Citizen of the Month

the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Vote No on Prop. 8

On May 15, 2008 the California Supreme Court ruled that statutes that limit marriage to a relationship between a man and a woman violated the equal protection clause of the California Constitution. It also held that individuals of the same sex have the right to marry under the California Constitution.

Proposition 8 wants to “change the California Constitution to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry in California.”

Even the most conservative voter should realize how radical it is to change the California Constitution. The only word I can think of to describe this proposition is… wrong.

I am voting No on Prop 8.

However, if you watch the video PSA below, you’ll notice that the filmmakers parody the Apple commercial where the hip young dude is “No on Proposition 8” and the older guy in the tie is all for “adding a little discrimination.”

When I watch this video, I come away thinking that it is an issue of heterosexual white men wanting to limit the rights of gays and lesbians. But not is that simple in California. There is a good chance this Proposition 8 might win in California — because all communities are split on this issue. An October 17 poll indicated that 58 percent of African-American voters supported Proposition 8 versus 38 percent who opposed it. Among Latinos, 47 percent supported the proposition while 41 percent were opposed. It is time to be a little more open about this issue — that negative attitudes against gays are not the domain of white suburban church leaders alone — and that everyone needs to start fighting their prejudices against gays and lesbians, and voting No on Prop. 8.

52 Comments

  1. I wholeheartedly support civil unions!

  2. you had it right when you said there is something wrong. shame on you for judging others.

  3. When I think of everything else that’s going on in the world right now and in this election, and then I realize that people are spending so much time, energy, and money to try to pass this disgusting, hateful proposition, I get very disheartened. I’m also shocked by how few comments (for you) this post has received so far. I hope none of your readers are buying the ridiculous lies being spread by the “Yes on 8” campaign.

  4. Unfortunately, the minority vote is largely swayed by religious affiliation. They are largely christian/catholic and tend to be conservative towards marriage rights. I agree that civil unions should be legalized. Marriage should be enjoyed/suffered by every one who wants.

  5. It really upsets me that people can’t just leave people alone. Why should it matter to anyone who is not gay whether or not gay people can marry. I support gay marriage, mostly because it’s only fair, but also because it doesn’t affect me at all! So why should I oppose it?

  6. Excellent point and you are quite right. Unfortunately, pointing that out in an ad campaign would be politically incorrect. One of the funny little ironies of the times. There are many cultures in our country, Hispanic and African-American are two of the ones I’m exposed to the most with intimate details of their family norms, that are not that keen about homosexuality or a variance of the man/woman marraige and lifestyle for various reasons. It IS unfair and dismissive to constantly attribute those views to white, white-collared men and loses any opportunity for real discussion of the issue and feelings behind the different viewpoints. Thanks for the blog, and I’m going to hug an older white guy today, potbelly and all:>)

  7. I LOVE that video. Can we intercept the big network, and replace one of the big games today with it? Come on, no one will notice……….

  8. I try to make it a point not to judge others… it’s not for me to decide what’s right and wrong. The world would be a much happier place if people weren’t so damn hateful. I can’t believe some of the things I’ve read on Proposition 8… people can be so cruel.

  9. I have been vociferously in the “No on 8” camp and I lose a little heart every time I see one of these polls that demonstrate how close this vote is going to be.

    I simply can’t understand how people, especially people who have been the target of overt discrimination in recent history, could possibly vote in favor of something to eliminate the rights of someone else. And that group includes a lot of people, other than white guys, so I kind of see why they went with that imagery, but I think that people don’t want to examine their own prejudices, especially when it involves what they consider to be a “sin.”

  10. *sigh* Here we go again.

    Imagine how difficult it is to exist in a world when you know that the dominant society thinks less of you as a person. Now imagine if you hold two or more of these characteristics. If you could hide one of these characteristics, wouldn’t you? Especially when these characteristics were something that could have gotten you killed? Now imagine this attitude internalized over many generations.

    While I do not condone these attitudes, I do understand from where they come. In order to have true change, then we all need to start recognizing our internalized crap and the roots of it.

  11. Neil, when you are talking about the Black community, the topic is more complex than merely one of religion. Your generalization is naive at best.

  12. When I was home on maternity leave, I swear I watched every single episode of every show ever produced on Lifetime and WE and Oxygen. The one show that stuck with me the most was about male-to-female transexuals who’d had surgery. One was from a South American country, I forget which, and was perhaps not fully out of adolescence when she had surgery. She was terrified of what her parents were going to do. They cut to the interview with the parents, who looked very stern and traditional. Then the dad opened his mouth and could barely speak through his tears as he described how proud he was of his kid and that he just wanted his kid to be happy no matter what. I am tearing up just remembering it again. It was so unexpected and touching.

    Anyway, I am really surprised that people are calling you out as judgmental in this post.

    Also, civil unions are not the same as marriage. I think we can all remember from history class how well “separate but equal” worked out last time.

    One more thing, I am suprised you invoked the name of Obama when he does not support gay marriage.

  13. Obama may be iffy with gay marriage, but he is definitely no on Prop. 8. There is a big difference between having concerns over gay marriage and trying to change the constitution to ban it after it has already been through the court system.

  14. Have you ever been to Miami? South Beach? Have you ever heard of Juan Gabriel? Or Walter Mercado? Sammy? Old Latin people love them. I don’t think it’s fair to paint people with such broad brushstrokes. Which I know is your point, but still.

  15. You make a valid point, and I’m not sure why people are calling you judgmental for it.

  16. I agree Neil – we have to start somewhere but even getting started is hard. I applaud your courage in opening the dialogue.

  17. I’m not even sure what the courage is all about. I’m just stating info from the polls saying that this issue is one that crosses all color and ethnic lines.

    Miguelina — Maybe we are talking more about the Mexican-American community in the West.

  18. Thanks for posting this! I haven’t been following American politics as closely as I should be since moving abroad!

    It is hard to believe that California would take such giant steps backwards!

  19. Great video and very well said. I am disgusted that this is even being challenged.

  20. I also think it is important to bring up the African-American and Latino community for this issue because we are talking about an election where there will be a heavy turn-out from these communities, mostly for Obama. And if these communities also vote Yes for Prop 8, then the Proposition might win.

    http://tinyurl.com/5wxrpk

    So, by not bringing up this issue, in fear of stepping into someone else’s community, is a disservice to the gays who will most be affected. I have no problem with you visiting my Jewish aunt in Florida and explaining to her why Obama is NOT bad for Israel.

  21. I don’t know. But I can only imagine the Mexican-American community is more complicated than “machismo” and ” religion.” I’m pretty sure they can think for themselves.

  22. Miguelina — I don’t see why I can’t try to persuade them to my POV? They’re California citizens just like everyone else. Everyone talks to groups, etc. in politics.

    There’s a lot of arguing going on at this Huffington Post article titled, “Black Blindness on Proposition 8.”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/leonce-gaiter/black-blindness-on-propos_b_136488.html

  23. And Dagny, that Huffington Post article I just linked opened my eyes a bit to what you are saying — that the effects of slavery and mistreatment has had an effect on the black male and his macho fear of gayness as much as religion — and that is what separates this from the white dominant culture’s anti-homosexuality.

  24. Interesting post and discussion. I think every one, every single person in the entire United States of America ought to be against amending a Constitution (State or Federal) so that it specifically discriminates against a group of people in terms of how they are treated by the state (or the country). It’s taken 200 years to eliminate discrimination against other groups. This, if it happened, would be a huge, sad step backwards.

    Makes me think of that quote. Do you know it, Neil? Something like: They came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew, so I said nothing. Then they came for the Catholics, but I was not a Catholic, so I said nothing. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me.

  25. Thank you for doing the further reading. It’s just that yesterday I had to sit at lunch and hear men in my family say that they plan to vote yes on 8. But understanding our history in this country, I also knew that I could not use the same arguments with them as I did with others. I don’t know if I changed their minds but I know I definitely left them thinking over their stance.

    And then while leaving Sacramento, I got to see a group of folks standing at an intersection proudly holding signs urging folks to vote yes.

    I haven’t discussed the issue on my blog and instead have been sharing the posts of others. What I did do was to contact the folks for No on 8 to ask what I could do as a volunteer. Because I am outraged at the idea of this proposition passing. And so next weekend, I will go in for training so that I can hit the streets on Election Day. I urge anyone who lives in California to contact the folks at No on 8 — http://www.noonprop8.com/ — to see what you can do.

  26. Of course you’re free to try to convince anyone to your point of view! Lots of us do that. But talking to and about groups in politics is what personally turns me off. I’d never presume you’d vote a certain way because I place you in a certain group (and I don’t just mean ethnicity.) But maybe that’s just me. (I doubt it.)

  27. A couple of comments, neither of which will touch on the black/Latino vote, because as a white agnostic gal, I have zero cred in that area.

    First, the Fat White Dude/Hip White Dude/Apple homage is lazyman’s shorthand. Most of us know the spots, so they don’t have to do as much heavy lifting establishing characters.

    They’re also lazyman’s shorthand b/c (and I’m talking out of my reasonably well-informed ass here, but still, consider the source) the audience that is familiar with the Apple/PC ads and for whom they resonate probably doesn’t intersect much in the ol’ Venn diagram with the target they need to convert. Again, ass talking; I have no stats, and don’t know the strategy the creatives were handed.

    Second (and this is the part where I get stoned by the crowd), while I’m voting “no” on 8, I’m looking at this whole process as the sad, sad beginning to what will likely be a long haul toward equal marriage rights under the law.

    I’m glad that there is some kind of follow-up to the court pronouncement, in light of how not-well Roe v. Wade has held up. A lot of way smarter people than me have talked about how we’re going to be better off when a law is proactively written about personal agency where it comes to abortion, rather than relying on an adjudication.

    Kinda-sorta similarly, I think we’re fighting the right battle the wrong way. It’s crazytimes, trying legislate morality or belief either way. If some church says “no way” to gay marriage, well, you’ve gotta respect that. I’m a non-believer, but one of the many reasons I left the Church was b/c of its exclusionary policies. It blows my mind that women and homosexuals and other marginalized people in the eyes of the Church would support that b.s., but who am I to say?

    On the other hand, if you separate the two things–church marriage and civil unions–it’s a different, cleaner story. If everyone, gay or straight or bi or whatever, MUST have a civil union to be recognized by the state, well, game on. Then go ahead and have your church ceremony.

    But we’re asking for trouble the way we’ve been handling it, giving judges and ministers the same power to marry people. And I say that as a most right Reverend of the Church of the Internet who has legally married a couple right here in California.

    In France, they have the civil marriage and then them what’s Catholic gets them a church wedding. Bing, bam, boom. No harm, no foul, no ugly comingling of Church and State.

    That is my ideal world. Not that I expect either side to meet each other halfway there.

  28. I appreciate your posting about this no matter the reason behind it; no Constitution should be amended to lessen the rights of any group.

  29. The Coolest Band to Come out of Southern California —

  30. Thank you Communicatrix for saying what I as an individual have known and believed in for so many years. Because I have believed in gay marriage at least since the time I attended the ceremony of family friends back in 1995. I thought that it was wrong that their union was not recognized by the State.

    Shortly after that time, I learned that many countries have civil and religious ceremonies. I have vehemently argued that civil ceremonies could not possibly be an affront to someone’s religious beliefs. And doesn’t the First Amendment say something about separation of church and state? Of course, I could have been half asleep that day in Con Law.

    This is the argument to use. To say that someone’s religious beliefs are wrong does nothing in an effort to change someone’s mind. I have found that the most effective argument has always been to put it in the terms of civil/legal versus religious. In many ways it is similar to the abortion argument. Just because you would not choose to participate, perhaps due to religious reasons, does this give you the right to limit the choices of others?

  31. Oh and Neil, of course they’re cool. They’re from the LBC. Just like Snoop.

    And while I like that song, my favorite has always been “All Day Music.”

  32. Woah. Lots of comments. Sorry I didn’t read them all before adding my $0.02.

    What I can’t figure out is this: the same people who will vote yes on Prop 8 will tell you that you cannot change the Constitution to ban guns, that changing the Constitution is unAmerican or anti-freedom.

  33. Too bad I can’t vote on that prop. I still believe that any two consenting people of legal age should be allowed to marry. Period. I was allowed to make that mistake. Why not everyone else?

  34. I’m with you; No on 8. It’s about freedoms, plain and simple.

  35. Ironically, Apple has announced it is against Prop 8. http://www.apple.com/hotnews/

    Yet another reason (besides the fact that they actually work) to buy their products.

  36. Prop 8 makes me sick to my stomach.

  37. love the song. and the video. You should lead with that tomorrow……..

  38. When the PA legislature came close to passing an amendment to the state constitution defining marriage as only between a man and a woman, I did my share of lobbying against that amendment. It’s been now dropped, but God only knows for how long.

    Marriage is between two consenting adults who love each other, period.

    Thanks for the post, and, especially for the great comments.

  39. “Marriage is between two consenting adults who love each other, period.”

    Until some other group lobbies for their right to marry and then I guess we just change the definition again.

    That’s reality.

    And BTW, I am not against gay marriage, I am only for the states, via popular vote, deciding it, not the courts.

  40. TRO — I hear where you are coming from. This tension has been there since the days of the founding fathers. So what would you suggest — each state having a separate vote to legalize or not gay marriage? Would this marriage from a legal state be accepted if the gay couple moved to a non-legal state?

    And why do you think this issue is not a valid one for the courts to deal with? Isn’t it more of a legal issue? How can the voters really vote on this issue in the same way they do to fund a new highway?

  41. 40th Anniversary of Supreme Court Ruling Making Interracial Marriage Legal in All States

  42. Love is All That Matters, as is shown in this exclusive video from the first legal lesbian wedding done in Santa Monica, California. And the couple is still very happy! Vote No on Proposition 8!

  43. Hard to believe that with so many other issues on our plate we argue about something so trivial.

  44. Here’s another No on 8 person. And thank you, Neil, for not changing your residency to New York so you can add to our chorus of “no’s.” (As opposed to a chorus of noses.)

  45. “And why do you think this issue is not a valid one for the courts to deal with? Isn’t it more of a legal issue? How can the voters really vote on this issue in the same way they do to fund a new highway?”

    I don’t believe the courts should be legislating. Their job is to interpret the law, not make it. That’s what the Constitution says. An issue should be decided by the people.

    For example, I believe that over time the majority of people will ultimately support gay marriage. It’s just the nature of things – times are changing. Heck a poll of RNC delegates this year found that a majority favored some type of civil unions for gays. That is progress. In a few years more will feel that way about gay marriage and soon a majority of people will support it.

    That is Democracy. That is the way it is supposed to work. You share your point of view on a position, debate it, convince others to join you, and things change. Or the don’t. But this is the way it works.

    Legislating through the courts is bypassing that process and only serves to alienate and separate people, not bring them together.

    As to your question about individual states. Yes, I believe the residents of each state should decide. If one or two or ten states legalize gay marriage then gays will tend to move to those states. And to those other states who recognize those marriages. Or they can stay where they are. It will be their choice. If Alabama never allows gay marriage than gays will simply move to greener pastures. It’s Alabama’s loss and some other state’s gain.

  46. TRO — Well, I’m sure you noticed that I put up that video about interrracial marriage. Would we really want a country where some states might still still find it illegal, so all the interracial couples would have to flee to certain states?

    Frankly, I don’t want all these married gay couples only in California. Since so many of them have disposable income, they raise the prices of breakfast items in diners.

  47. Actually I didn’t have time to look at the videos, but you make a fair point.

    I still believe judical fiat is not the way you rule a people though.

    Why do they have more disposable income? I could call my good friend, Kristine, who lives in San Diego with her partner, but she hasn’t forgiven me for asking what all the other women looked like in the women’s locker room at our law enforcment academy. No sense of humor that gal.

  48. TRO – I have a feeling you don’t want to mess with the women at the law enforcement academy.

  49. The loved me . . . because I am so lovable.

  50. Some call it discrimination I call gay marriage an abomination… but it doesn’t matter what I think unless I think that gays should be married at least that’s what people act like. If Prop 8 doesn’t pass it doesn’t excuse people gay or straight for their sins… It is very apparent why gay marriage, sex etc. is wrong yet people walk around with their eyes closed and think it’s a matter of the heart. We (people) are not to tolerate everything… are we discriminating against murderers for arresting them for what they feel was right? What if they were born with the urge to kill.. should we let them express that? Should drunk drivers be able to drive because they want to? Before you say its different.. then I question… why is being homosexual likened to being a minority? That is different!!! Just as I choose to love men… some men choose to love men too.. the problem with that is we were not designed to mate, sleep with or be romatically involved with the same sex it is therefore WRONG!!! Marriage was created by God and as long as men and women (gay or straight) continue to pervert what He created we will dig ourselves deeper into the pit of hell that we have created for ourselves. To the non believers.. you will one day call upon His name and He will hear your call.. He is today as He was tomorrow and forever will be whether you chose to accept Him or not. God Bless this country and the state I love…… May Jesus show mercy on us!!!

  51. Same sex marriage is great for the economy. Everyone knows gays throw the best parties. So our florists, hotels, fine paper stores, clothing stores, etc. will all benefit. Maybe in 7 years or so the leagl profession will see a comparable surge. Why should heteros be the only ones to pay a grand for a dress they’ll never wear again?

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