If we lose California, if they defeat the marriage amendment, I'm afraid that the culture war is over and Christians have lost. I've never said that publicly until now--but that's just the reality of the fact.
Clearly Donald Wildmon gets how high the stakes are when it comes to defeating Prop 8. But of course Wildmon is not entirely accurate--defeating Prop 8 in November does not mean "Christians have lost." It will mean, however, that successfully using religion to scapegoat, shame, and marginalize LGBT people is over.
Many, many Christians and people of faith--and all of us committed to a nation where we truly aspire to respect for common humanity and dignity--will rejoice in the failure of Prop 8 and similar measures in Arkansas, Arizona, and Florida. What Wildmon--one of the most vitriolic anti-LGBT crusaders in the country--understands is that he and those like him will never again be able to terrorize LGBT folks in the name of family, religion, or Christianity. What Wildmon gets is that the future of our movement and our entire struggle for justice, dignity, and equality hangs in the balance in November.
There are some who, while certainly opposed to these measures, do not feel any particular historic urgency. They do not sense the enormity of threat, believe that the only casualty of the fight will be the right to marry for same-sex couples, and since they don't wish to marry, how bad can it be? So in an effort to clear up any confusion, let me make this plain: it will be a devastating catastrophe if we lose these ballot measures.
In California, for the first time, same-sex couples can legally marry. But beyond that, LGBT people in California are now entitled to full equality under the law in every facet of our lives. For the first time--in any state--LGBT people are full and equal citizens under state law.
While the landmark ruling from the California Supreme Court is most notable for ending the exclusion of same-sex couples from the right to marry, the most groundbreaking part of the opinion was the Court's holding that virtually any law that discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation will be invalidated. For the first time ever, a high court extended to sexual orientation the same legal protection given to gender, religion, race, and national origin. While the words of Prop 8 are limited to marriage ("Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California"), if this initiative were to pass it would be the first step in undermining the broad protections given to all LGBT Californians.
Make no mistake: schools and LGBT youth would be next, as would a broad range of employment, housing protections, and family issues. And if we lose California, when so much hangs in the balance, every anti-LGBT organization will be emboldened, every homophobic politician will be bolstered, every anti-LGBT effort will be strengthened. If we lose California and Arkansas and Arizona and Florida, we will have lost our chance to truly turn the corner and a future free of the most toxic anti-LGBT bias. Donald Wildmon understands what is at stake--he knows his organization will not survive if we prevail. He knows it will be new day.
What kind of world do you want to wake up to on November 5?