Patricia Nell Warren

Now Comes the Hard Part

Filed By Patricia Nell Warren | November 05, 2008 9:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Fundie Watch, Marriage Equality, Politics, Politics
Tags: Election Night, future of gay rights, LGBT rights, marriage rights, Prop 8

After 21 months of hard work by the Obama campaign, and anxiety by voters and supporters, it was a wonderful moment last night -- a moment that was shocking in its unexpectedness. crowdshot.jpgThe million people that spontaneously gathered in Grant Park -- the spontaneous gatherings in other cities -- the masses of waving flags and smiling happy faces, the tears of African Americans, the moving speech by the President-elect. It almost took me back to Woodstock, to a feeling of a different time when we felt we were on the brink of a bright new day. It was a blink of time that many of us will remember till we die.

But now comes the hard part.

Not just the hard work needed to put Obama's plan into action, hopefully with the support of a Democratic Congress, and the support of as many citizens as possible. Not just the sacrifices that everyone will have to make in order to accommodate the "changes" that we've asked for -- which will mean a restructuring of how many of us have lived for the last two decades -- like trying to walk on water with easy credit.

No, the hardest part will be the fierce ongoing ultraconservative opposition to Obama's administration. The religious right, and the more conservative Republicans, will make every effort to drag Obama's administration down. We will see a continuation of the dirty campaigning -- the throwing of any old piece of dirt and road-kill they can get their hands on -- the looking for some excuse to impeach Obama on some issue or other. These efforts will get the ongoing support by the same conservative major media that did everything they could to slant things against Obama during the election.

Obama probably knows this battle is coming...and so does McCain. Which is why the two of them held out olive branches last night, as a symbol of the need for both parties to work together to rescue the country.

For LGBT people, the hardest part of all, will be the rising tide of efforts to legislate us into oblivion. Reading the religious-right press this morning, I see that they are quite happy with the statewide election results on individual "moral" issues, to the point where they seem okay with having gotten that victory instead of victory for McCain. To me, the most shocking thing about the passage of Prop 8 yesterday was that Californians also passed Prop 2 (cruelty to farm animals). So the lives of pigs and chickens are now more valued than we are. From this point on, in California, we will probably see new anti-gay initiatives in the next statewide election -- perhaps a renewal of Briggs-type efforts to remove us from visibility in California education.

Nationally, it goes without saying that passage of Prop 8, along with our losses in Florida, Arizona and Arkansas, is a big setback to the LGBT-rights movement. Our strategists will have to come up with a really good new plan -- an end run around these state initiatives, that will keep our rights protected at the federal and constitutional level. Hopefully, with a Democratic Congress, the threat of a federal marriage amendment is lessened.

datbrobindianeallred.jpgSo this morning I'm happy to see that attorney Gloria Allred and her clients, the indomitable Robin Tyler and Diane Olson, who won the right to marry from the California Supreme Court, are filing a new lawsuit today with the California Supreme Court. The lawsuit is said to contain a new legal argument as to why Prop. 8 is unconstitutional. Let's hope it goes all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, and establishes once and for all that we should enjoy the constitutional right to marry if we are to be deemed citizens of the United States.

When Obama courageously mentioned the word "gay" in his speech last night, I'm sure that he meant it in the passions of that magic moment. But the new President will have to get on board with us as far as full protection of our citizenship rights. If he doesn't, the "yes, we can" slogan doesn't mean squat for LGBT people. So we'll have to hope that Obama and his administration are really prepared to get down and fight for us.

For Obama, going all the way on our rights might be the hard part.

Recent Entries Filed under Politics:

Leave a comment

We want to know your opinion on this issue! While arguing about an opinion or idea is encouraged, personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please be respectful of others.

The editorial team will delete a comment that is off-topic, abusive, exceptionally incoherent, includes a slur or is soliciting and/or advertising. Repeated violations of the policy will result in revocation of your user account. Please keep in mind that this is our online home; ill-mannered house guests will be shown the door.

Patricia - I'm afraid you have it right. Dobson, Bauer and others are already proclaiming the “end of the gay agenda.” Even with enhanced Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress, our defeat in 4 of 5 ‘gay rights’ ballot issues (if we can count CT as a win) is going to make it very difficult for Obama and our congressional friends to successfully push anything more than watered-down ENDA and hate-crimes legislation. They have no cover to go after DOMA or DADT.

I am too young to remember Stonewall, as are many others in my generation (I'm 35); I was raised at an odd time between Stonewall and the Safe Schools movement. I can say I have fought for my rights and I will continue.

Despite the rhetoric, there is a little difference between the struggle for blacks and gays to be acknowledged. The details are very different; what I am talking about, however, is the attitude that gays are subhuman. This is the common bond we share. Racism will not go away with Barack Obama; in fact, it may intensify in retaliation.

I fear I may have made a mistake in casting a vote for Senator Obmama. There were several other choices, unknown to me, on the ballot. I am guilty of not getting to know them when I had time to do so.

Changing individual attitudes is much easier than changing a societies. This is the first basic lesson of social policy. The second is that all policy is political.

Every statement, every job has a stated production function--what it says it does; and a ceremonial function--what it does in reality. I have argued that many social programs, such as welfare (which have never been proven to work through any rational control testing--email me via and I will be happy to share the statics with you)have never proven successful for myriad reasons, even with willing participants and even when fudging the studies by using "cream of the crop" subjects," i.e., those subjects that they would have lost anyway due to attrition or personal circumstance that made their situation temporary.

The reason they failed was simple, their function was ceremonial, not functional, they indicated that the government was "addressing the problem" while in reality not putting enough resources behind it to really make it worth while.

In other words, they fulfilled the ceremonial rhetoric that America is land of opportunity for those who work hard enough; however, these people are just lazy.

As someone who is attempting a graduate degree (the first in my family; my mother was ill; my father, figuratively has broken his back in service to others and to give me this chance), I have 3.98 GPA and nearly a hundred character references. These don't matter to my institution, because I'm an "outspoken and critical thinker not intimidated to challenge authority," they put me into a "hearing" process where I'll probably be expelled because I refused, among many things, to be insulted and to write a racist paper where I was supposed to compare "my culture" do the "dominant culture," the white middle class. Someone with a PhD should be rather aware that that "dominant" and "white middle class" are not synonymous.

When I asked her to define her variable for the purpose of discussion, she would not. She improperly dropped me from her class a few days later.

Because I can't afford a decent lawyer, they can act with impunity. When I requested a new field liason after being battered at my practicum being told "homosexuality is wrong" by a staff member, all the while receiving inadequate supervisor by our field manual's standards, I was told to "deal with it myself, it's all a lesson in social work." I was also assigned a practicing Roman Catholic active in the church. It's not the person, but the action that was meant to further intimidate me.

None of this matters. I'm to white, too old, not "diverse" enough, etc, already got a bachelor's degree (which would actually pay me less for many jobs in which I had the GED, or as we fondly called it, the Gay Education Degree). No one cares that I paid for my associates on my own, that I live in relative poverty off the generosity of my now former husband (people may quibble--trust me, I still consider him my full husband, but I'm reaching a point if you're still with me.)

I can also supply this research: the attitudes among all people are remarkably similar when it comes to helping the poor. Even poor people don't think they deserve a helping hand.

They ignore the advantages of those born into money, and those who stole it from the poor, such as in the programs mentioned above, where a portion of the cash assistance went to corporations instead of people for projects designed to fail.

My best friend,who is a pretty well off, gay, retired Command Sergeant Major(ret.), who is dying of old age, and speaks more language that I can count, including Arabic.

He's a successful painter and on death's door. I swore I would never sell it; however, if someone wants to offer me $100,000 dollars after taxes for my dream fund, which is a project to make all people independent of these ceremonial functions, then it is yours. It is on my Facebook profile at . The painter's name is even misspelled.) .

The irony is my friend became a painter after the person he loved died in Vietnam; my friend deliberately walked in front of a truck. Government health care saved him and for a Buddhist, he's doing a damn good job of holding on despite barely remembering my name. I have known this person since I was five years old.

He hates the poor; he calls my dreams, "socialism." It never stopped him, however, from exploiting me or the desperate gay youth he continues to exploit for sex or just too cop a feel. The privileged, on the other hand, he's more than willing to put his hands out a helping

My poverty, the fight I've had to get my degrees, the injustices I've had to face, the horrible jobs I've had to work, the suffering I've had to endure to get into school when I could have accomplished the task 18 years earlier without gay abuse and a helping hand. All that time I could have spent accruing knowledge to work on changing social attitudes, wasted.

He doesn't realize the rich practice socialism every day, they just call it capitalism. When one spreads the risk over a pool of applicants to decrease risk of financial loss in business, it's socialism; the same concept, applied to government, is attacked as socialism.

I'm sick of choosing cottage cheese and gas, or a sensible meal. I'm sick of the games privileged academics play with the poor, even our GLB brothers and sisters play games at the poor's expense. Although I would welcome it, least I haven't had the privilege being taught by a transgendered in person higher or lower ed--gender studies or not, and I'm sick of textbooks which always pathologize my family.

Joe Solmonese must go. We need new collaborative leadership willing to take unpopular stands, declare war (and I don't use the phrase lightly, war is a last resort), on the religious right, and stop pandering to special interests while aggrandizing only HRC. His bio only proves they need a competent webmaster. I'm quite willing to step up as part of the leadership team. What about those at Bilerico? Rebecca, you would be a fine choice, Bil? Alex? The time has come for a new paradigm.

I don't need pity, I don't need palliatives, I need a network, I need money, and I need human resources. Sadly, these things appear to be in short supply, even within our community.

They will never take my marriage from me, law or no law. The bond made that day is an unbreakable object. I spend many nights awake so my husband does not have to. I make the sacrifice willingly because I would die for him. This, bond, no person can put asunder. We will all have the freedom to marry one day, if I survive long enough to have something to say about it.

Patricia, I think the passage of Prop 8 is a wake up call that we need to be going on the offensive, rather than reacting to the right. I think we've got a fucked up sense of priorities, and I think that the right is just going to keep outspending us if we keep marriage as the singular focus of our movement.

I haven't been living in a cave but with all this support and backing from so called " Christian institutions" doesn't that violate the separation of church and state?
My partner and I have been on the receiving end of Hate for decades and know full well the token supported we thought we had from so called friends was conditional. But was even more disheartening is the lack of support we received from the so called " Gay Community". It would be inspiring to see and experience a resurgence of demanding our place at the table. We are show the same Menu, given the illusion that access to all meals are available, the prices are the same but when we place our order, what we get is not what we ordered but Left overs from some else meal.

I am really pissed about this.

Jerry, your question is right on the money. Probably most of the church organizations you mention are in flagrant violation of the IRS regulation that requires them to stay out of politics if they want to keep their tax-exempt status.

I wrote about this in a blog item a couple of months ago. It used to be that the IRS would take away a religious-right org's tax-exempt status after a history of flagrant violations, as they did with Jerry Falwell's Moral Majority. But these days the IRS has buckled -- they allowed the Christian Coalition to keep theirs. It has sent a message to the rest of them out there -- many of which have distributed voter guides, made speeches from the pulpit and done other kinds of direct political activity.

I don't say that churches shouldn't participate in politics. But if they do, they should pay taxes like the rest of us. The free ride that they're getting from the IRS puts an extra burden on you and me. If these masses of religious orgs paid taxes, the extra money would probably cover the government deficit. You betcha.

Patricia, what always seems to me to be the most challenging is getting the opposition to understand the logic and reality of OUR perspective without all this hoodoo. I have learned that Law and It's enforcement can often depend on which way the wind is blowing on any given day. Knowing who lurks in the shadows and why the Truth is often clocked in Fear is part of our prospecting for our wholeness as Citizens. Three steps forward, two steps back seem to part of building on a solid foundation, however much patience it takes. I discovered this quote that at times gives me a perspective when the going gets rough, Thanks for your thoughts.

"Patience is a bitter plant that produces sweet fruit." -- Charles Swindoll

It won't just be the ultra-conservative opposition. It'll also be the fake-centrist opposition, and the Democratic Congress. I think we'll see that that organization will have finally found its spine, after 8 years of Bush, and will resist the Obama administration on pretty much everything.