Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Issue With California

I never thought it would matter to me if they voted yes or no on Proposition 8.

To be perfectly honest, during most of the election season, my focus was primarily on the Obama-Nixon-Carnahan-Lavender portions of the race here in Missouri. All my major candidates won except Lavender and Trout, thanks in part to the heavily Republican district I live in. Kirkwood probably was one of the towns that voted for the gay marriage ban when it was on the ballot back in August 2004. Frankly, I don't even remember my vote, that was so long ago, many words ago, a couple surgeries ago for my daughter, and a son in another country ago.

So, the other day I was browsing the Internet, finding time on my hands since I'm not cooking for the Obama volunteers. I stumbled on some of the discussions pertaining to the California vote and how the mostly gay white males who were so upset that the ban is in effect took to blaming black people. Why? Because CNN, needing something else to report since Sarah Palin is a bore and Obama is busy building an administration, decided to wrongly report that 70% of the black people in California voted for the ban. The fact was that 70% of the black people POLLED indicated they voted for the ban.

The problem stemmed from a lack of campaigning, marketing, and getting their message out. Asians, Latinos, religious people, and even white people in California also voted to define marriage as between a man and a woman. They didn't want a redefinition of what marriage is understood to be.

The other problem is that, to some gay and lesbian people, the issue is not to "be married" like heterosexual couples, but to have equal rights. I, like President-elect Obama, believe there should be civil unions if members of the LGBT community decide they want to make a life-long pact with their partner. That is up to them. The problem with the marriage issue is that marriage is largely a religious endeavor, especially with the three monotheistic religions in this country. It is a ceremony "before God" that has many spiritual connotations to it. To redefine marriage to include Adam and Steve, Eve and Yvette, would not necessarily give the LGBT community what they want.

I believe, the issue ultimately is around fairness. LGBT couples and long-time partners should be able to visit each other in the hospital, make final arrangements, hand down property, and adopt if they want to. The assistant superintendent of my children's school district is in a long-term lesbian relationship, they share a same last name, and are the two loving parents of two African-American teen males. What right do I have to say that they shouldn't be a family because of my religious upbringing? This is probably the point of Proposition 8, yet, from everything I gathered, the message wasn't communicated and that is not the fault of black people
The gay community didn't include many lesbians in their advertising or any real LGBT couples. There weren't any black gay or lesbian couples profiled and it seemed, they were not part of the agenda in the first place. So what is the point? Is it true that they want gay marriage to be taught in the public schools? Is it true that they want to force ministers to perform marriage ceremonies? Or is it that they want to have a public affirmation of their life choice? I don't know. I guess it bothered me because of the civil rights issues.

The Bible has been used to justify a lot of ills. Slavery was held for centuries because of interpretation of a passage of scripture. Yes, there are many scriptures that talk against the unnatural use of the body between men-men and women-women relationships. Yet, it isn't listed in the ten commandments and Jesus never spoke out against LGBT couples, perhaps He had greater concerns like the soul of man. Sin is sin, any sex outside a marriage relationship is sin, if the scriptures are to be believed. That makes the argument for allowing gay marriage like Massachusetts and Connecticut but that also is what made 30 states ban gay marriage. Perhaps that is one of the things that will still be discussed and maybe the LGBT community will develop a better ground game to get their message across.

Why did it bother me? Because in the height of celebrating President-elect Barack Obama and my hopes for America moving forward, the white, gay men in California ranting "n....r" and racist epithets reminded me we still have a long way to go. I can't hide my blackness or even my womanhood, but an LGBT person can hide their sexuality. It's not the same fight. And we are not the scapegoat. That is why it bothered me.

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