The Fight for Civil Rights is Not Over.

Posted by Whit Barringer , Monday, November 17, 2008 9:43 AM

So, California Prop 8 passed. Equality rallies have been organized across the U.S. as a response. There have been some radical rogues, but for the overwhelming majority of the time, they have all been peaceful protests.

Now the Catholic Church and the Church of Latter Day Saints (which gave over $20 million to the ad campaign for Prop 8) are crying foul... that protests are a violation of free speech.

From the LDS website:

It is disturbing that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is being singled out for speaking up as part of its democratic right in a free election.

Members of the Church in California and millions of others from every faith, ethnicity and political affiliation who voted for Proposition 8 exercised the most sacrosanct and individual rights in the United States - that of free expression and voting.

While those who disagree with our position on Proposition 8 have the right to make their feelings known, it is wrong to target the Church and its sacred places of worship for being part of the democratic process.

Once again, we call on those involved in the debate over same-sex marriage to act in a spirit of mutual respect and civility towards each other. No one on either side of the question should be vilified, harassed or subject to erroneous information.

From the Catholic Church
"Proposition 8 is not against any group in our society. Its sole focus is on preserving God's plan for people living upon this earth throughout time," Cardinal Roger Mahony, archbishop of the Diocese of Los Angeles, said in a statement Thursday.
Effectively, as I was told while discussing this with a few of my friends, California now has at least three classes of people. Heterosexuals who can marry, homosexuals who can only have civil unions, and homosexuals who have been married. That is a house that cannot stand, I assure you.

But what I don't understand is how LDS can say that the very act of protesting is stepping on their rights to free speech and voting, when they went so far as to try and blackmail opponents of Prop 8 into giving them money. Now that the Anti-Gay Blacklist is up and running, people are screaming all over the place. I've seen it called militant homosexuality, Nazi tactics, Gay Gestapo, etc. etc.

I'm not sure I have a question here, but I'm really just disgusted at what's been going on. I don't think that the blacklist was necessarily the best course of action to repairing gay-straight relations in California and in the U.S. as a whole, but I don't think it was violating any right.

I'm incensed that LGBT groups have been treated as a group that can arbitrarily be denied or given rights. Either they can marry across the U.S., or they can't. Either they can adopt children, or they can't. Either they can be foster parents, or they can't. There can be no gray area here. These episodes in California, which will only continue to get worse as the class differential starts to wear down on those in the gay community who have been denied, will either end up overthrowing the entire system of inequality there and everywhere, or do the opposite in all the same places. The anti-gay movement has begun a fight that I wish I knew it couldn't win, but hatred runs deep in people. We never know how deep until the end.

To deny gay rights across the board is to completely disenfranchise so many - these people are your mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, (and, for some and someday) sons and daughters. Many of us have LGBT friends. They are human beings like everyone else, right?

But that's not what the arguments and the laws would have you believe. How many times have you heard the argument, "If we let gays marry, then what's next! Polygamy! Incest! Pedophilia! Bestiality!" How degrading. Their right to love and marry whoever they see fit is compared to having sex with animals and small children? Not only is it a non-sequiter to give this line of argument, but it is deliberately demonizing a very human group of people.

I'm exhausted with the debate, and I have come in only in the last few years of a many decades long fight. I don't see how these arguments can stand. How they cannot be challenged. How they can actually be made into law.

Mike Huckabee recently wrote a book called Do the Right Thing. In it, he writes this:

[Heterosexual] marriage matters . . . nothing in our society matters more. Our true strength doesn't come from our military or our gross national product; it comes from our families. What's the point of keeping the terrorists at bay in the Middle East if we can't keep decline and decadence at bay here at home?
Yes, nothing in our society matters more. Nothing. Let that sink in before you move on.

This is going to become the prevailing narrative of social conservatives, which will come back to bite in 2010 and 2012. Sarah Palin, the one 64% of Republicans would like to see on the presidential ticket in 2012, has a better record than you would think on these issues, but supports an amendment to the constitution.

What a fight there is before us. It's not best to think of it that way (you tire long before the end), but it's the only way to prepare.

2 Response to "The Fight for Civil Rights is Not Over."

Ryeanna Says:

Excellent comments, Whit. I agree... there is much to be done, and quite a lot to be wary of in the years to come. Let's hope people realize their own humanity before it's too late. ♥.

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