More Reaction to Proposition 8

I was going to stick this all in an open thread, but the outpouring from the blogs is worth its own space. Also, emotions around me are still running high as the passage of the anti-gay Proposition 8 is dominating the news here.

From the blogs:

“No I am Zoe” over at BlogHer wrote about Proposition 8, the lawsuits surrounding it and the provisional and absentee ballots that have yet to be counted. Melissa Etheridge’s response in The Daily Beast to the passing of Proposition 8 was awesome. The discussion over at Strollerderby was interesting, too. Finally, the No on Prop 8 campaign released a final statement.

The Daily Beast had a roundup of gay, black and black gay reaction to Proposition 8, which was overwhelmingly backed by African Americans who voted for Barack Obama. I thought this reader comment was right on and important to run:

“It seems like the frame for the passage of Prop 8 is going to be “It’s because Obama’s candidacy caused increased black turnout, and the black community is homophobic.”

Never mind that it was voters 65 and over who put Prop 8 over the top, or that one of the whitest institutions in America–the Mormon Church–funnelled millions of dollars from Utah to California to make sure that 8 passed. The parts of the state that went solid for 8 were the inland areas, which are overwhelmingly white.

There’s no question that homophobia is a problem in the black community, especially the churchgoing segment of said community. And even though I understand why Obama (and all of the other serious Democratic candidates) weaseled on marriage equality, that doesn’t mean I’m not disappointed in him for not taking a strong stand against 8.

At the same time, I’m frustrated and angry by the rush to pin this defeat on African Americans. It wasn’t a black group that put Prop 8 on the ballot, and paid the signature-gatherers and bankrolled the ads. Nor is it fair to say that Obama’s have-it-both-ways position meant that black voters were going to march sheeplike to the polls and vote as Obama dictated.

Writing off an entire race as hopelessly unenlightened isn’t going to help; in fact, a lot of the rhetoric I’ve seen in the left blogosphere tonight is only going to serve to reinforce the idea that “gay” = “white”, and that the gay community only notices people of color when there’s a comparison to the Civil Rights Movement to be made. And the Blame the Brown People push leaves those of us who are queer people of color marginalized by both of our communities.

That’s not the way to build a coalition, and it’s not the way to win.”

Proposition 8 was an unjust law and I fully expect mourning and venting — and not just from gay people. But it is important to remember that there are gay people of color also grieving this injustice.