Saturday, November 08, 2008

To The Streets

Pro-equality activists are marching in California. Good. Liberals have no trouble getting riled up for wars and free trade, but we haven't had a good spontaneous civil rights march in awhile.

Todd Zywicki is outraged that some protesters are targeting the Mormon Church. Oh, spare me. He notes that Blacks overwhelmingly supported Prop. 8, but nobody is vilifying them. While Zywicki could do to read more Dan Savage, he's missing the point. Yes, Blacks voted strongly against gay equality. But there is no "Black central command" that led the charge in favor of the proposition. Indeed, there really is no Black central command at all, and insofar as there are organizations which can claim to speak on behalf of the Black community (like the NAACP), I'm skeptical that they even supported Prop. 8, much less led efforts to get it passed.

As Pam Spaulding noted, it's clear that the Black community has some work to do with regards to homophobia. But this wasn't their baby. It wasn't Black institutions that were trying to get Prop. 8 on the ballot. It wasn't Black institutions stumping up and down the state to get it passed. If protesters wanted to yell in front of individual Black churches whose ministers pressed for the passage of Prop. 8, that would be fine in my view -- those churches need to be held accountable too. But there is a qualitative difference here that goes beyond the obnoxious whine of "political correctness".

The Mormon Church, as an institution, threw itself headlong into this battle, deciding to intervene with prodigious amounts of money and manpower to promote one of the cruelest examples of state-sponsored evil still extant in America. Are they being vilified for it? Yes. Should they be? Yes. You lie down with the devil, you're going to get called names in the morning.

Of course, now that their campaign on behalf of inequality has succeeded, the Mormon Church (and Catholic Church, for that matter) are all about making nice-y. From the Catholic Archbishop of Los Angeles:
The coalition of religious communities and citizens who supported Proposition 8 wanted to preserve "the bedrock institution of marriage" between a man and a woman, said Cardinal Roger Mahoney, the Catholic archbishop of Los Angeles.

"Proposition 8 is not against any group in our society," Mahoney said in a written statement.

And from the LDS:

"The Church acknowledges that such an emotionally charged issue concerning the most personal and cherished aspects of life -- family and marriage -- stirs fervent and deep feelings," church spokeswoman Kim Farah wrote in an e-mail. "No one on either side of the question should be vilified, harassed or subject to erroneous information."

Ms. Farah, too late. When you promote legislation that seeks deprive a class of human beings of their natural rights, that counts as vilification and harassment. And Archbishop Mahoney, bullshit. This is what's infuriating. Retrograde churches have every right to campaign in favor of bigotry. But they can't get all indignant when people point out, hey, taking away rights from a small, vulnerable segment of the population is bigoted! It is "against [a] group in our society." It's against gays. There is no disputing that.

Are there protests against Mormons and Blacks that go beyond the pale? Umm...yeah. Playing the polygamist card against Mormons would count too (incidentally, Zywicki's point that the Mormon Church's experience being harassed over polygamy should make them more defensive about the "traditional definition of marriage", when polygamy was part of the "traditional definition of marriage", is utterly inane). But the act of protesting, itself, is totally legitimate here. If one believes, as I do, that there is no moral distinction between state-sponsored homophobia, and state-sponsored racism, then the traffickers in the former deserve the same opprobrium that historically was directed to the latter.

10 comments:

Jack said...

Has anyone bothered to check in black voters supported prop. 8 disproportionately when controlling for economic status and religion?

I wouldn't really be surprised one way or the other but it really makes no sense to treat black people as a class with no regard for common intersections.

PG said...

jack,

Yeah, I was making that point to someone -- the most obvious reason people voted for Prop. 8 was if they had a certain religious belief. Since people don't really get polled on that in exit polls, weekly church attendance seems to be the best predictor for a Yes on 8; never going to church the best predictor for a No on 8. Being black has some correlation with a Yes; being a certain kind of religious has causation.

However, I am with those who are suspicious of why the Mormon church is getting more grief than the Catholic church.

Also, can I just say that ceding the claim of "preserve traditional marriage" to the Yes folks was not good? I still have a traditional marriage (well, if an interracial, inter-religious, roughly gender-equal marriage not contracted for the purpose of bearing children marriage is "traditional") even if there are same-sex marriages. What is really meant is "preserve traditional marriage as the only kind of marriage there is."

Anonymous said...

amused that the gay community is attempting to villify religious groups for their vote on 8. to expect, for example, mahoney and the catholic church to come out and say that the church "supports" gay marriage lacks common sense and is not realistic... almost as idiotic as gays attempting to equate their plight to that of the african american civil rights movement.... um, i think that shows a complete lack of perspective and knowledge. it also then makes it unsurprising that the black (typically liberal, mind you) vote actually was yes on 8, since their cultures and beliefs are very rooted in the church... which, the gay community, is for the most part... not.

i've attended a gay wedding and have many friends that are gay so i've got no issues with it. i voted yes on 8, and not because i'm catholic. when i found out 6 months ago that my little brother's 5th grade teacher brought in a slide show to share the "experience" of his marriage to his "partner" to the class, that sealed my vote. sorry, as tolerant as i am of that lifestyle, that type of behavior doesn't fly with me.

ultimately i think the lesson is for the gay community... they need to mobilize their movement and recognize that there is in fact a strong religious base rooted in california that cares about family values... something that those cavorting around west hollywood or 'frisco may not realize. i'm assuming by mobilizing the vote, this shouldn't be too hard to overturn on the next go around of props. which would be just fine...

Michael said...

I was stunned to hear that 70%+ of Blacks & Hispanics supported Prop 8, Arizona & Florida! If it is that easy to discriminate against your fellow minority, how easy will it be for a right wing activist to put on a ballot to discriminate against Blacks & Hispanics. Over-turn State statutes, State courts, hell even Federal statutes! Blacks & Hispanics forget they are 13% & 15% minorities! We must stick together as minorities, not put wedge issues between us.

Blacks are quick to say that it isn’t the same struggle, but it is, whether they admit it or not! Discrimination is what it is, Discrimination! White churches still speak out against Blacks, doesn’t make it right, so I’m quick to defend Black interests! Not anymore, what they showed me on Prop 8 is they only care for themselves! Blacks have come along way in 40+ years, but it doesn’t take long to fall, either!

Without the support of other minorities and Whites that have compassion on Blacks & Hispanics struggles, you wouldn’t be where you are today! Think about that when you allow bigotry & prejudices to influence your lives! With Prop 8 so easily crafted to throw out a State Supreme Court ruling, how easy will it be for them to throw out Civil Rights legislation? Didn’t think about that, did you? Black & Hispanics have lost my voice for their causes and their struggles! End Affirmative action, control our boarders, and throw them all out on their ears!

What there needs to be is a Federal Amendment to ban special interest ballots or ballots all together! I also noticed Abortion Bans on several State ballots, but they didn’t pass!

PG said...

i've attended a gay wedding and have many friends that are gay so i've got no issues with it. i voted yes on 8, and not because i'm catholic. when i found out 6 months ago that my little brother's 5th grade teacher brought in a slide show to share the "experience" of his marriage to his "partner" to the class, that sealed my vote. sorry, as tolerant as i am of that lifestyle, that type of behavior doesn't fly with me.

So anonymous is "tolerant" of "that lifestyle," he just thinks his little brother shouldn't be exposed to whatever horrors anonymous saw at a "gay wedding." I have to admit that I've never attended such a spectacle -- what do they do that's unfit for children's eyes?

And michael, yikes. In case you haven't noticed, California HAS passed ballot initiatives to ban affirmative action. And I didn't notice the gay community being particularly active against that ballot initiative. There's no point in saying "Oh, you [large heterogeneous group of people that I perceive as a single unit] screwed me on 'my' issue, so I'll screw you on 'your' issue." The only thing to do is to convince religious people that same-sex marriage isn't a threat to them. (Although because of some religious people's reliance on gender stereotyping, it is difficult for them to accept the concept of a marriage not founded on gender differences.)

Anonymous said...

As an African Canadian Woman, I am very upset that Homosexuals are comparing their fight for Gay marriage as the same as the civil rights blacks fought for. The definition of marriage is what it is, how absurd would it be if we changed the definition of the word and meaning of a Man and a Woman? Or even the word apple just so that it would suit our needs. We have something called Civil union for Gays and Lesbians that gives Homosexuals equal protection of their rights under the law. So I am not clear as to where or what the inequality is??? As a black woman I can not run and hide in a closet, my blackness is there for everyone to see, unlike gays I can not hide in the closet and come out if I choose too. So to all homosexuals out there especially Anderson Cooper on AC 360 on CNN please stop comparing black "Skin" to Gay "Behaviour" It is very disrespectful and it demonstrates a complete lack of understanding, sorry my gay and lesbian friends being gay and being a visible minority is not the same. And we should not redefine Marriage. Marriage is an institution deeply routed in religion.

Thank you

PG said...

We have something called Civil union for Gays and Lesbians that gives Homosexuals equal protection of their rights under the law.

Separate but equal!

As a black woman I can not run and hide in a closet, my blackness is there for everyone to see, unlike gays I can not hide in the closet and come out if I choose too.

If someone is light-skinned enough to "pass," does that mean he should hide his African ancestry in the closet? Or should he be able to proudly acknowledge his ancestry without losing his right to be treated the same way whites are treated?

Marriage is an institution deeply routed in religion.

If I'm not religious, should I still be able to get married? If my religion does not discriminate between men and women as to who can marry whom, does my religion not count?

Anonymous said...

Here are some current examples of marriages not recognized by most of Unites States.1.Father-Daughter2.Mother-Daughter3.Brother-Sister4.Brother-Brother5.Sister-Sister6.Mother-Son7.Father-Son  8.Man-Man9.Woman-Woman10.Man-Woman-Woman (Polygamy, simultaneous marriage)11.Man-Man-Man12.Woman-Woman-Woman (etc.)13.Human-Animal14.1st Cousin-1st Cousin15.Adult-Child16.Child-Child17.Uncle-Niece18.Uncle-Nephew19.Aunt-Niece20.Aunt-Nephew21.Man (to himself only)To those who support equality and equal rights for all:  Do you support categories 1-21 or just 8 and 9 only?  Sounds like everyone is a bigot.

PG said...

To those who support equality and equal rights for all: Do you support categories 1-21 or just 8 and 9 only? Sounds like everyone is a bigot.

No, it sounds like you're unfamiliar with a little document called the Constitution, which according to the U.S. Supreme Court does not allow the government to make laws that distinguish people on the basis of race or sex unless doing so serves a compelling governmental interest. The CA Supreme Court held in 1948, in Perez v. Sharpe, that interracial marriage therefore could not be prohibited, and the U.S. Supreme Court did the same in 1967 in Loving v. Virginia. On the same reasoning, same-sex marriage cannot be prohibited unless there is a compelling governmental interest to do so (which the government has not yet articulated).

The Constitution gives the government freedom to distinguish based on their familial relationship, species and number of people. This is why the tax code prohibits a lot of transactions between "related parties"; why meat is not actually murder; and why we have a principle of one-man-one-vote. Would you like to point out where the laws say that taxes are different based on whether one is a man or a woman, or that it isn't really murder if you kill a woman instead of a man?

clayne said...

I covered the San Francisco side of the November 7th Proposition 8 protest, shot on film:

Proposition 8 Protest, San Francisco, November 7th, 2008