Saturday, November 15, 2008

California, Prop 8 and the 'movement'

When the California Supreme Court ruled that the law setting up the two separate but equal systems of civil unions and marriages was unconstitutional, I was asked my opinion by a number of people. As someone that is heavily involved in the American Conservative Party, they sought to find out how I stood.

I read the opinion and it was clear that the concept of separate but equal was unconstitutional as far as California was concerned. (I suggested it would be equally unconstitutional at the national level.)

That said, the Prop 8 movement has also provoked questions concerning my opinion, both personally and as a leader at ACP. The ACP position was clear, we had no position on a state issue. My personal opinion was equally irrelevant - I don't live in California. But, what is going on after the election, concerns me - both as someone involved in ACP and as 1/2 of a gay relationship.

I think gays have the right to be pissed off. But I have been clear for months that Americans CAN use the ballot box to marginalize, even deny rights outright, to whatever group enough of them can agree on. That Prop 8 passed and overturned the California Supreme Court is an outcome perfectly consistent with the law.

I think gays can protest, but the response has gone well over the deep end. I have been an outspoken critic of things like Pride parades that showcase the most bizarre sides of a culture that is significantly in the minority virtually everywhere. Mainstreaming gays has been a longterm goal of the average gay and every time the outrageous happens, it sets back any advances. What is going on now, is setting gays back a decade or more as people who might have been somewhat willing to accept civil unions are getting slapped back.

I have supported civil unions for years and think that it resolves most of the issues raised by gays facing discrimination in legal matters related to couples. While I disagree strongly with the concept that gays getting married redefines marriage, it is clear - and it should be respected - that many people feel that way and are strongly opposed. Change is possible, but will not happen overnight, and the protests that are going on now will destroy ANY good will those of us that have tried to be rational proponents have gained over the last several years.

The gains made in civil unions will end here. Any attempt to get them on ballots or into laws in the near future will be held up as an attempt to force the same type of situation that is going on in California. Rather than face such an outcome, people - who would be willing to support civil unions - will turn it down.

Instead of showing people that Prop 8 was turning back the clock and marginalizing gays, the post election nightmare will give strength and support for FURTHER turning back the clock.

Once again, gays have overplayed the situation and failed to realize that they are a minority and acceptance has to be given, not taken. It is impossible to claim the Pro-Prop 8 supporters were disrespectful when every single action since has been disrespectful of the voters.

I will continue to make my arguments but it is clear whatever willingness to listen was available before will be in much shorter supply in the future. And THAT has been a defeat gays brought about themselves.


wdporter said...

Quick question:

What are your thoughts on the LDS activism on the issue, and the gay activists specific response to them?

Tracy Coyle said...

I think that churches need to be careful about political activism. I don't think people of faith have to leave that faith at the door of the polling place. But if an organized religion steps into the political realm, then they can't step back or complain when the political realm step up to their doors.

I think the Church made a mistake. I think the activists need to be respectful - and many have jumped the shark.