On June 28th, 2009, we will mark the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in Greenwich Village in New York City. The Stonewall Riots were a series of spontaneous, violent demonstrations by LGBT Americans and their supporters who were being systematically abused by authorities. In this case it happened during an unwarranted police raid of a gay bar. After facing this tyranny again and again, the gay community reached their breaking point. The Stonewall Riots set off the current gay rights movement and are the reason, to this day, that in June of every year, there are Gay Pride Parades.
The gay rights movement, and all that we’ve gained since that night in 1969 was because we as a group of people said enough is enough. So when do we, in 2009, say the same?
The Supreme Court’s ruling today in this case is shameful. If you read the 185 page ruling you’ll find a whole lot of justification. Justification for why they can’t overstep the "will of the people". Justification based on previous decisions regarding revisions and amendments, none of which compare to the case that was before them. Justification after justification and even pats on their own backs for how neutral they were in basing their ruling on the law and the constitutional process of this state. What they clearly missed was that while this case was about amendment versus revision, the case should never have been heard. After Prop 8 passed the courts should have immediately stepped in and nullified it, because it was a violation of the very foundations of this state and nation. A majority cannot be allowed to control the civil rights of a minority, period.
Look at the Californians who are happy with this ruling. Look at their justification. The "will of the people". It’s very easy to tout the "will of the people" when legislation based on the "will of the people" has no effect on the lives of the people who voted it in. How can they live with this when they come to the realization that they’ve stripped a minority group of Americans of their equal rights just because they can? And how can they praise the court has for upholding Prop 8 when just last year they were denouncing them for making the landmark ruling which allowed us to marry in the first place?
For me, our movement has a problem with challenging the opposition in the debate over same sex marriage. We can’t seem to stay on topic simply because the opposition, who worked so hard and spent so much money to strip us of equality, NEVER stays on topic. Every argument and justification that comes out of their mouths is mere distraction, sleight of hand. Their talking points are manipulations and outright lies. We may be arguing for why equal rights should be afforded to all Americans, but they’re arguing about vague concepts of belief, tradition and morality.
We continue to allow the debate to be controlled by their diversions. We continue to engage them over matters which have nothing to do with the issue. And it’s working for them. So clearly, we need to CHANGE what we’re saying. Instead of grappling with opinions and traditions, we need to address their responsibilities as AMERICANCITIZENS. Their responsibility as an American that when they step into that voting booth their first obligation is to support and legislate equal civil rights for ALL AMERICANS, regardless of whether they personally agree with it or not.
So since we’re forced to address the voting public once again in order to get construct a ballot measure which might return our rights to us, my suggestion is that we stick to the facts. We’re not working to change anyone’s personal beliefs or opinions. So with that rationale in hand, I’m going to be bold and suggest that we leave the philosophical discussions behind us instead just stick to the TRUTH.
The TRUTH is that this has never been done before. Never before in this country have civil rights been stripped from a SELECT group of people by a simple majority.
The TRUTH is that homosexuality, bisexuality and all other shades of sexuality are just as natural in our species and most others as heterosexuality.
The TRUTH is that marriage in America is a CIVIL ACT, not a religious one. That cannot and should not be debated. Just send the next Christian who tells you marriage is religious down with an opposite sex friend to get married at the County Clerk’s office, where there’s no church, no crosses and no bible.
The TRUTH is that legal same sex marriage in other countries has had ZERO EFFECT on opposite sex marriage. It’s a fact. You can find the scientific studies online, print them and pass them out to whoever doesn’t believe you.
The TRUTH is that legal same sex marriage THREATENS no one, infringes on the civil rights of no one, and has ZERO EFFECT on opposite sex marriage. That’s the TRUTH, which is why they never explain the threat to traditional marriage. They can’t, because it’s a LIE.
The TRUTH is that legal same sex marriage is NOT about what anyone BELIEVES. It’s not about morality. It’s not about opinion or family values or how you were raised. Most importantly, it has NOTHING to do with RELIGION OR RELIGIOUS FREEDOM. Religious freedom is alive and well in America. We’re all allowed to believe or not believe anything we choose. But they’re saying that religious freedom gives them the right to inflict their religious views onto others and to legislate and construct our lives by their value system. Religious freedom is about freedom to believe or not, but religious freedom also means we are protected from being controlled by religion.
The TRUTH is that legal same sex marriage has ZERO EFFECT on anyone’s religion or beliefs. The TRUTH is that people like Jim Franklin over at Cornerstone Church are not trying to PROTECT their beliefs, they are CONTROLLING our lives.
The TRUTH is that children raised by gay parents are no different than children raised by straight parents. All serious scientific research has come to that conclusion. In fact, what those studies say is that not only are the children of gay parents just as well adjusted as the children of straight parents, often they are better adjusted than the children of straight parents. It’s a fact, you can look it up.
The TRUTH is that this nation was not founded on the principals of Christianity. That is a lie. It’s not a misunderstanding, it’s a lie. It takes very little time, in fact, to read about this. If this information is so easy to access, then how can such an aggressive opinion which states the opposite be anything other than a lie?
The TRUTH is our campaign for equal marriage rights has never once included a requirement for churches or religions to participate.
The TRUTH is that who we are does not have any effect on who you are. We grew up in a homophobic, straight America, with straight influences all around us, we read straight books, had straight parents and watched straight movies. And we were told every day that being gay or lesbian or transgendered was wrong. And none of it made any difference in who we turned out to be. We are all who we are, innately, genetically.
The TRUTH is that today marks another point in our country’s history when a minority group of Americans, people no different than anyone else, were enslaved by the majority, just because they wanted to.
We must stop debating belief and start debating truth. There are facts, studies and conclusions and research out there, on paper, that you can print to prove all the FACTS I just mentioned. Why aren’t we using these tools? If the future of our rights is to held once again in the hands of the voters, why are we merely having overly respectful and philosophical conversations with the opposition instead of showing them the facts?
There are some hard as nails facts in our favor that are in a document that I would guess no one who voted for Prop 8 understands or has likely read, and that’s the Constitution of the United States Of America.
This is not about belief. If the court had ruled the other way today, does anyone think that the belief system of those against us would change? Of course not. Their belief system would be the same, their opinions would be the same and their lives would be the same. With one small exception, and this exception is really what they are all about.
They would be uncomfortable. They’d see us getting married, watch commercials marketing marriage plans to us, see us holding hands on vacation and have to occasionally sit behind us in traffic and stare at the back of our Subaru’s and Honda Hybrids adorned with rainbow colored taffeta streaming in the wind, outlining the words which declare that we "Just Got Married". They would have to SEE us. And that’s the price of living in a free country. Living in a free country certainly does not mean that everything is the way you like it. Quite the opposite. Living in a free country means that you will see things that make you uncomfortable. That’s one of the sacrifices of freedom. America does not grant any of us the right to our own private field of vision.
And don’t listen when someone says that you don’t "respect their belief", as one Christian woman told a group of us when we protested Steve Cleveland, the Fresno State Basketball coach who donated $2,500 to the Yes On 8 campaign. This has nothing to do with belief. This has to do with your vote, and your physical support of an amendment which stripped Americans of equal rights while leaving you totally unscathed. Frankly, I don’t care what your belief is. We’re debating your vote. Every time we engage someone on the belief distraction, we lose. It’s a sidetrack, a diversion, and a lie. No one is working to change anyone’s belief.
And when that woman at the Save Mart Center said, about those of us there protesting Cleveland, that if we expect respect for our belief, then we need to respect her belief no one called her on it. No one said to her that this has nothing to do with belief. This is about tangible, very real civil rights. Rights which she has but which we do not.
I guarantee you that once we have equal rights, there will be less and less debate over homosexuality. Because we won’t care as much. We’re not out here, day after day, year after year, decade after decade, to try and get anyone to like us. We’re fighting, yelling, sweating and working for equality, for equal rights. LGBT Americans do not have equal rights in California and most of the rest of this nation.
So if you want to have a conversation about the issue of legal same sex marriage, you’d better leave your belief system behind, stay on topic, only speak the truth, and then explain to me why the greatest nation on earth still chooses to enslave a minority group just because they have more people in their camp.
It’s 2009 – DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOUR CIVIL RIGHTS ARE?