Posted tagged ‘Proposition 8’

The Danger of Putting Your Money Where Your Mouth Isn’t

November 28, 2008

My sister in California and I were talking about the backlash from gay people over Prop. 8. She wondered if the anger from the gay community helped our cause. All I could say was that sitting back and saying nothing certainly hasn’t. Not that I advocate knocking the Styrofoam crosses out of the hands of the opposition, even if they did come to a candlelight vigil looking for a fight.

I do, however, believe in using money as a political weapon. I for one have never faulted the Southern Baptist Convention for boycotting Disney because the company is gay friendly. I thought their reason for boycotting was stupid, but in my opinion withholding your private dollars is a good way to get a message across.

So, I wonder why there is so much public surprise that gay people and their supporters are now throwing their financial weight around over the recent stripping of their marriage rights in California.

If a company, or the leadership of a company, donated to support Prop. 8 via a public political action group, then there is no way John and I are giving that company our hard earned dollars.

But is it fair to criticize individual citizens for donating against us?

Take for example, Bill Raddon who is, or was, the director of the Los Angeles Film Festival. He resigned (note that he wasn’t fired) over the backlash he received from donating $1,500.00 to a political group that supported passage of Prop. 8.

Don Cheadle (Hotel Rawanda) and Forest Whitaker (Last King of Scotland) are on the board of the Festival and were among those who supported Raddon (I wonder if they would have if he’d donated to a political action group in support of eliminating interracial marriage rights, another pet project of the Mormon’s back in the ’50s). But gay board member Bill Condon, director of Dreamgirls and Chicago did as well, saying:

“I’m personally saddened by the outcome,” “Someone has lost his job and possibly his livelihood because of privately held religious beliefs.”

Raddon quit, but whatever, Condon, see if I ever pay to see your sparkly Broadway film adaptations again. Anyway, Raddon a “devout Mormon” issued a statement that said:

“I prefer to keep the details around my contribution through my church a private matter.”

There is the key question, hidden in those last two quotes. Did you catch it? The pivotal question is, “Was Raddon’s contribution to Prop. 8 simply an expression of ‘privately held religious beliefs’?”

And the answer is no. Heads up would-be political activists. Donations to political causes are PUBLIC RECORD. There was no witch hunt, no McCarthy-ist tracking down of who donated what. If Raddon had simply donated to a church he thought would support Prop. 8 his name never would have gotten into the media for this. But he didn’t. He donated to a political action group, which means any U.S. citizen has access to the record of the donation.

I’m sure that Raddon and many others probably had no idea that their choice would be brought into the light. Raddon never thought he would have to sit next to a gay co-worker who knows full well that he donated well over a grand just to keep that co-worker from marrying. And I don’t suppose Raddon can sit by the ill-informed Condon all day long.

So do I feel sorry for people like Raddon?

Pardon me if I don’t. I’m too busy feeling sad for the millions of Californians who have had their marriage rights stripped away.

Here’s the civics lesson for Raddon and others like him. Donations to a public political cause are public statements so before you make them, consider how you or the organization you represent is going to have to defend them.

Dear Straight Person:

November 5, 2008

Would you please stop referring to me as your friend? I’ve been meaning to ask you not to do it for awhile. I put it off at first because I didn’t want to hurt your feelings. I tried to make it clear by ignoring you and avoiding eye contact. Then I heard you tell someone that we’re friends, again, and I’m all, like, “What, your friend? Really?”

So, for the record, I’m not your friend. Don’t make it complicated. It’s very simple: if you don’t believe I should have the right to marry the adult of my choice, we simply don’t have the basis for a friendship. Period.

I’m sure you understand.

Oh, wait. I’m sorry. I don’t mean to interrupt. It’s just that I don’t need to hear all of the reasons your religion gives you or your non-peer reviewed research or the research you take out of context or the lies people made up that you bought into without bothering to think about whether or not they were true. I don’t need your sorry ass excuse for love either. Thanks, though.

It’s fine if it makes you feel better. I’m just not gonna listen to it. Why? Well, the main reason is because it’s horse shit.

No, I do listen to reason, like it quite a bit really, but it has to actually be reasonable for me to enjoy it.

Things probably won’t change that much between us. I’ll smile to be polite as I offer you a ride to the polls. I’ll help you out with neighborhood clean up days. I’ll work alongside you at church. I’ll register you to vote and convince others to help you if your rights are being violated. I mean, I have to work for the common good. Not doing that just because I don’t like you is stupid.

We’re clear then? We’re not friends? Great.

So before you open your mouth again for that conversation; you know, the one that starts, “I love my gay friends, but…,” and then you go on to talk about how we shouldn’t be allowed to marry someone we are attracted to or shouldn’t have access to the same rights, responsibilities, and benefits as every other married couple, or shouldn’t be parents and how our children should remain bastards all of their life– right, that one– before you start that conversation, remember our little talk, okay?

Just to be on the safe side, why don’t you practice it with me: “I don’t have gay friends. I don’t have gay friends. I don’t have gay friends.” See, that’s not so hard.

Not your friend,

Troy

This letter is in response to this bit of news we got today:

Los Angeles stops issuing marriage licenses to gay couples

The Los Angeles County Registrar’s Office stopped issuing same-sex marriage licenses after a majority of voters approved a ballot measure to eliminate the right of gay couples to marry, the agency said Wednesday.

Voters in California, Arizona and Florida weighed in on constitutional bans on same-sex marriage.

As of 11:30 p.m. ET, 52 percent of voters had approved California’s Proposition 8, with 99 percent of precincts reporting.

The amendment to the state constitution overrides a state Supreme Court ruling in May that legalized same-sex marriage.

Dear Anonymous: It’s Not About You

October 28, 2008

Prop 8 is the proposed change to the California constitution to take away same-sex couples’ right to marry. Jennifer Morse is an official spokesperson for Prop 8. I was reading her blog the other day and ran across this response she had to a 19-year old gay kid. I posted a comment, too because frankly, I feel the same way the kid does. Nobody will probably read my comment over there, but since I spent some time on it I posted it here, you know, just in case there are any 19-year old gay Californians reading my blog. It could happen!

I am responding to an Anonymous comment

When I pass houses that proudly display the very misleading happy-go-lucky blue family and yellow-backdrop Yes on Prop 8 sign, I swell up with tears.

“I am 19 years old. I am gay.

What you, my fellow Californian and American, impose on me with the signs you display in front of your house is a feeling that I am not welcomed in your great society….In my perspective, I feel like I am walking past a bunch of “F*** YOU FAG!” signs… and although that is not what you intend, the unintentional goal was met – and quite forcefully.

Anonymous: We don’t hate you. We do welcome you. We think every legitimate objective of gay and lesbian citizens can be met without redefining marriage. We don’t think this campaign is primarily about you. We think it is about the meaning of marriage. 
I think it is tragic for you to go around thinking that millions of people hate you. They don’t agree with your views, but that’s life in a free society. We don’t hate you. 
Anonymous, you are young, and still forming your sense of yourself as a person. I truly hope your self-esteem does not depend on the voters of California!
I have an article on this, here. 
The facts are that gays and lesbians already had all the material benefits of marriage through the domestic partners laws. The gay lobby has chosen, for reasons best known to themselves, to make same sex marriage a great symbolic issue. But individual gays and lesbians can decide anything they want. You can look at those signs and see the largest single grass-roots campaign in the history of self-government. You can see families trying to protect their rights to raise their children in accordance with their values. 
Or you can look at those signs and take it personally, as if it is all about you. I feel quite confident in saying that it isn’t all about you. 
The supporters of Prop 8 are not trying to hurt you. Honest.

Dear Anonymous,

Don’t you feel better now that Dr. Morse has explained why you should accept this giant grass roots effort’s ceiling on equality? Take it from me, it will be much easier to get comfortable with their honest “not hate” of you if you do the following:

Step 1: Repeat to yourself at least 1,000 times, “it’s not about me, it’s not about me.”

Step 2: Repeat to yourself: Prop 8 supporters lovingly considered all of my “legitimate objectives.” Once is probably enough on that one.

Step 3: If you start to doubt that the statement you are repeating in Step 2 is true or begin to wonder why only Prop 8 supporters get to decide which of your objectives are legitimate, simply repeat Step 1.

Step 4: Forget about Prop 8 supporters ever agreeing with you. In fact, you should stop waiting for Prop 8 supporters to love you unconditionally or to even accept you for who you are. The former is a Christian ideal that Jesus managed to live out, but that the Church hasn’t quite been up to tackling yet. The latter isn’t possible either because biblically you are an abomination – sorry 😦

Step 5. Surround yourself with friends and family who love and accept you. You need lots of love. Lots. Even more than normal when you have to listen to all that you have to listen to during this election cycle. Be with people (gay or straight) who will help you nurture the long-term committed relationship you might choose. Choose to invest time in people (gay or straight) who will be positive role models for you as you learn to be a good spouse and potentially a parent. It is very important that you understand that you are precious, wonderful and amazing just as you are. It might also help to know that there are lots of loving people in your state who know you are not an abomination – yay! 🙂