Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Gay marriage is a question of love

Keith Olbermann (American sportscaster, news anchor, and political commentator) delivers an amazing emotional Special Comment on the outcome of California's voting of "Proposition 8" which eliminated the right of same-sex couples to marry:

"This isn't about yelling, and this isn't about politics, and this isn't really just about Prop-8. And I don't have a personal investment in this: I'm not gay, I had to strain to think of one member of even my very extended family who is, I have no personal stories of close friends or colleagues fighting the prejudice that still pervades their lives. [...]

I keep hearing this term "re-defining" marriage.

If this country hadn't re-defined marriage, black people still couldn't marry white people. Sixteen states had laws on the books which made that illegal... in 1967.

The parents of the President-Elect of the United States couldn't have married in nearly one third of the states of the country their son grew up to lead. But it's worse than that. If this country had not "re-defined" marriage, some black people still couldn't people. It is one of the most overlooked and cruelest parts of our sad story of slavery. Marriages were not legally recognized, if the people were slaves. Since slaves were property, they could not legally be husband and wife, or mother and child. Their marriage vows were different: not "Until Death, Do You Part," but "Until Death or Distance, Do You Part." Marriages among slaves were not legally recognized.

You know, just like marriages today in California are not legally recognized, if the people are... gay. [...]

You are asked now, by your country, and perhaps by your creator, to stand on one side or another. You are asked now to stand, not on a question of politics, not on a question of religion, not on a question of gay or straight. You are asked now to stand, on a question of love. All you need do is stand, and let the tiny ember of love meet its own fate.

You don't have to help it, you don't have to applaud it, you don't have to fight for it. Just don't put it out. Just don't extinguish it. Because while it may at first look like that love is between two people you don't know and you don't understand and maybe you don't even want to know. It is, in fact, the ember of your love, for your fellow person just because this is the only world we have. And the other guy counts, too." More...

For more on this topic - see Unzipped: Gay Armenia


nazarian said...

Even though California is one of our more progressive states, the issue of same sex marriage is still not widely accepted there. There are a number of reasons for that but the most influential one is the religious propaganda. The mainstream denominations do not accept the idea of same sex marriage. This is very similar to the abortion issue but abortion can affect any female in the country so there is empathy for that. Same sex marriage does not have such a wider impact. But there is a lot of education going on about this so there is a growing sympathy.

I don't know if and when the US will accept this idea. Maybe we need to look for a different model such as civil unions. I think that's what they did in France and it has been very successful among the heterosexual and same sex couples.

artmika said...

Civil unions are available in the UK too. They were also introduced in California from 2000 or so. However, according to various research data, still the issue of equality has not been resolved. Spain and few other countries went further, legalising same-sex marriage.

I am sure, despite this defeat, California will accept the idea of same-sex marriage too. More targeted educational campaign for acceptance is needed.

In any case, there are still many compex legal issues connected with the Proposition 8, so we have to see how it will evolve in the Supreme Court of California. Still, I hope that Obama's presidency will eventually create a different environment in the US, and all these issues will be looked at with more acceptance.

Ani said...

The NYTimes lays out the Mormon church's role in passing the ban quite clearly in this article today:

Mormons Tipped Scale in Ban on Gay Marriage

[...]As proponents of same-sex marriage across the country planned protests on Saturday against the ban, interviews with the main forces behind the ballot measure showed how close its backers believe it came to defeat — and the extraordinary role Mormons played in helping to pass it with money, institutional support and dedicated volunteers.

“We’ve spoken out on other issues, we’ve spoken out on abortion, we’ve spoken out on those other kinds of things,” said Michael R. Otterson, the managing director of public affairs for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as the Mormons are formally called, in Salt Lake City. “But we don’t get involved to the degree we did on this.”

artmika said...

They are going to regret it. Big way.

As someone said, "the Mormons are in the spotlight now. But, they chose it."

artmika said...

Across U.S., Big Rallies for Same-Sex Marriage (NYT)

[...] The demonstrations — from a sun-splashed throng in San Francisco to a chilly crowd in Minneapolis — came 11 days after California voters narrowly passed a ballot measure, Proposition 8, that outlawed previously legal same-sex ceremonies in the state. The measure’s passage has spurred protests in California and across the country, including at several Mormon temples, a reflection of that church’s ardent backing of the proposition.

On Saturday, speakers painted the fight over Proposition 8 as another test of a movement that began with the riots at the Stonewall Inn in New York in 1969, survived the emergence of the AIDS crisis in the 1980s, and has since made enormous strides in societal acceptance, whether in television shows or in antidiscrimination laws.

“It’s not ‘Yes we can,’ ” said Tom Ammiano, a San Francisco city supervisor, referring to President-elect Barack Obama’s campaign mantra. “It’s ‘Yes we will.’ ”

Carrying handmade signs with slogans like “No More Mr. Nice Gay” and “Straights Against Hate,” big crowds filled civic centers and streets in many cities. In New York, some 4,000 people gathered at City Hall, where speakers repeatedly called same-sex marriage “the greatest civil rights battle of our generation.” [...]

Ani said...

And a lot more than just demonstrations could be in store: here's a petition to review their tax-exempt status--the Mormons were already walking a very thin line on that, and can no longer count on a stacked Supreme Court to give them a free pass:

Ani said...

State to probe allegation of Mormon church role in Prop. 8

California's political watchdog agency is investigating a complaint alleging the Mormon church failed to report non-monetary contributions to the Yes on 8 campaign, a state official said Monday.

The sworn complaint by a group called Californians Against Hate contends the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints organized phone banks from Utah and Idaho and sent direct mail to voters.

The complaint, filed four days after Californians voted to end gay marriage in the state, also alleges the Utah-based church transported people to California to walk precincts and distributed thousands of lawn signs and other campaign materials.

The church is also accused of establishing Web sites and producing commercials and other video broadcasts geared toward nonmembers.