11/05/2008

where do we go from here?*

We've been driving around with a pro-gay marriage bumper sticker on our car for years. Sometimes we get angry honks about it and sometimes a thumbs-up from fellow drivers. When we put that sticker on our car, we had no idea that gay marriage was even a possibility in California anytime soon. It just seemed important to let our views be known as widely as possible.

So today I am disappointed in the success of Prop 8, even as I am simultaneously thrilled that the margin of its passing was so close that this is sure to never happen again in California--the next time gay marriage is on the ballot, it will succeed. The bigotry is dying even as the rising generation realizes that gay marriage is a natural extension of civil rights.

Of course what is most disappointing is the LDS church's involvement in the fight. This is the face of bigotry. As much as I love my Mormon heritage, I feel morally repelled by all of the hate and anti-gay fervor that's been spewn by LDS activists. And I feel both pleased and relieved to say that I did not raise my hand to sustain the current leadership of the LDS church.

The upshot: I will not stop fighting for equal marriage rights. Yes, we've had a major setback in California today, but the battle is far from over. And we will win.
This union may never be perfect, but generation after generation has shown that it can always be perfected. And today, whenever I find myself feeling doubtful or cynical about this possibility, what gives me the most hope is the next generation--the young people whose attitudes and beliefs and openness to change have already made history in this election.
~Pres-Elect Obama

As we celebrated the presidential election last night with friends, we made some predictions about how many years it would be before we have a female president, an Asian president, a gay president, a Chicano/Latino president, or an atheist president. We predicted that we'd see at least two of those within the next 20 years. What do you think?

*Caroline chose this same phrase to title her post on Prop 8. If you're interested in LDS activism, you might want to take a look.

22 comments:

mamadoula said...

Thank you, Jana. I wondered the same thing this morning: will my 3-year-old daughter see a woman president before she's my age, 26? I am so happy that she will see this progress as normal, and hopefully it won't take another 40+ presidents to get to the next "historical" president.

JohnR said...

Amen, my love. You've voiced the feelings of my heart as well.

Zazzy said...

Oh, I was so excited by the presidential race (and some of our local stuff) that I hadn't heard prop 8 succeeded in California. I find that immeasurably sad.

As for an atheist president - when Al Gore announced Joseph Lieberman for his running mate, I recall a big discussion on the View. Star Jones said something to the effect that so long as he had a personal relationship with god, then she didn't care what religion he was. And the audience stood and cheered like that was a good thing.

Every Christmas season I get an onslaught of emails about how the ACLU is trying to destroy Christmas. Wasn't it just a couple years ago that there was a big crisis about Walmart asking employees to use the inclusive greeting, "Happy Holidays"?

Maybe things will change in 20 years but I think that it's going to take a lot longer than that to see an atheist or agnostic in the White House. I have high hopes about a female president, however.

saraarts said...

You should definitely check out The Daily Show from Monday night if you get a chance. Jon Stewart was brilliant and hilarious on the topic of marriage historically, including Mormon marriage.

As you and I discussed at lunch when you were here in September, the most appalling part about all this is the sheer waste of money. It would be so lovely if all that money and energy that people pour into fear could be used to, I don't know, feed the hungry, clothe the poor, educate the illiterate... Just a thought.

This kind of hypocrisy, spending money on fear not love, is one of the reasons we non-Christians of the world have such distrust for people claiming to be Christians of various sorts. I don't think it's wrong or stupid to believe in God or Jesus, even though I can't. I do think it's pure evil to hid behind either or both as a way of avoiding actually living a life of love.

But what do I know?

Christopher Bigelow said...

I too feel the Obama euphoria and hope it lasts. Especially after this rough year, he's like a Prozac that's finally been popped. No pressure, Obama, no pressure.

I'm fascinated by your certainty that you so fully and deeply understand homosexuality, marriage, and how the twain shall meet. What gave you these godlike powers of omniscience in this area?

Kristen said...

I want to know why the mormon church, after spending $20 million on Yes on 8 in CA, is allowed to keeps its tax-exempt status.

Their actions are shameful. I'm disgusted with them and those who voted to use the state constitution to strip their fellow citizens of their rights. (And I'm also proud of my home state, Massachusetts.)

Terry Mazerolle said...

The hyperlink for "the face of bigotry" doesn't work. Can you please post the link again? Thanks for the nice post.

[kɹeɪ̯ɡ̊] said...

Thanks Jana. I really need to read something like this today.

Hamster said...

Rather than waste 20 million dollars to support a ban on Gay marriage why doesn’t the Mormon church do something useful like spend it to feed the poor or provide shelter for the homeless. There are so many good uses for that money.

What kind of Christian message does it send when you spend that kind of money on political campaigns while the poor go hungry and the sick can't afford to see a doctor.

Handing 20 million dollars over to television stations for anti gay ads is a big waste of money in a world of suffering.

MKB said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jana said...

Oh, hell, MKB, you are so right. The LDS church has always defined marriage as between one man and one woman. Yah..."always the same," indeed.

JohnR said...

mkb, it's probably more accurate to say that church members gave over $20 million, though in California, members were strongly encouraged from the top down to donate large sums. Also, political donations over $200 are a matter of public record, and a number of organizations and news services have identified and tabulated those coming from Mormons, which make the disproportionate share of pro-Prop 8 funding.

MKB said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
belleshpgrl said...

A few years back I predicted that we would have a black president before we had a woman president. I had no idea it would be so blessedly soon! However, if I had to take a gander, I would say woman, then Asian, then gay followed closely by athiest. The unfortunate underlying connection of church and state will make an athiest impossible. There is too much rampant homophobia that it will require a new generation for a gay person to run for such a high office. I think sexism runs deeper than racism but Americans are historically not as welcoming to Asian populations.

With the great, amazing stride made on Tuesday, there is still much work to be done.

belleshpgrl said...

Oh, I really think we could see an Hispanic president before a woman president.

I hope I don't sound like a sexist bigot because I'm not. I'm trying to put myself in the mind of someone like my stepmother- she thought a woman would be too emotional to be president and she named her black cat something from the Briar Rabbit story...

Megan said...

The Mormon church's actions on this issue were the catalyst for me to have my name removed from the records. Although I left the church 12 years ago I didn't resign until now. So many people I know had talked about how the bigotry and discrimination shown by the church over the blacks with priesthood issue or the fight against ERA were all due to personal flaws in the leadership rather than inherent doctrinal issues. The actions over Prop 8 has shown how little the church has grown since 1978. I love my family, I accept my (1/2) Mormon heritage, but I refuse to be associated in name with this sort of behavior.

lma said...

Megan...I've about come to the conclusion that I will finally have to take the big step and have my name removed from the Mormon Big Membership List, as well. (Sorry. Feeling a bit whimsical today.)

And when I do, I will specifically state that their support of Prop. 8 was a big part of my reasons for doing so.

Anonymous said...

Some comments have mentioned that the $20 million may have been spent on charitable endeavors. I think the same may be said for the equal amount of money spent by those opposed to Proposition 8.

JohnR said...

hmmmmmm...$20 million spent by an institution that preaches service and love to deprive a group of legal rights, versus money spent to prevent those rights from being taken away.

jana said...

uh, yah. I said exactly the same thing way back in August...

amelia said...

no one ever replied to kristen's question about the lds church's tax exempt status, so i thought i would.

first, a church is free to donate to ballot initiatives without jeopardizing that status. they can even instruct their members how they should vote. it's when churches endorse individual candidates that the risk their tax exempt status. at least that is how the law has been interpreted.

second, the institutional church did not donate $20 million. individual mormons donated money which, collectively, totaled about $20 million. i don't see much difference between the institutional church and individual members. what is a church if not its members? but i do think the difference is substantial enough that the lds church couldn't possibly lose its tax exempt status over this campaign.


and finally, unrelated entirely to tax exempt status, i just want to say how deeply painful this whole thing has been to me as a (mostly) practicing mormon. i am angry and hurt over the issue (gay marriage being made unconstitutional) itself. but the spiritual battery i've experienced comes from the undeniable hypocrisy i've witnessed in the church's and its members' actions.

Suddenly Sixty said...

You are not alone! I live in las vegas and know many Mormons with the same outlook you expressed so passionately in your post.

Remember Jesus was a community organizer.