John Walker's Electronic House

US Election Experiences – Part 3 – Prop 8

by on Nov.11, 2008, under Rants

So there’s a final part to the US election results that needs to be added. It’s the wretched, miserable part, but it cannot be ignored. It’s the spiteful pill dropped in the water. California’s Proposition 8.

It made what should have been a jubilant Wednesday into a bitter tasting victory. Obama, a man many hold up as representing hope (and indeed is already delivering on it, with plans to end the human rights abuse of Guantanamo Bay, and reversing Bush’s plans for devastating oil drilling and his prevention of stem cell research), never said anything against Prop 8 in the time he campaigned, rather prevaricating and embarrassingly avoiding an issue he knew would lose him votes.

Somehow the people of the defiantly Democrat California voted in favour of this most hate-driven bill.

It just doesn’t make any sense. I can attempt to understand the reasons why people say they are against homosexuality (although that sounds as mad as being against weather). I get that this is born of the fear of otherness. I get that people are infected by religion that tells them to hate certain people. I get that people are terrified of their own sexuality, and want to destroy the subject. I cannot sympathise with any of these people, but I recognise that they think these things. But I just cannot comprehend how anyone can take issue with two people getting married.

It’s such an aimless hate. Generally people will pick on promiscuity when they want to pronounce what’s wrong with gay people (while seeming oddly quiet on the same subject applied to heterosexuals). Faced with a couple who want to commit to one another for life, who are in love and want their partnership to be recognised, how does this hate not at least dampen? And how – just how – does gay marriage translate in people’s minds to be in some way “harming” marriage itself?

This is what’s so utterly moronic about the whole thing. They are not only campaigning to prevent same-sex marriage, but with such an astonishing volume of bilious hate have passed a bill that could legally divorce all those who were previously married, because they claim that it was in some way endangering marriage itself.

And it’s such a stupid, stupid lie. One marriage doesn’t change another! If I should ever get married, it will likely be to a Christian, and we will declare our love before God and the church, and our faith will be the reason behind that marriage. I cannot understand how any marriage, from two drunken strangers getting married in a drive-thru in Vegas, to a loving gay or straight couple publicly declaring their commitment in the next town, can in any way do harm to my (currently imaginary) relationship. Because it obviously can’t. It’s sheer, bleeding-eyed madness to suggest otherwise.

So a couple in love who want to spend their lives together, in a recognised commitment, whether before God or themselves, who are the same sex – how on Earth could that change anything? You know how it can change it? I reinforces it. It recognises the sanctity of marriage, and celebrates it. It nurtures the concept of marriage.

I felt hope when Obama won. Not because I believe he can change the world – in fact I fear he will be remembered as one of the most vilified and loathed presidents, as the actions of the Republicans bear their fruit throughout his term/s and a stupid majority level him with the blame – but because people made the choice that I believe was most right. America proved everyone wrong when it was said they weren’t ready to elect a black man. That gave me more hope in people. It was a hope so quickly undone when Prop 8 was officially declared as passed. Where I’d felt pride before, it was replaced by disgust. That Prop 8 was ever proposed generates a great deal of horror. The idea that a minority of people were so spiteful as to try and dissolve marriages of loving couples because of their own, private prejudices, was depressing and painful. That a majority – that more people were in favour of this than against it – look, I’m an optimist. I get teased for my faith in humanity by my friends. It took one hell of a blow on Wednesday. Just what? What? Is this where we are as a people?

People voted against love. That’s fucked up. We’re in a terrible, terrible place.

As I started writing this, I saw Olbermann has commented on the subject, and captures the hurt this hate has created. He too seems just bewildered, hurt and disgusted by this most awful of results.


A friend of a friend also makes some wise and passionate remarks about it here and here.

7 Comments for this entry

  • Fede

    people are infected by religion that tells them to hate certain people

    I cannot speak for more than just Catholics (but I think the same should be correct for all the bigger Christian religions), but, whatever a priest might say, there is nothing against gay people in that religion. Christians in general should focus on the others, because for the Christian religion God isn’t inside a temple, but in the other people. In any person, whatever they might believe. Unfortunately, as I had the chance to see, all religions can easily be interpreted and twisted, by fear, ignorance or malice… leading to what you stated above.

    Also, people believing in freedom (or in any religion) should be tolerant, for if they live in a Country where there is freedom, they should understand that their rights and freedoms end where the other’s rights and freedoms begin. They shall not impose their beliefs on who has different beliefs, and the Country itself shouldn’t allow a minority’s rights to be trampled upon like this.

    But unfortunately it seems we are jealous of the other’s love, so jealous to take such foolish and utterly stupid decisions.

    Sorry for the rant.

  • The Poisoned Sponge

    As Fede says, this boils down to petty jealousy. This isn’t the sort of jealousy where straight single people are jealous of homosexual couples, but the sort of jealousy that you indulge as a child. It’s not letting the kid in your class who you don’t like have a sweet when you’re stuffed as it is. You’re just holding it back because you don’t want him to have what you have. It’s not even selfish, it’s beyond that.

    If this was out of apathy I could just about understand it. But this really is malicious. They’ve taken away something that every human being should have a right to. You can’t claim you’re doing this in the name of a benevolent being, for no benevolent being can possibly deny people the most quintessential of happiness. It’s really horrifying that so many people can actively go out of their way to depress people.

    I’m trying to think of a simile to better explain this, but I’m really struggling. I’m thinking music maybe, but you can live without music to a certain degree. Really, it’s like denying all female children parents just because they’re female. Essentially, this is racism. God, that’s depressing.

  • botherer

    Well, it’s not racism. It’s homophobia.

    What’s so depressing is that people this election seemed to swap out racism for homophobia.

  • The Poisoned Sponge

    I’d argue that it’s not homophobia, as homophobia is merely fear of homosexuality. This is active discrimination against a sexuality, and due to the fact that I’ve not got a supplementary word to give that, I just used racism. The behavior towards them is racist in nature, if not in name.

  • NM

    To quote the Senior Pastor at a California church on the danger of gay marriage: “No single social issue has threatened to forever muzzle Bible believing Christians like”.

    I hope that clarifies things. Although he clearly is disgusting in his split of the infinitive.

  • Ian

    That “Protect marriage” group mentioned in the other blog John linked sounds absolutely terrifying, as with any group where people are banding together for the soul purpose of practicing ignorance.

  • J-Man

    It’s weird how Americans are so protective of the idea of their country being an egalitarian state, when class quite blatantly exists, and this kind of thing happens.

    I didn’t know Obama was for it, I thought he just believed in equal rights. On a side note, everyone’s going on about how they’re amazed America now has a black president, but my question is when are they going to have a native American president?

    Or alternatively, a gay, black, jewish, redhead, female, native american, bilingual, videogames journalist.