Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Proposition 8

So it really sucks that Proposition 8 passed in California, eliminating gay marriage.

A lot of people are really upset about this and rightfully so of course. Cara at Feministe expresses her anger and disgust as well as anyone on the matter.

While I am disgusted as well, I want to be positive. Think about how far the gay rights movement has come. 10 years ago the idea of gay marriage having any chance to exist at all was crazy. Even 4 years ago, when Massachusetts starting allowing it, it was seen as out of left field. 15 years ago when I was in college it was difficult to be gay, even in Eugene.

A lot has changed.

A lot of work needs to be done.

Josh Marshall suggests that Prop 8 passed because African-American voters who came out for Obama also voted yes. There's no question that there are huge problems with homophobia within the black community. I hope Obama makes this a priority. It's sad that what leads to a great historic victory can also lead to a devastating defeat that takes rights away.

And certainly people in states less liberal than California and Massachusetts are banning gay marriage.

But the times are changing. Huge progress has been made in 15 years. Young people, even many young evangelicals, support equal rights for the LGBT community. This is going to happen. It might take another 20 years, but damn it will happen and in our lifetimes too.

UPDATE: To add a little evidence to this argument, note that in 1993 44% of Americans thought gays should be able to serve openly in the military. A recent poll shows that number rising to 75%. This is real progress.

So I'm upset about this too (and it is one of the biggest bummers of the night) but history is on our side.

This also serves as another excuse to mention how much I hate ballot measures, which almost invariably appeal to the worst American tendencies.