed the same right under
the state constitution as any other citizen. Okay, so I am taking that to
mean I do not have to pay my state taxes because I am not a full citizen.
I mean that would just be wrong, to make someone pay taxes and not give them
the same rights, sounds sort of like that taxation without representation
thing from the history books….
When did it become okay to legislate morality? I try to envision someone
reading that legislation “eliminates the right” and then clicking
yes. What goes through their mind? Was it the frightening commercial where
the little girl comes home and says, “Hi mom, we learned about gays
in class today” and then the mother gets that awful worried look and
the scary music plays? Do they not know anyone who is gay? If they do, can
they look them in the face and say “I believe you do not deserve the
same rights as me”?….
I got news for them, someday your child is going to come home and ask you
what a gay person is. Gay people are born everyday. You will never legislate
Celebrity DJ, Obama backer and Lindsay Lohan’s girlfriend Ronson wrote
MySpace blog about the dichotomy of California’s votes on Prop. 8
and Prop. 2 (which strengthened protection of chickens and other livestock):
I guess people care more about farm animals than they do their fellow man,
that’s really sad to me. Yes, I am glad that the chickens will have
more room and better conditions as they wait to die, but I just think it’s
frightening that people show more compassion for tomorrow’s dinner than
for the chef.
Yup, Miss Piggy and Chicken Little may rest easy, but gay people in Florida
and California can no longer get married and gay couples in Arkansas can’t
adopt children. G-d forbid a loving family (regardless of sexual orientation)
give a needy child a home!
Oh well, I guess one out of four ain’t bad!
The rest of the community’s response has been a mix of shock, sadness
and determination. In California, which legalized gay marriage in May, the passage
of Prop. 8 was met with marches, protests and vigils from Los Angeles to San
Francisco and Sacramento. The American Civil Liberties Union, Lambda Legal and
the National Center for Lesbian Rights filed
a writ petition before the California Supreme Court urging the court to
invalidate the proposition.
On the No on Prop. 8 campaign’s website, the message was clear: We will
not give up. And, so, we won’t. As Dr. Martin Luther King said in his
final, famous speech, “Only when it is dark enough can you see the stars.”
— by Dorothy Snarker