There’s no question that the recent passage of Salt Lake City ordinances protecting the GLBT community from job termination and/or eviction based on sexual orientation or gender identity are a victory. In some ways it’s the biggest victory the community there has seen in recent years amongst numerous legislations defining marriage and rendering adoption impossible… but the Mormon Church’s involvement has, unfortunately tained the victory for me.
I suppose I should be a little more supportive and positive about the fact that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, otherwise known as the Mormons, has finally decided to allow Utah to grant any sort of Gay Rights, but I think I’m still feeling a bit burned by the whole Prop 8 fiasco.
That said, the title of a news article from the Huffington Post basically says it all: “Salt Lake OKs gay rights laws with Mormon backing“.
For the first time, the Mormon church has spoken out in favor of passing laws that protect the GLBT community in Salt Lake City- specifically from wrongful termination and eviction- making it the first community in Utah to provide these protections.
Looks like a battle of wills between two great organizations.
Equality California apparently wants to bide their time and wait until 2012 before attempting to repeal Prop 8 again, while The Courage Campaign has made quite clear that it’s their full intention to go full force right away in 2010. Interesting non?
Apparently both put together some individual poll style statistics and found out that that support for gay marriage is up to 51% in the state of California. That’s a 3% increase to the 48% of voters who previously voted no. So good news. Unfortunately, even though a larger amount of voters are gung ho for I-do equality, 60% of those want to lay low until 2012. Further polling showed that it was the older voters (ah the patience of age) that wanted to hold off while the younger voters (ah the impatience of youth) wanted some change here and now.
In writing my column for Pride last weekend, a made passing reference to the whole Prop 8 fiasco, and it led me to thinking more about the failed political strategies that were employed in that battle by the ‘No on 8’ side. Those same failed strategies, and the points of views that underpin them, are now on display in Washington State, the latest battleground in the gay civil rights movement.
For those readers who aren’t aware, in May 2008 the California Supreme Court ruled that barring same-sex couples from marrying violated the California Constitution, and ordered the state of California to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Almost immediately, the extreme right forced a ballot initiative, designated as Proposition 8, to overturn the Court’s decision. It passed by a narrow margin, giving California the distinction not only of joining the ranks of Alabama, Arkansas, Texas, and a number of other states that have taken such regressive stances, but also of being the first state to grant civil rights, and then take them away.
On October 11th at noon, (this Friday), history will continue to be made in the ever increasing struggle on gay marriage rights in America. A march on Washington has been in the works for a very long time, as the historic Cleve Jones made it known on June 7th of this past summer. He reiterated to his Canadian neighbors, not only the plan but the importance of the movement during his visit at Vancouver Pride, and I have not forgotten.
Equality Across America explains it in lamen’s terms:
We are guaranteed equal protection by the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution. Free and equal people do not bargain for or prioritize our rights, so we are coming to DC this October 10-11th to demand equal protection in all matters governed by civil law in all 50 states. Now.
“Now” really is the key.
Earlier in the year I wrote a Saturday Submission into Homorazzi on my opinion of the Vancouver Queer Film Festival housing their movies in a Cinemark theatre. In that article I quoted a line from Mr. Cleve Jones that I heard him say on stage at the Sunset Beach Festival during pride that has rang true to me every day since then.
“The days of settling for a fraction of equality are over.”
And this is what everybody in the U.S. has been fighting for for so long. The hopes and dreams of aspiring equality between gay and straight couples alike was dashed to pieces with Proposition 8, but the queer community is truly banding together on October 11th to demand equal rights. Get fired up! We are sure to see marches like this echoed across major cities in the states as well, and the potential turn out for this event is exciting.
As part of my daily routine coming back from work is to pick up my mail and sort through bills, junk, mistaken mail and the odd but exciting old fashioned letter. I always look hopefully for an old fashioned written letter from a friend from overseas or from back home. For a second, I got quite excited to see a handwritten envelope. My curiosity increased when I saw the remittance name. Who is this person I thought? A name that I had never heard from addressed the letter to my partner and I. Quickly I opened the letter fantasizing that it would be a lost friend wanting to reconnect when oh big surprised. The letter came from the Mormon Church inviting us to attend a workshop/talk/conference on how to find real happiness and the true meaning of marriage. Enclosed to the hand written note was a magazine clip from a Mormon publication where the Bible sites the importance of marriage and how it should be in between a man and woman. I was surprised that the quote wasn’t highlighted to make it even more obvious what this was all about.
I then had to start putting all of my thoughts and feelings in order. Was I upset because this person who signed the letter (which name I am not going to mention for confidentially matters) was trying to teach me what the real meaning of happiness is? In what are they basing their assumption on that I am not happy? What does God have to do with my happiness? Who are these people to tell me that I haven’t being able to find the true meaning of a relationship or furthermore happiness? For a second I thought that maybe the reality show Big Brother installed a camera in my apartment and is broadcasting my partner’s life and mine to the Mormon Church and now they are calling me to dismiss me from their show.
I had an interesting conversation with a gentleman at Out On Screen on Friday.
See, Since Prop 8 was passed on Nov 4th I have made a point of avoiding a couple of businesses like the plague. There is no lack of information on where the money towards supporting Prop 8 came from, nor is it possible to keep secret, the support or money given to said cause from a CEO or President of a popular company.
Although Richard Hayne, #262 richest person in the U.S, has done a good job of wiping any or all traces of his financial contributions towards Prop 8, I will not and have not shopped at his Urban Outfitters chain since November 4th. I refuse to turn a blind eye just so I can buy that trendy shirt and watch my money trickle up into Mr. Hayne’s fat pockets.
Since November 4th, I as well have not attended a movie at Tinseltown, having been rightly informed that Mr. Alan Stock, CEO of Cinemark, contributed a whopping $9,999 out of his own pocket towards vote YES on Proposition 8. I refuse to turn a blind eye just so I can see that blockbuster and watch my money trickle up into Mr. Stock’s fat pockets.
Last night I was alerted by one of our readers (Rome) via a comment on my last Proposition 8 article that the fight for gay marriage equality is now going Federal! (Thanks Rome for the awesome information!)
Former U.S. Solicitor General Theodore B. Olson & Attorney David Boies, who argued against each other in the Bush vs. Gore contested election, announced yesterday that they are bringing fight against Proposition 8 to the federal level. The two high profile lawyers held a press conference yesterday announcing that, they (as The American Foundation for Equal Rights) have filed a federal lawsuit against Proposition 8. The case was filed in U.S. Discrict Court in northern California and asked for an immediate injunction against Prop. 8 until the federal court is resolved.
Olson, a prominent Republican says, “It’s not about liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican. We’re here in part to symbolize that. This case is about the equal rights guaranteed to every American under the United States constitution… For too long, gay men and lesbians who seek stable committed, loving relationships within the institution of marriage have been denied that fundamental right.”
I really didn’t want to have to write this article. It sucked enough when Propostion 8 was actually passed, but it sucks just as much to hear the California Supreme Court rule to uphold the measure this time around. Thankfully, there is a silver lining in that they have also ruled to validate the 18,000 marriages that took place between June & November in California- so it’s not all bad.
But, as easy as it would be for me to be all doom & gloom with this issue- I refuse to let this get me down. Yes, it’s a setback. Yes, it sucks goat ass and is a disappointment… but there is still hope! Click here for more