Friday, November 14, 2008

Nationwide Protest Saturday

Join a Prop 8 protest in your city.

And here's what to tell anyone who wonders why we're so upset.

1. Gay people are trying to change the definition of marriage.

Answer: No, we're not, any more than we're trying to change the definition of your car by buying a car of our own. Nothing about the existence of gay marriage alters heterosexual marriage. What we're trying to do is obtain the same rights that straight people have. The definition of marriage between heterosexuals remains exactly the same.

2. The institution of marriage is under attack.

Yes, it is. By straight people. By a high divorce rate. By infidelity. You will not protect the institution of marriage by preventing people from participating in it unless marriage is only defined for you by the people you exclude. Which is kind of pathetic if it's true.

3. If gay people are so big on tolerance, they need to be more tolerant of people with different points of view.

No group needs to tolerate its own oppression or the people who make it possible, any more than black Americans needed to find "middle ground" with Southern sheriffs or Jews with Nazis. There is never any need to compromise with people who would seek to take away their rights.

4. The public voted and gays lost. Why can't you just let it go?

The courts decided and we won. Why didn't YOU just let it go? We're fighting for a right. You should be aware that we will never let it go until we have it.

5. Yes, but the courts overruled the will of the people, and in a democracy, the will of the people is what counts.

The particular democracy in which we all live created the judicial system in part to prevent the tyranny of the majority--to prevent large groups from stepping on the rights of small groups. Our pursuit of justice via the court system is actually much more in keeping with American values than your pursuit of legalized bigotry through the mob rule of hate-driven ballot initiatives.

6. But this has nothing to do with hate. I don't hate gay people--I just believe marriage should be between a man and a woman.

Part of being an adult means taking ownership of the consequences of your actions. When you are voting to deprive gay people of a right they should have, it really doesn't matter whether you are doing it out of bone-deep hatred or out of adherence to something your preacher said. You are taking an action that is designed to hurt people. If you can't own the consequences of that, you're a coward and a hypocrite.

7. But I'm acting out of a deeply held religious conviction.

How would you feel if my deeply held religious conviction told me that blacks or Jews or women or Mormons shouldn't have equal rights? Your right to enact your religious conviction within the secular law of our society stops when that conviction tramples on someone else's civil rights. Moreover, "religion" is not a magic word that gives you license to hurt other people.

8. But there's no comparison between the the fight for equal rights that black people went through during the civil rights movement and what gay people are doing now.

Of course there is. Both are civil rights issues. The opponents of the black civil rights movement often argued that the separation of the races was ordained by God. And opponents of equality often boasted, then as now, that "the people" would never put up with this. They lost then, as you will lose very soon.

9. But we're not actually hurting anyone because gay people in California already have domestic partnerships--which is the same thing as marriage, minus the word.

It's not the same thing, and the religious leaders who told you it was were knowingly lying to you. (Isn't that a sin, by the way?) A vast number of rights afforded straight married people by organizations ranging from the IRS to health-insurance companies to private employers are denied to gay people in domestic partnerships.

10. Well, you're not going to win any friends by staging these protests.

The protests are not designed to win friends; they're designed to make our enemies aware that they can't use money to hurt us and expect to escape public notice, attention and condemnation. If you think that people should have the right to give large sums of money to campaigns secretly without ever being identified, well, I suppose you can try to get that passed via ballot initiative. Good luck.

Incidentally, we have plenty of friends, as you'll see when "Repeal 8" is on the ballot in 2010. When it passes, we hope you'll remember everything you've been saying for the last week about how "the people have spoken."

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