Prop 8: The Think Positive Edition

The blogosphere is awash in news and analysis of Prop 8. I’m working on a more thoughtful piece of my own, but in the meantime, I wanted to highlight a few of the more positive pieces I’ve found. Call me an optimist, but I do believe in that bendable arc of the universe.

First, lesbian-rights icon Phyllis Lyon wrote in the LA Times, before the decision was announced: “I’m optimistic about the future. Look at all the states that have now done this. Boom. Boom. Boom. Boom. They may not all last. But it’s going to be all right. It may not be while I’m alive, but eventually it will work out that if two people want to get married, they can get married and it won’t matter to whom. We went through this before with people of color. It will be OK.”


Columnist and gay dad Dan Savage reminds us: “We witnessed an eighteen point shift in favor of gay marriage in California in just eight years. We can move another four points. We just have to stay in the fight and remind ourselves and each other that we are winning.”

Mark Morford of SFGate.com suggests that we “Ask the various wary, bepimpled youth of Generation Tweet what they think about those scary gay people getting married,” and predicts: “Gay marriage is a foregone conclusion. It’s a done deal. It’s just a matter of time. For the next generation in particular, equal rights for gays is not even a question or a serious issue, much less a sinful hysterical conundrum that can only be answered by terrified Mormons and confused old people and inane referendums funded by same. It’s just obvious, inevitable, a given.”

Finally, for all you law geeks out there, Radical Russ at Pam’s points out a very interesting Daily Kos diary by lawyer Seneca Doane, who says that while we didn’t win, the other side lost. How? The Court “unanimously upheld the substantive fundamental right” of same-sex couples “to [have] every single advantage that heterosexual couples do.” Doane notes that the decision “does not even say that these legal relationship aren’t marriages. It just says that the voters decided that in California, if they occurred after a certain date, we aren’t going to call them that.” Furthermore:

If you look at who won and who lost today, we lost something emotionally important and our opponents, the people who paid for Prop 8, lost almost everything of substance. In time, they will realize that the battle was really over In re Marriage Cases [last year's case that first legalized marriage for same-sex couples], and they got their butts kicked.

So, while I’m disappointed, I’m no longer outraged. It’s hard to be outraged when a unanimous California Supreme Court just reiterated that California law gives every couple regardless of gender the fundamental right to be married in fact, even if voters have messed with the labels. Our opponents lost more today than we did.

It’s an interesting argument and worth reading in full.

Although I want to be positive, I also want to acknowledge the pain and loss of so many in the LGBT community today, especially those in California. My thoughts are with you.

Your observations, comments, and venting over Prop 8 welcome in the comments.

8 thoughts on “Prop 8: The Think Positive Edition

  1. I hope so

    I hope that this positive perspective is right – that those of us who want gay marriage are ready to fight for it and that our numbers are growing.  I read Senaca Doane’s post and was really encouraged by it – I’m kind of waiting for the people against gay marriage to realize what was between the lines of the ruling.

    In the meantime, I’m hoping for some more victories to come sooner rather than later :-)

  2. Today I saw a Ben & Jerry’s ad on a bus stop

    that went something like:

    We marry fudge, ice cream, and cookie together. We’re okay; it’s legal in Vermont.

    And I busted up laughing. That makes me hopeful for the future, too.

  3. one more thing

    Every couple in CA had a window of opportunity several months long to convert their de facto marriage to a legal marriage.  There was plenty of warning that this outcome might come, and we knew exactly when, so I assume just about everyone who wanted to get married did so.  Several decades worth of marriages.  We now have full and legal same sex marriage in California and those who don’t approve can suck it.  

    It is true that the next set of couples will have to settle for a long engagement.  But probably not nearly as long as their older friends did.  Meanwhile we have men with husbands and women with wives, not men with “husbands” and women with “wives”.  Their status is unambiguous and settled and they get to check off all the same boxes on government forms and file for spousal benefits.  People will get used to this between elections.

    When a transrace parent brings a racially unmatched child to the hospital it is not unusual for a clerk to say, “Sorry, we need to see proof of parentage before you can authorize treatment.”  The correct response, as every transracial parent knows, is, “No, it is illegal to ask me for a birth certificate unless you require this from every other parent.  You may call your legal affairs department to confirm this; I’ll wait.”  I suspect that one outcome of this ruling will be that hospitals will now be unable to turn away a woman who says, “I want to see my wife.”  

  4. nice

    to read positive thoughts.  I was really emotional yesterday over the outcome.  Even though I am heterosexual, the gut level feeling of injustice has been very hard for me to overcome.

    I detest any inequality period.  And I really do not understand how a majority of voters can deny a minority equal rights.  I thought that was the state’s role, to protect the minority.  Where does it end?

    Lots of thoughts and hugs out to those who will now have to wait for the laws to catch up here in “liberal” California.

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