After the squeaker of a loss by proponents of Prop 8 in California last fall, although my marriage to Brad stands at the moment, thousands of other gay couples now no longer have the right to marry.
It was a stunner to say the least, watching California of all places vote to take away a right that had already been established.
Or was it?
Post election analysis revealed that much of the money that went towards misinformation and revving up the right wingers came from outside of California. How about that? Who would have thought that the nutjobs in Utah would give a damn about what the gays do on the coast?
Well, they care a lot apparently.
Stories of ordinary working Mormon families, whipped up by their community homophobic leaders, devoted substantial portions of their life savings to pass Prop 8, for fear of the saying "As California goes, so goes the nation."
Religious organizations, with deep tax exempt coffers, have money to burn to prove a point-which is apparently that you should either get on board with their dogma or they will make sure you suffer!!
Equality California, one of the major gay marriage advocacy organizations in the state who failed to see this coming or prevent it now have apparently decided to skip the 2010 ballot to try to overturn Prop 8 and wait until 2012.
Their rationale? Because they need more time to do grassroots organizing to make sure this time they win. Not a bad idea.
Yet I still have this burning desire to do something now besides donate money and talk to people for the next three years.
I therefore am putting my energy into the groups who think we shouldn't wait and we should put this issue back on the ballot at the first opportunity, like the Courage Campaign.
Here's why I don't want to wait.
First, I don't want to wait. I've waited my whole life and the time is always NOW to take action whenever possible. So what if we lose again? Maybe this time there will be more public discussion than last time. And by the way, we have the chance to start talking to our friends, family and neighbors now about this issue.
Second, I want our opponents to have to spend more money. The idea of destitute Mormons (and a few rigid Catholics) not having the money to put in a swimming pool this year or to pay for Sally's braces suits me just fine (of course the idea that there will be Mormons running around without huge perfect teeth is kinda scary as well). If we put his on the ballot, they HAVE to respond and over time, the message of fear and hate that they promote just starts to lose its punch. Next time, there won't be quite the right wing fervor that I believe was associated partly with the possibility that our nation was about to elect a black man. It made all the zealots and racists VERY nervous and if you are racist, there's a pretty good chance that you are a homophobe as well.
Third, I want the troops who are fresh from defeat and still smarting from the loss to keep the energy going. I believe that we will go into 2010 with a lot more energy for this fight after having victory snatched from us twice (once by vote, once by the lame California Supreme Court) while the homophobes are now out screaming about "death panels" and "socialism" (again partly driven by deep-seated racism in my opinion).
Fourth, there is no reason that Equality California can't walk and chew at the same time. Why not have a 2010 and 2012 plan?? Even if you believe that victory is more likely with more time to build grassroots, is there no value is siphoning off the coffers of the opposition just because? Won't they also have time to build more grassroots opposition to us and also earn interest on their anti-gay marriage monies between now and then?
And speaking of short-term plan, I hope someone is out there seriously challenging the Catholics' and Mormons' ability to pour money into these campaigns and still maintain tax exempt status. I know that I actually wrote to the IRS when I heard what the Mormons were doing last time.
It seems if there's a serious challenge going on that they have to fight, it might weaken their forces just enough for us to win.
If you're in a similar frame of mind to fight and are discourage by Equality California's decision, don't be. Hook up with Courage Campaign. And let me know if you hear of other groups eager to take up the fight again in 2010.