In keeping with societal preoccupation with the self, I am beginning to wonder if my presence is a bad omen for marriage equality. Here's why:
1) On a recent visit to California, Proposition 8 was passed and I was reduced to marching in protests. While gay folks typically have some good slogans (because, as Kate Clinton says, we're darn used to protesting), I was dismayed to have to say "chickens have more rights than me" while marching. Why did I have to say this? Because the humane slaughter proposition (which I support) on the ballot passed hence protecting the rights and treatment of chickens. Chickens=1, Gays=0 in the rights tally...you get the picture.
2) Just when I think that Hawaii (where I've been living for the past month) is about to allow civil unions [NOT the same as marriage...NOT even close to adequate because of legal references in state and federal law specific to marriage only...but, alas, better than nothing], *bam* Governor Linda Lingle decides that 'civil unions are too much like marriage' and that they 'should be put to a popular vote.'
WTF??? (As an aside, this is the ONLY text messaging language that I know and that I believe to have any utility.)
a) Civil unions are NOT the same as marriage- they are separate and inherently unequal. See the videos at gardenstateequality.org for proof of the train wreck they have been for folks in New Jersey. To me, the only problem with the civil union bill is that it wasn't marriage!
b) The Constitution exists because the rights of the minority group cannot be put to a majority vote. Clearly, I need to research and compile a list of reasons and examples for why this is so, but, for instance, if we were to have voted at the time of the 1967 Supreme Court decision on interracial marriage, we would have found that only 33% of the public supported interracial marriage. 'Nuf said.
I could go on and on and on with more caveats here, but I would run out of letters in the alphabet.
I was stunned and angered by the Governor of Hawaii. I was angry that her statements were riddled with factual errors. I was angry that she waited to veto the bill until *after* it was too late for a special session of the legislature that would have allowed for an override session.
Mostly, however, I was sad.
So sad, in fact, that I spent LARGE amounts of time that night crying. I would sometimes sob and yell at the television, but it didn't talk back and, frankly, my outbursts scared the two kittens I was babysitting.
Because Hawaii is 5 hours behind Iowa, by the time the decision was reported near 5pm, I could no longer call my wife or my mother or my friends in the Midwest to complain. The only solace I found was petting the cat curled up next to me who was purring contentedly. Thank the spirits and souls for that.
I am a bit surprised by how viscerally I am beginning to feel these defeats. It's as if the universe sends a loud message. In this case, just as I'm settling into life here with the boogie board and snorkel mask, the message is:'you are not welcome here.' Those who know me well can appreciate (or mourn) the irony (or tragedy) that the welcome mat has been rolled out in Iowa but not in California or Hawaii. Sigh.
So, Governor Lingle- if you care- you have succeeded in perpetuating ignorance and in hurting those who are only asking for the same rights and protections under the law as anyone else.
Time to keep educating. Peace, B