Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Six Years Later

I have a lot of things to write about, but today is not the day for that. It's a sad anniversary, so I'm just going to repost what I wrote to commemorate this date two years ago (I changed the order of two paragraphs, because it always bothered me that I had them ordered the way they were, but other than that it's exactly the same as I wrote it in 2006).

From November 26, 2006:

Yesterday was the fourth anniversary of Lisa Beck’s death. Of the two people reading this blog, only one knows who Lisa Beck was, so here’s the history: Lisa Beck became my sister’s best friend the instant they met, probably around 1988. They were six years old. I was eight. Lisa’s parents, Al and Paula, were (are) awesome people. Our families stayed in touch throughout the years, though we never saw each other as much as anyone would have liked.

I’m haunted by Lisa’s death, in a way that doesn’t really make any sense. She was Noelle’s best friend, not mine. She was two years younger than me at a time in a person’s life when two years might as well be twenty. But after she died, I found myself remembering everything about her that I possibly could, I guess in an effort to hold onto something that I’m not even sure I ever really had.

I remember Al making fun of Lisa when two front teeth fell out and took an extraordinarily long time to grow back.

I remember Lisa’s birthday, maybe her seventh or eighth. Noelle and I spent the night across the street at the Beck’s house, playing “Happy Birthday,” by New Kids on the Block, on the stereo for Lisa.

I remember taking a family picture when I was ten or eleven years old. Noelle and I wore matching denim shirts. Lisa came with us, and my mother bought her a denim shirt as well. We took two pictures that day--one with the three Wilson kids, and one with the three Wilson kids and Lisa. The one with Lisa is the one that was framed and kept in the house. It’s still in the same frame and has made it through all of my family’s moves. After November 25, 2002, my mother made more of an effort to keep it prominently featured.

I remember my mother comforting Noelle when the Becks had to move away. This was the Air Force--best friends didn’t grow up together. Instead, they had to keep in touch, waiting for a few years down the road when their fathers, or mothers, would be transferred to the same base again. Noelle was inconsolable. It was dark in the room that night, probably long after bedtime, and Noelle was crying on her bed. My mother sat next to her, promising that she would see Lisa again, that they would be friends forever.

I remember a mix tape that Lisa made Noelle, long before everything was put onto burned CDs. Lisa’s dad had transferred to Florida, where we were living, and Lisa and Noelle were reunited for a short time. But the Becks left again, and Lisa gave Noelle the tape as a departing gift. The tape was always in whatever car Noelle was driving, and she still has it today.

I remember, during my second year at NYU, going down to Newport, Rhode Island. The Becks were living there, so I hung out with Al and Lisa for the weekend (Paula was out of town). We visited The Breakers (the Vanderbilt house), saw a movie, and drove around. While listening to a CD, Lisa and I both noticed the curse word in “Building A Mystery” by Sarah McLachlan. Neither of us had ever realized she said “beautiful fucked up man.”

I remember the last time I saw Lisa. I went to the restaurant where I used to work, and found her working there, selling t-shirts, just like I used to. We talked for a few minutes and that was it. That was May 2001.

Lisa was 20 years old when she jumped off the roof of Smith Hall at Florida State University. That was November 25, 2002, and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since. The one thing that causes me the most grief is knowing (even though of course there is no way to really know this) that the second she stepped off the roof she must have regretted it. And she had at least two seconds to think about it before it was over. I struggle to find a way to believe that there was any peace in the decision, because I certainly know there was no peace in the outcome. At least not for anyone she left behind.

When my mom called me and told me what had happened, it was almost a week after the incident. Noelle learned about it online from another friend. And the only other news was that Lisa had left her parents a note that said, “I wasn’t meant to grow old.” If there is anything more devastating than that, I don’t want to know what it is.

I hope she didn’t suffer. I hope she felt nothing at all. Maybe there’s a chance she felt some sort of release when she left the ledge. And if she didn’t, I’m so sorry she couldn’t take it back. I wish I could have been there. I wish someone had been there to talk to her. It was the middle of the day on a college campus. Didn’t she pass anyone on her way up to the roof?

Al, Lisa and I went to the mall at some point that weekend in Newport. I don’t know what we were talking about, but the conversation turned to the idea of perception. Al pointed to a blue sweater and said that we could all be seeing it as a different color, since there was no real way of knowing what someone else was seeing.

As I try now to come to grips with Lisa’s death, the only thing I can think is that maybe that problem of perception is what got to her. Maybe the shade of blue Lisa was seeing in her world was too much for her to handle. And maybe I just can’t understand because I don’t know what it was like to look at things through her eyes. I just hope that things look a little different to her wherever she is now.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Rally Cries

You're probably wondering about the rallies this weekend. Or maybe you're not, but I'm going to tell you about them anyway.

First things first, two of my cousins (both straight; I'm the black sheep) went to the rally in Boise, Idaho. As you can imagine, the turnout wasn't huge, but it was bigger than I expected. Both my cousins, Natalie and Danae, said this was one of the best things they have ever done, and they were so happy to go out and show their support for me and their gay friends.

Here they are at the rally:

And here is the crowd gathered in front of Boise City Hall:

So, I joined the rather large crowd demonstrating in Los Angeles in front of our City Hall. I've read that the estimates of the crowd are in the 12,000 range, but I'm not buying it. That's what they said about the protest the night after the election, and this one on Saturday seemed SO much bigger. When the march started, we covered at least eleven city blocks. I don't know how they figure out the estimates, but I think they might want to increase the numbers a bit.

We got there, and it seemed that the speakers had just started. We listened to a few representatives from the gay community, then Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Then a few more local government officials, and finally some celebrities. Matt Lucas, of Little Britain fame, spoke to the crowd. Then came my favorite part of the speeches (starting at 0:23 in this video):

I'd never heard of that Marissa Jaret Winokur chick before, but she had maybe the best line of the day, and I appreciate her support. I hear that Pink and T.R. Knight were also there, though if they spoke, I missed it. I was never into the Xena thing, but I think Lucy Lawless is great, particularly on Battlestar Galactica. I like her even more for being at this rally.

After way too many speeches in 90+ degree weather, we started to march. The march began at 1st and Spring, went down Spring to 4th, turned left on 4th, then left on Main to continue back toward 1st.

The march was incredible. There were the "What do we want? Equal rights! When do want it? Now!" chants, and there were people holding up signs everywhere. It was a feeling of overwhelming optimism. Don't believe what some in the conservative media are trying to tell you, that we are angry and violent towards those who disagree with our beliefs. Yes, we are angry. But what violence there has been is an anomaly. There are extremists in every group, and they do not speak for the majority of us.

Here that, Michelle Malkin? Quit spreading that "those crying for tolerance are the most intolerant of all" crap and realize that we are a group fighting for rights that have been unceremoniously stripped away from us. Where's your article on the Westboro Baptist Church (you'll have to Google that one yourself; I'm not linking to them again) and their extremist views? I absolutely do not condone violence, but we have the right to the "insane rage" you ascribe to us, and I won't apologize for it. That column you wrote is the best example I've seen of the right wing media pandering to its base. Nice work.

Back to the march. Along Main, we passed a bar. A guy walked out to tell his friend to come inside and said, "It's a gay bar now." We went in for a bottle of water, and probably got one of the last bottles the guy had, since he probably doesn't get a lot of requests for it on an average day.

My fiancé and I broke off when we got back to 1st, because she was sick (diagnosed with some sort of bacterial infection on Sunday) and couldn't walk anymore. But the rally continued at least three or four blocks beyond where we stopped. I don't know exactly how far they went, but there were people everywhere.

Here are the choice moments from the rally, in a handy slideshow format (click to make pictures bigger):

Prop 8 Rally

Good stuff happened everywhere. In Las Vegas, Wanda Sykes made one hell of a speech (the quality of the video is not the greatest, but it's the best I could find):

I don't know what good will come of these rallies. I know it's good to get our voices out there, and to let the world know we're not giving up. There's apparently a good chance the courts will do the right thing, but then we'll just deal with the outcry over the "activist judges" crap all over again. The "Yes on 8" folks see no problem with the fact that they were able to vote on the rights of a minority. They have never heard of the tyranny of the majority, I guess. If the judges are the only ones

This amendment to our state constitution took away the rights of a minority. That's the bottom line. There is no way this can be regarded as fair in the eyes of the law. If it takes a court to see that, so be it.

I had friends who went to the rallies in Boston, Philadelphia, Houston, New York, and Gainesville, FL, but none of them have sent me pictures yet. So you'll see those once I pester those friends into submission.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

My Manifesto

The debate rages on regarding Proposition 8 and gay rights. This Saturday, there are protests all over the nation, meant to begin simultaneously. In Los Angeles, I will be part of the group gathering in front of city hall for a peaceful protest. If you would like to join us in L.A., please click the "Fight the H8" link to the right. If you're interested in stopping by a rally in your own town, click here and get the details for every state.

There are currently three lawsuits going on with regard to the passage of Prop 8. The gist of these lawsuits seems to be that the amendment now written into the state constitution is so far-reaching, and takes away rights from a minority group, that it is actually a revision, and not an amendment. A revision requires approval from two-thirds of the state legislature, and then a majority of votes from citizens.

I appreciate that these lawsuits are out there, and I realize that this is the battle that the groups filing the suits think they will win. Think about the constitutional amendments you can remember learning in school (they're federal, but the point still applies). Do you recall any of them involving the idea of taking away the rights of the citizens? The only one I can think of is Amendment 18, which made it illegal to manufacture, sell or transport liquor (so drinking it was technically still legal, strangely enough). But that amendment was reversed with Amendment 21.

Amendment 1 gave us freedom of religion and press. Amendment 5 gave us the right to not incriminate ourselves in court. Amendment 13 abolished slavery, thereby giving black people more rights. Amendment 19 gave women the right to vote. And so on.

But Proposition 8, albeit a state constitutional amendment, takes away the rights of a large sect of the community. And the Republican Party's platform calls for a federal amendment to define marriage as between one man and one woman. Luckily, they won't have the power to do that anytime soon, but just the fact that they want to should be cause for concern.

Obviously, you know I'm against Proposition 8, and maybe you know the reasons why. But I feel like I need to take this opportunity to write about what the other side thinks, and why all their arguments are completely illogical and illegal. Let's see what I can do (it's long, so I added something that will have it open in a new window for you, if you're reading this on the front page of the blog).

Okay, so many of the Christian right want us to believe that the bible expressly forbids homosexuality, so we therefore shouldn't embrace it with our laws. The argument against this one should be pretty obvious, but let's do it anyway, because it's the biggest one out there.

First, there is a debate as to what the bible actually says regarding homosexuality. But let's say they're right, and that one passage in Leviticus does say that homosexuality is a sin. The question then becomes, why is this the only part taken from that section of the bible that hardcore Christians still want to apply to life today? What I mean is, the homosexuality thing is one part of a large section in the Old Testament that forbids (or condones) many different actions. Leviticus says we can keep slaves, that eating shellfish is an abomination, that touching dead pig skin is prohibited, and even that farmers can't plant two different crops in the same field.

Now, I think we can all admit that those are pretty crazy rules for today's society. And I'm sure that most of those Christians who oppose homosexuality are busing owning slaves and avoiding lobster. So why is this one so important to them?

It can't be that they're so for "traditional" marriage. Marriage isn't explicitly a Christian rite, since the rite has been around since longer before Christ ever walked the earth. Christians certainly don't have the monopoly on marriage as a sacrament.

And, it's been said a million times, but it bears repeating--if the Christian right is so concerned with "protecting" marriage, why are they not as concerned with divorce rates? I read somewhere that the Bible Belt and traditionally Christian areas of the country have higher divorce rates than the rest of the nation. So where is the focus on that? Gay marriage doesn't actually affect their lives, but the divorce of family members and parishioners certainly does. So where is the outrage there?

But forget all that, because I don't care what the bible says. Not when it comes to the establishment of laws that apply to the entire society. The principle of separation of church and state is supposed to be paramount in this nation, even if many of the founding fathers happened to be Christian. Those who will use the bible in this argument claim that we were founded as a Christian nation, though, and point to "In God We Trust" on the money, or "one nation under god" in the Pledge of Allegiance as a prime example of this Christian foundation.

"In God We Trust" wasn't on money until 1861, "because of the increased religious sentiment" during the Civil War. For those lacking a knowledge of history, 1861 was almost 100 years after the establishment of the United States of America. And even then, it was only placed on the coin money. The paper money didn't get the motto until 1957, during the McCarthy era. So, war, religious fanaticism and/or fear of Communism made it necessary for the nation to add this phrase to the money. Something to be proud of, for sure.

"One nation under god" was added in 1954, also due to McCarthyism. This was an effort to make sure we appeared morally superior to the Communists in Russia. Once again, this supposed proof of our nation's Christian foundation was really just a reactionary response to an irrational fear.

Despite those two instances, and despite the fact that our current (but not for long) president, and others in control, invoke god often, this country was meant to follow the principle of separation of church and state. This is why we do not (technically, anyway) have a state religion, and why we don't require people to attend a specific church, or any church at all, if they so choose.

In fact, we all know the general reason people fled England for the American colonies--freedom of religion. That's why it's the first amendment to the Constitution. It doesn't specify a sole religion that is allowed such freedoms; it merely states that that government will not make a law imposing on religion. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, among many others, are on record time and again, talking about how this nation was not founded to follow a particular religious creed, but rather to allow everyone to worship as he/she saw fit.

For that reason, you are allowed to believe that your god thinks homosexuals will burn in hell. But the government is not allowed to take those beliefs and make them into law. Conversely, homosexuals being granted the right to marry does not impose our beliefs on to others, despite what the supporters of Prop 8 want us to believe. It simply ensures that we have the same rights granted to other citizens in this country.

Gay marriage being legal doesn't mean you have to accept gay marriages. It doesn't mean you have to believe that homosexuals are anything other than heathens. It doesn't mean your church will lose tax exempt status if it doesn't want to perform gay marriages. That was a lie put out by the supporters of Prop 8, which didn't take into account the fact that churches currently have the right to deny marriage services to any couples (generally those who aren't members of the congregation) without fear of losing that tax exempt status. It is civil rights issue, plain and simple.

Which brings us to...

"Homosexuality, unlike race, is a choice, and therefore isn't subject to civil rights legislation."

This is the one used when gay rights activists compare our struggles to those of the African-Americans in this nation for the last several hundred years. The reasoning is that being black is something one can easily identify with one's eyes, so it is an inherent trait that should be protected (though think about how long it took before the government recognized the need for that protection).

Homosexuality, according to this argument, is something one chooses. Therefore, granting rights to practicing homosexuals is akin to giving "special rights" to one group of people. After all, homosexuals can still marry members of the opposite sex, so they have the same rights as everyone else, right? Allowing gay marriage would give special treatment to homosexuals, and we can't have that.

There are several flaws in this one. First, allowing gay marriage means that any one person can marry any other person. That means that if an avowed heterosexual wants to marry someone of the same sex, he/she can. Thus, the right is not "special" to homosexuals. It is simply covering all consenting adults under the same law.

Second, and this is the big one, is this idea of "choice." I don't believe for a second that being gay is a choice, because I know that many of us would not make this particular choice if it were. Why would we, when we are subject to torment and hate from a large part of the population? Who would choose that?

Yeah, okay, so they haven't identified the "gay gene." But, let's look at who fights gay rights the most vehemently--the Christian right. They are Christian. They go to church, they donate money to the cause, they raise their children in that faith. They believe in the death penalty, but not abortion. They believe in loving their neighbors, unless those neighbors happen to be gay. I'm not speaking of all Christians here, so please don't send me emails; I'm talking about the ones going out of their way to join this debate, despite the fact that nothing about gay marriage affects their lives. But I digress.

Anyway, Christians. Their religion is protected under the first amendment of the Constitution. They are allowed to assemble, to preach their beliefs, all because the government sees fit to protect their right to do so. Now, here's a question for you--were these Christians born this way? Sure, many of them believe in original sin, and most were raised by Christian parents who taught them these "values." But were they, biologically, born this way? Did science identify a Christian gene when I wasn't looking?

No? Okay, well, that certainly seems like a choice, then, doesn't it? The evangelical right has made a choice to believe in certain aspects of the bible while disavowing others, and guess what? The government says, "We respect your right to those choices, and no law shall be made to infringe upon that right."

Let's just ignore for a minute that many gay people identify as Christians. Instead, maybe we should just start referring to homosexuality as a religion. Do that, and there is no way in hell (pun intended) that the Christian right can attempt to put laws on the books that remove rights for us, because we would be unequivocally protected under the first amendment. No questions asked.

The supporters of Prop 8 keep telling us how the people have spoken, and that "activist judges" shouldn't go against the will of the people. Well, here's the thing. "Activist judges" didn't write the constitution. They didn't establish the doctrine of "all men are created equal." But when that principle is being compromised, it is up to judges to reaffirm the laws of the land. This matter should never have been brought to a vote in the first place. It is not a law about bond measures or animal rights or anything that involves taxpayers' money. We're talking about two consenting adults, and the five million voters who got a say in the decisions those adults make in their own lives.

I keep going back to this case, Loving v. Virginia, which said that the laws on marriage couldn't discriminate based on race. Keep in mind that this case was decided upon in 1967. 1967! 42 years ago, in many states, a minority couldn't marry a white person, and many people were okay with it because that was the way it had always been. And what stopped this was not a vote from the people, but a unanimous decision from the United States Supreme Court. If the people had been allowed to vote on it instead, how long would it have been before these anti-miscegenation laws were overturned? Would we still have them in some states?

Here's what the court wrote in the decision:

Marriage is one of the "basic civil rights of man," fundamental to our very existence and survival.... To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State's citizens of liberty without due process of law. The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discrimination. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State.

It's pretty easy to see that, though this case was specifically related to race, it can easily be translated to the gay rights cause. Perhaps more important is this part:

There is patently no legitimate overriding purpose independent of invidious racial discrimination which justifies this classification. The fact that Virginia prohibits only interracial marriages involving white persons demonstrates that the racial classifications must stand on their own justification, as measures designed to maintain White Supremacy. [emphasis added]

Now, what about the fact that California (and Arizona, Florida, Tennessee, among others) prohibits only marriage involving gay persons? Doesn't that say something about what kind of supremacy the Christian right is attempting to maintain?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I Love This Man

I met Keith Olbermann at a Dodgers' game this past season. He was sitting with Jason Bateman in Bateman's season seats, and I was just one section over from them. I waited until Olbermann got up from his seat, then walked to the top of the section and shook his hand. I said, "I love you. Well, 'worship' would probably be a more accurate word." He laughed and sincerely thanked me.

So now that I've seen the below video, I don't even know what word I will use to describe my feelings for Mr. Keith Olbermann. I don't even think I'll try. I just want to say thank you to him and leave it at that. We need more people to think like this, or we'll just continue to move further backward in this country.

I'm Not Taking All the Credit...

...but let's not pretend I didn't have something to do with this, okay?

According to a Dodgers' press release, the Dodgers have appointed a new head of security. The press release spells "appoint" incorrectly, and the whole thing is also a little confusing. The sub-headline indicates that Ray Maytorena has been named Vice President of Security. I don't know if that means he's the head of security, but since the press release doesn't mention any other name, I guess VP means "head" in the Dodgers' hierarchy.

Any way you slice it, though, the Dodgers felt like they needed to make a change. We'll see what kind of impact this has, but for now, let's just bask in the warmth of the power I obviously hold over a Major League Baseball team.

UPDATE: A little bit more on the issue from Josh Rawitch at Inside the Dodgers. I guess Maytorena is the head of security. Still sort of weird that his title is VP.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Sin City

I know I owe you all a few things.  The Dodgers have made an offer to Manny Ramirez, players have filed for free agency all over the place, and I still have to post video and pictures from the rally on Wednesday night.

But you won't get any of that until Monday, because in two hours, I will be on the road to Las Vegas.  I will drink some, gamble some, and try to keep Prop 8 off my mind for roughly 48 hours, before coming back to California to fight the good fight.

I said a while ago that I wanted to be able to celebrate an Obama victory this weekend.  Well, I got my wish.  So I'm choosing to focus on hope.  Hope for tolerance in this country, for a better future, and for a lucky shooter at the craps table.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

The March

There's a lot to talk about when it comes to my Wednesday night, but unfortunately I have work to do today for my Mormon boss. So, later today or tonight, I'll upload the video I shot. For now, here's a quick breakdown:

We were allowed to shut down a small portion of San Vicente Boulevard. For a while, people stayed and listened to the speeches on that street. After about 20 minutes, though, my fiancé and I decided to walk back up to Santa Monica. At that moment, a group was calling for us to take back the intersection. Before I knew it, hundreds, probably thousands, of us were marching up Larrabee toward Sunset, with a police car leading the way.

Once on Sunset, we kept heading east, taking over the entire eastbound side of the street. Helicopters followed, and people lined the streets to cheer. It was amazing. We stopped at Gardner (I realize this means nothing if you don't live in Los Angeles; sorry) after walking 2.5 miles so our friend Cate could drive us back to our car at the starting point. It was about 9:00p, and my fiancé needed to be at work at 5:30 this morning, so we couldn't hang out. From what I understand, the march continued to Hollywood and Highland, then swung back to the starting point.

My friends who stayed behind at the rally called us about halfway through our march, and had no idea that an entire group had gone off marching. Apparently they got involved in one of the other marches, and they finished up at about the time I was going to sleep.

When we got near our car, we stood at Santa Monica and San Vicente to watch the large crowd in the intersection there, then got in our car and drove home. I fell asleep at about 11:30, and I could still helicopters circling, watching the protest, nearly five hours after it began.

More later. Watch the local NBC News coverage to tide you over.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

If You're In California...

There's a rally for the "No on Prop 8" side tonight. It will be on San Vicente Blvd. between West Hollywood Park and the Pacific Design Center.

For those who aren't attending, but may be driving by the area, San Vicente will be closed between Melrose and Santa Monica, beginning at 6pm.

If you can make it, please come out and support the cause of equal rights for everyone.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Your New First Family

I am, as you might expect, rather happy. I had some beers early on to calm my nerves, and then some champagne once the win was official. So now I'm sleepy.

Proposition 8 is ahead 54-46 with 18% of the precincts reporting. That doesn't look good. I am starting to get depressed, but I'm not allowing it to take over. Right now, it's about the Obama win. I guess I'll worry about Prop 8 in the morning.

I stole the picture from Huffington Post. It's probably AP or something. Sorry for the improper credit.

I Voted

My original plan was to get to my polling place extra early, because my fiancé needed to vote before going to work. And she goes to work very early. But, her absentee ballot miraculously arrived yesterday, so it wasn't necessary for her to go to the polls. She drove by our location at 6:10am and called to tell me that there was no line at all, so I should just get up and go.

I got there by about 6:20am, and there were four people in line waiting. It was a little chilly out, and it had rained all night, so I waited in my car for a little longer, and then got out at about 6:30am, and took the seventh position in line. I read my book, listened to people talk, and watched the line grow.

At 7:00am on the nose, a man came out and yelled, "The polls are open!" The crowd, which was probably closing in on 75 people (I'm a terrible judge of crowd size, but I think that's a pretty good guess) at this point, cheered. I choked up, and tried to hold it together. In 2004, I had felt like things were going to change, and I had sensed the excitement in the crowd at my polling place. But it was nothing like that cheer from the crowd this morning. I didn't take a count or anything, but I'm willing to bet most of the people in my neighborhood were making the correct decision today.

An older woman named Helene was originally responsible for looking up people on the lists and crossing them off, but she was removed from that duty before I came up to the table. I think Helene may have been a little bit slow, but she was doing the best she could to help, and the other volunteers treated her with respect, which I appreciated. When a gentleman was crossing my name off the list, Helene said, "Good morning. How are you today?" I couldn't help but smile at her big grin as I told her I was doing well. "You look beautiful," was her response. Considering I hadn't yet showered, had thrown on an old sweatshirt and my standard Red Sox hat, and have a cold sore as a result of the stress of this election, I knew Helene was a liar. But that's okay. Helene helped make it all the more fun to go and vote.

I had my cheat sheet so I wouldn't make any mistakes, and I made doubly sure my ink went onto the paper for my "no" vote on Prop 8. I picked up my sticker, walked past the rest of the people in line, and got in my car at 7:12am. Just one person, doing her part to change the world. Simple as that.


My boss, as it turns out, is a supporter of Prop 8. I found this out over the weekend, and I'm not exaggerating when I say that I nearly vomited. I really had to take some deep breaths. Turns out she's Mormon, and I learned of her support of Proposition H8te when I read her Facebook status and it said, "Just went to a Yes on 8 rally." Awesome. Now, I telecommute, so I rarely see this woman. But we've become friendly, to the extent that she sends me pictures of her kids now and again. I had no idea about her political leanings, and now that I know them, I'm sick just thinking about taking money from her.

This woman (who knows about this blog, but I'm past the point of caring about that) has, right now, as her profile picture on Facebook, a shot of someone (possibly her, but the woman's back is to the camera) holding a sign that reads "Proposition 8 = Religious Freedom." Of all the arguments I've seen in support of Prop 8, that one really just takes the cake. It seems to be deliberately trying to confuse those who would vote on the issue. Think about it. In their minds, religious freedom means that they believe in something, and the rest of the state (and country) has to believe it, too, to the point where it gets written into the state constitution. Freedom indeed.

To me, the better sign would read, "No on Prop 8 = Religious Freedom." As in, you have the right to believe that your god is hateful and discriminatory, and I have the right to believe otherwise. Neither one of us has the right to put either belief into law, because religious doctrine is not supposed to have a place in our legal system in this country. So, I'm not asking that you change your churches or schools or religious practices, or that you stop believing in god. I am asking only that you don't use that belief to punish others. I am asking that we all get the same rights, which should include the ability to marry a consenting adult of either gender. Your religion does not get to impose upon my life. That, dear voters, is religious freedom.

If you're in California, remember to vote No on Prop 8.

Monday, November 03, 2008

One Day to Go

Likely Tuesday To-Do List for "Yes on 8" Voters:

  • -Pray for the absolution of those homosexual souls.
  • -Drop your grandson off at daycare so his mother can get to first period on time.
  • -Take the kids to an all-white, anti-sex ed school.
  • -Cash the alimony check.
  • -Make a pit stop at McDonald's.
  • -Do your part to protect marriage by heading to the polls to vote hate and discrimination into the state constitution.

Yes, that's right. I'm calling you stupid if you intend to vote yes for this awful, awful proposition.

Yesterday, I went downtown with my fiancé (yes, I have one of those, and I think I'd like to be married one day, strangely enough) to check out the two Proposition 8 rallies. One was staged by the "Yes on 8" people, and the other was organized by the good guys.

At Pershing Square, the rally was just getting underway when we drove by at 1:00pm. About 20 people holding "No on 8" signs were standing on the corner of 5th and Olive. Didn't look like much, but it was only scheduled to begin at 1:00pm, and people were walking up as we drove by and honked, so it looked promising.

We drove over to city hall downtown, and my jaw dropped. The entire block in front of city hall, along First Street from Spring to Main, was lined with "Yes on 8" signs. They continued up both Spring and Main, and into the park in front of city hall. Their rally was also just getting started, but they had a better plan in mind. They had speakers and a big platform set up in front of a very large sign with a stick figure man and woman and the slogan "Marriage = One Man + One Woman." Who knew you could rent out city hall for your hate speech (or for any political purpose, for that matter)? Good to know.

As we drove around the block, checking it out, we saw buses in a nearby parking lot. Coming off those buses was a large group of possibly Korean people. They were all in red t-shirts that said (I think) "Protect Marriage" on the front, and something in Korean on the back (likely "Yes on 8"). We realized that one big church must have gotten its parishioners together to send them to this all-important moment in political history. I did not see a single other person there, though I'm sure they came later. I do know that Bruno was there at some point.

There was another rally in West Hollywood later in the afternoon, but I didn't see the point, really. They said they wanted to "raise visibility," but Gaytown doesn't seem like a place where that would be necessary. Still, though, they apparently had a good turnout, and hopefully the media showed up (though I haven't seen much, if any, coverage).

The "Yes on 8" campaign has been crafty in its efforts to make this vote about anything other than the actual details. They've spread lies about children, schools, churches, and whatever else they could to make sure they win. The Mormon Church, from Utah, has been a big part of the campaign. The Catholic group Knights of Columbus has been huge sponsors of some of the worst commercials I've seen for the "Yes on 8" side. There was a prayer vigil at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego on Saturday that, thankfully, didn't seem all that crowded. But James Dobson was there to make sure the evangelical right was represented in all its crazy glory.

I really don't get people. I try to remind myself every day that there are good people in the world, but my faith will be greatly undermined if the majority of California voters make the wrong choice tomorrow. This proposition is about nothing but hate, and any efforts the other side makes to convince you otherwise are just plain lies. If you are in California, please don't fall for them. Do not take away rights from your friends and neighbors.

I'll be at the polls at about 5am. They open at 7am. If there isn't a line, great. I'll just be first to vote. And if there is a line, then I'll wait. And after that, I'll see if I can volunteer for the "No on 8" campaign (I'm worried about Obama, but this gay marriage thing is more pressing in this state at the moment) for some of the day. And then I'll sit down on my couch and stare at the news for hours, even before the election returns start to come in. I will likely be up all night. And then, come Wednesday morning, I'll either be very grumpy and sad, or I'll be elated beyond belief. You, readers, should really be praying for the latter.