8/13/08

Lesbian politics: Prop 8 Doesn't Scare Me


Prop 8 Doesn't Scare Me (in Part Because its Proponents are Bumbling Morons)

Our lovely, talented, brilliant, super-awesome Paula the Surf Mom (to whom all of us here at Lesbiatopia owe a great deal) brought this article to my attention a few days ago:

Judge upholds ballot summary for gay-marriage measure.

From that article:

When [California]'s voters decide Proposition 8 this fall, it appears they will check "yes" or "no" next to a ballot title that reads: "Eliminates the Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry."


A Superior Court judge this morning rejected a suit filed by Prop. 8 proponents against the ballot title proposed by Attorney General Jerry Brown. Judge Timothy M. Frawley said Brown's language was neither false nor misleading, handing a victory to gay rights supporters who want a clear statement of what a constitutional ban would mean for gay couples who have married in California this year.
[. . .]
Prop. 8 proponents had argued that using the word "eliminates" in a ballot title and summary was argumentative, misleading and prejudicial, because it was a negative, active transitive word--grammar that had rarely, if ever, been used in a state ballot title. They preferred "Limit on Marriage," the title on petitions signed by voters that placed Prop. 8 on the November ballot.


Let me begin by pointing out that this is a stupid lawsuit that only white people could promote and sustain. It combines two things beloved by white people the world over: obsessive attention to really obscure rules about grammar and getting offended on behalf of other people. Skeptical? Here’s the judge:



And here’s the Attorney General:



And here’s the lawyer for the bad guys:



O.K., all light-heartedness aside, permit me to join in the fray and suggest that, of all the words in that title, "eliminates" is not the scary one. Consider any of the following:

* Eliminates the ability of same-sex couples to marry
* Eliminates the state's recognition of same-sex marriages
* Eliminates the method by which same-sex couples can marry in CA
* Eliminates legal recourse to same-sex marriage

Not a single one of those is scarier than “Eliminates the Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry” because, if I may say so, the sticking word is “Right.”

Movements in America in the last century+ with the word "Rights" in them (the civil rights, women's rights, and workers' rights movements come to mind) have been relatively small yet heavily populist groups that have fought to uphold the ideals of those Enlightened (capital "E" like the Enlightenment) white dudes [who also liked grammar and getting offended incidentally] who founded this country. I mean, hey, remember this old gem?:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

Mmm, “Rights” with a capital “R.” Yay!

Though the groups that fought to maintain these Rights for all Americans started small, they wound up influencing major events in American history while at the same time exposing a hideous bunch of American racists and bigots for what they were--ridiculous douchebags! Total twofer, right?

So I already think the Prop 8 proponents are dumb, but the fact that they’re getting their panties in twists about the word "Eliminates" and not the word "Right"--which would make a lot more sense for their cause--just goes to show you how super-fucking dumb they are. They spent money on this issue, and even I could have strategized their attack better. Keep up the wasteful spending of those hard-earned donations, morons!

And this whole lawsuit--regardless of word choice--really is a puzzler for me. This is a ballot initiative specifically targeting gay people, so we already know the Prop 8 proponents hate queers; do they really think dressing up the language they use to oppress us is all that important? Do they think people won’t notice what total jerkoffs they are because they call the initiative something else? Really?

Look. Quite frankly, fellow lesbians, I am not all that concerned about Prop 8. Governor Schwarzenegger’s office has already declared that Arnie will not amend the state's Constitution to overturn the court’s decision (read: he’ll veto Prop 8 if it passes-—heck, he’ll veto anything until the clowns in our state legislature can pass a freaking budget), so I have things about which I’m more worried. Even though I’m not planning on breeding—ever—I am more concerned about Props 4, 5, and 11 (the last of which would redistrict CA into a Republican stronghold) and the new proposed L.A. Metro Tax, which would be a horrible waste considering how well the last metro tax went.

This whole issue speaks to me of a larger problem at hand. I’ve seen the gay marriage debate wielded time and again in a way that distracts from other important ballot initiatives. We can all see that this debate was not resolved satisfactorily by voters; it was argued by lawyers and plaintiffs and decided by judges. But here it is again for voters to talk about, and here are groups like EQCA and NCLR--two awesome organizations, by the way—-spending donations and resources fighting about it again.

Would I discourage you from participating or volunteering with these organizations with regards to Prop 8? Never! Civic activism is totally awesome. Also, there is something to be said for single-issue PACs; the more money you can raise for your one issue, the easier it is to get politicians to take notice of your group. The one problem is I don't want the LGB voting caucus [I omit the T as I'm not really sure how the T of our community is affected by all this so I do not purport to speak for them] to be defined by the gay marriage issue (as I believe, for instance, people sometimes misleadingly define the Jewish voting community by the actions of AIPAC).

My one request would be that we as a community educate ourselves about topics other than gay marriage, too, such that we don’t become blind to or any less avid about issues that are scary for all Californians and Americans—-not just for the homos.

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2 comments:

Chino Blanco said...

This Thursday, August 14th, from 5:30 p.m - 8:30 p.m. at 2020 Main Street, Irvine, California:

ACTION ALERT: Tell the Right-Wing Consultants NO to Prop 8!

http://www.theliberaloc.com/2008/08/13/action-alert-tell-the-right-wing-consultants-no-to-prop-8/

Anonymous said...

"" [I omit the T as I'm not really sure how the T of our community is affected by all this so I do not purport to speak for them] ""

In this case, the T would support the right to marriage, it guarantees that they can marry who they want, or stay married to who they are currently married to ( I believe some states hold that the new legal gender means that an existing marriage is nullified as being same sex)

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