I know that recently my blogs have turned political, and I have never before been a political person, but I can’t seem to get away from the emotions of what is going on politically around me. On one hand, history has been made and change and hope have begun with the election of Barak Obama as our next president! There is no clearer demonstration of how this great country is now ready to choose possibility over discrimination. Being raised in Philadelphia, a racially tense city, I know this is HUGE. Something I never thought I’d see in my lifetime. It is truly a joyous, incredible event in many, many ways.
In the midst of all this joy and talk of the end of discrimination, four states passed propositions with anti-gay measures. Florida and Arizona have now legally banned marriage for gay people, Arkansas has made it illegal for single parents to adopt or foster children (and since gay people cannot legally wed, they are very much the target of this proposition), and here in my own state, California, the right for gays and lesbians to marry (which they were granted by the Supreme Court of California earlier this year) has been taken away.
Let’s call a spade a spade. This is not about marriage. It is about equality. It is about being seen in the eyes of the laws of this country as just another of her people. Another flavor in the mixing pot that is America. Opponents to gay marriage often complain that it is about gays and lesbians wanting to become more visible – that suddenly children will be taught about gays, and then will “succumb” and become gay. Gays and lesbians know that you don’t “become” gay by having knowledge about being gay, or having contact with gay people. It is not a disease you catch, or a drug you become addicted to. You either are or you are not. Period. The push for marriage is not about becoming visible – it is about becoming invisible. Invisible in the eyes of the law. Being just another citizen in love, committed to another, doing what other citizens in this country currently do – marry. Invisible as to become just another person in “We the people”.
There is a trend now for many people to use religion as a means to make it okay to discriminate against gays and lesbians. To make it acceptable to say to someone else “you are less than”, “you are immoral”, “you are wrong”. To justify feeling righteous and better than. To play God. The religious people against gay marriage have been turning religion into an “I am right and you are wrong” institution. An “if you don’t agree with me, you need to change or disappear, for I have no room for you” institution. The little I know of the various religions in the world is that they all share an ultimate belief in doing good, and being good to thy fellow man There is so much hatred being spewed in the name of God, people have lost sight of what they are saying. I know God is all about love. God IS love. And from what I know, Jesus was all about love. Jesus would not discriminate. Where is the love for thy fellow man and woman from these “God loving” people? Sections of religions have morphed into something else, and blinded people’s hearts and clouded their minds. Surely if you strip away the power and greed from any religion, there is love. And love crosses all religions, all races, and all differences.
Proposition 8 in California passed on election day. As stated on the ballot, it “Eliminates right of same-sex couples to marry”. It was backed (financially and morally) largely by the Mormon Church. As I understand it, people in church were told to donate money toward this Proposition which would take the current right of marriage AWAY from gays and lesbians. I know this is a democratic country, and people can vote for hate and to discriminate if they choose, but I must get it out and say it – shame on them. One would hope that people, particularly religious people, would be loving enough to allow for differences in others, but I guess we as a society have not evolved there yet. It was not just the Mormons. A Latina friend of mine was told by her priest in a church sermon to vote for for the Proposition. Again, I say shame on him. Shame on those who voted against gay people being seen as equal in this country. Shame on all the Christian conservatives, the Mormons, and others, who use religion as a way to convince people that “family values” are only for their families and not for those different from them. Shame on them for declaring again and again that gays and lesbians do not deserve what they themselves have been given – the right to marry, adopt kids, and most importantly to have a voice. Shame on the Republican party – one of the two most powerful political parties in America – for consistently excluding gays and lesbians in their agenda to better the United States of America. How can you better America, when you don’t stand for all her people?? Shame on the minorities that already know what it is like to be discriminated against, yet they voted to discriminate against gays and lesbians, many in the name of God. This includes the 50% or so of Latinos in California who voted for Proposition 8, even after all they go through in their ongoing battles to be seen as equal in this country. It includes the 77% or so of black voters who voted to take away a legal right from gays and lesbians. Given the cruel and oppressed history blacks have faced in this country – which has taken years, tears, lives and countless struggles to overcome – they should know better than most, how it feels to not have equal rights.
Many people who think they are fair minded, say that gays and lesbians should be happy with a “civil union” and not with calling it a “marriage.” Calling it anything else would be making gays and lesbians drink from a different fountain – the same way blacks were forced to drink form separate drinking fountains in the distant past. If you say something is right for one but not for another, you can talk semantics all you want but there is no way around it in the end – it is discrimination. Again let’s call a spade a spade. This is not about marriage and the union between a man and a woman. It is about the fulfillment of the dream that is America. The dream that this country is indeed the land where all men and women, regardless of race, creed or religion – and sexual orientation – have equal rights across the board, to live their lives and contribute to this great country that is America. When we can get to a place where we can allow for each others differences, we won’t recognize life. It will be a true paradise for all. All our passion and energy would be available to support and love each other. To work together on anything and everything. And each person would be able to contribute their unique perspective – adding insight, human connectedness, and a deeper meaning to life. What a joyous place this would be! We scratched the surface in a big way with the election of Barak Obama. We have tasted a glimmer of what that would be like.
It is not an easy road to equality for any minority. Look how long it has taken a minority to be elected President. My hope is that being a minority, knowing what it is like to be part of a people that have been wrongfully perceived as less than, President-elect Obama will live up to his words and unite us all, and be a leader for ALL people.
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