Brynn Craffey

Bittersweet Victory

Filed By Brynn Craffey | November 05, 2008 8:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: election results, marriage equality, Prop. 8

For California's LGBT residents, last night's historic election victory is a bittersweet one.

At the same time that Barack Obama's amazing victory was being proclaimed, it become clear that Proposition 8 was headed to victory. Bigotry went down to defeat on one front even as it triumphed on another. I drifted off to sleep listening to election coverage around 1:00 a.m., and I deliberately did not try to find out the latest Prop 8 figures, holding on to hope that it might still lose when San Francisco and Los Angeles precincts were finally tallied.

I woke up this morning to the devastating news: with 95% of votes counted, a historically high turnout of California voters, by a margin of approximately 4-6 percent, chose to stick it to the LGBT community.

Proponents of Prop 8 can go on and on about how they're actually "fine with teh gay, but it's just marriage that should belong to them, alone." I heard someone on the radio say essentially that this morning, adding for good measure that it's to "protect teh children." The lack of logic in such a statement is simply staggering. "We're fine with you, but we're voting to take away your rights--and enshrine that inequality in the state constitution--ensuring that you and your children will remain forever second-class citizens."

If this is "fine," what is "not fine?" Is what they're saying code for, "We'll agree most of the time not to throw you in jail or lynch you for being gay, and you should damned well be grateful, because that's all you're going to get. Oh, and don't forget, you're going to burn in hell"?

I am so angry! And also sick at heart. I can try to console myself by saying that these selfish, ignorant bigots are fighting the tide of history--after all, we now live in a world where Catholic Spain, fer crissakes, has same-sex marriage. And I can hope that the proposition will be challenged in the Federal Supreme Court--where, with a President Obama in office, we have a chance to win we wouldn't have if McCain had won and been set to chose replacements for Ruth Bader Ginsberg, John Paul Stevens, and David Souter.

But for some reason, these thoughts are not comforting me this morning. I look out my living-room window and see the "Yes on 8" sign on my neighbor's balcony across the street, and it feels so damned personal. "What's the matter with you?!" I want to shout. "Why are you so incredibly selfish, hateful and ignorant?"

It's ironic that this "f**k you," from 52% of California voters comes when I'm taking the next three days off from work to hang out with my daughter, visiting from where she lives in France. LGBTQ folks will NOT quit loving, having and adopting children, and forming long-lasting, strong, and healthy families. It's just that we will do so while paying taxes for benefits we never receive, subject to laws which treat us more harshly than our straight neighbors, and reviled and targeted by some of those very same neighbors who, illogically, regard us and our families as the threats.

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Must say that I so agree with the anger and frustration here. I've just been so struck by the irony of the evening -- taking away rights of queer folks while at the same time stepping beyond the racial divide in the presidential vote. There is much in this that makes little sense to me. Yet the message of second-class citizenship is clear.

(I tried to post this over at Huffington Post where I saw your article, but just in case it gets censored, I thought you'd enjoy it. And actually, I'm serious).

Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Prop 8, Part duex
I actually have a good idea about how to finish off this whole "gay marriage" issue once and for all.

The gay groups should get a petition circulating, get signatures to put on the ballot for the next election, a proposition (hopefully call it Prop 8 if possible). The language of the proposition would be exactly the same as the current Prop 8, except that everywhere it says the word "homosexual," they should instead use the word "mormon." The proposition would "change" the constitution to prohibit mormons from marrying.

Yes, I know, I know, some people will argue that mormons are citizens too, that they work and pay taxes, they are often good neighbors -- but that's just not enough anymore to earn the constitutional right to marriage. I think we need to really raise the bar. Why should every Jane and John Schmoe be able to get married just because they pass a blood test? Why not set some standards. And let's start by banning mormon marriages.

Anyway, just the act of circulating the petition would be a terrific fund-raiser, educational tool, and lots of fun. And personally, I think it would pass. When you think about two mormons kissing each other -- yuck. Or going to bed, getting naked. The whole thing makes me sick to my stomach. And do we really want them raising children? I suspect there are a lot of citizens who may secretly share my views.

So if somebody else wants to get the petition going, I'll be the first to sign. Maybe I'll even kick in a dollar to fund it.

Californian | November 5, 2008 9:31 PM

The Prop 8 vote was extremely disappointing.

Personally, I've been feeling today (Wed. Nov. 5) more troubled by Prop 8 than celebratory about Obama. The Obama win, while glorious, was expected. Prop 8, by contrast, could have gone either way. I had so hoped for its defeat.

Some good news is that 52% voting to oppress us is better than the 61% who voted to oppress us in 2000. I'm confident the overall favorable trend will continue. We have truth and reality on our side.

Victory? More like Not-Completely-Bad Loss.

Funny how you people sacrifice developments on the community for mere partisan victories.


All gay people in California, who can afford to do so should go on strike. They should ask their allies to support them by going on strike also.

Shut down something important. It's too bad we don't pick vegetables or fruit. Chavez and his farm workers had more political pull than we seem to have.

Boycott California cheese, make a California cow unhappy.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | November 6, 2008 3:26 AM

The victory of the bigots in California, Florida and Arizona is the price the GLBT movement paid for the partisan diversion created by supporters of Obama and the Democratic Party. Intentionally or not, they temporarily derailed the movement.

But this is the day after, and all that nonsense is behind us.

Obama's bigotry - ‘gods in the mix' - was the primary reason we lost in all three states. It went unchallenged by GLBT groups affiliated with the Democrat Party, and it galvanized and emboldened the bigots who came out in droves. We suffered terrible defeats, demoralizing defeats.

There is however, no need for pessimism. Obama is going to continue and expand the war and we're going to continue and expand the antiwar movement. It’s an unwinnable war and we’ll defeat the oil war without a doubt.

Obama was elected with the full support, financial and political, of the Wall Street retards that wrecked the economy. He'll impose more cuts in social service and other austerity measures. We'll oppose him, principally through the unions.

Democrats ought to busy themselves reading histories of the Whig Party and figure out which side they're on.

Don Sherfick Don Sherfick | November 6, 2008 9:37 AM

Brynn, I've noted the outpouring of anger and disappointment concerning the passage of Proposition 8 in a number of postings and threads on Bilerico and elsewhere, and I've chosen to pick yours to put in a modest two cents from one who's about to begin the eighth decade of his life. It will understandably dismissed by many, perhaps most as simply trying to sooth a massive head injury with a low-dose asperin, but here goes anyway:

I remember a day some 22 years ago in 1986 when hopes were very high that the U.S. Supreme Court would overturn sodomy laws. I recall being in another room away from the TV when I heard the announcer indicate something about a ruling, and rushed to the set in anticipation of becoming elated at what I was sure would be a great step forward in the cause of LGBT equality. But I was crushed. In a split decision (Bowers v. Hardwick), the court dealt us a severe setback. I was sick at my somach, depressed for several days, and frankly felt it was all over but the funeral arrangments.

In 2003, in Lawrence v. Texas, the Supreme Court overruled its earlier decision, and my elation easily trumped any memories of that awful period of nearly a generation before. Did that make my earlier disappointment invalid? Hardly. Was it a signal that the road to equality in the future was now assured? Of course not.

My point here is to simply say to those who are rightfully disheartened: Time passes.....all movements for equality have their highs and their lows. But the sun will come up tommorrow, and the currents of history will continue to flow. There is no guarantee of elation tommorrow, or the next day. But there is certainly a guarantee of failure if we lose heart.

If nothing else, all signs are that if nothing else, generational change is on our side. We may disagree with whether or not this or that court appeal may be the wisest as a matter of strategy. Being visible seems to me one of the best ways of continuing to let our fellow citizens see the reality of our inequality.

I will not inflame the situation by merely saying "be patient". But I will say that tommorrow will be another day.

The loss in California is very saddening. We can blame it on bigotry, but we should not shy away from our own responsibility. In any campaign one should take responsibility for failures. Whatever was done by the GLBT leadership to fight this bill did not work as it should. Forget the bigots, what can WE do as a community to improve the way we fight our causes? For example, who did we contact to get on board with us from the heterosexual community who are willing to support the gay cause?

Obama would not have won if white Americans had not come on board. Gay causes will not win unless we get the heterosexual population on board with us. We may have to sacrifice certain causes for now to gain victory in others. It may be tough to hear but is the political reality of this country.

In my country (Iceland) gay unions were legalized 14 years ago. But it took 10 more years to change the adoption laws to include gays and it took until this year to legalize marriage in religious communities. Patience is required for any cause.

Brynn, Now is not the time to become angry or to wallow in self pitty but to restrategize and move forward.I would think if it hasn't been tried yet the first place to begin would be to challenge the legality of all these iniatives on atleast two fronts.First is it or should it be legal to write discrimination into a state level constitution and secondly should churches be allowed to force religious morality into law? Doesn't the Constitution promise protection from the majority to the minority especially from those who would persecute them on religious grounds? Another avenue is if they can write Constitutional amendments so can we and so shall we.

Californian | November 6, 2008 5:43 PM

Don Sherfick: LOVE you post!!! I hope it gets passed around.

The 1986/2003 Supreme Court decisions are an excellent analogy. I hope, however, that the reversal of Prop 8 doesn't take 17 years.

In the meantime, there are many bright signs in the northeastern states...and we have 47-48% of California voters feeling utterly appalled right now.

This defeat will not be forgotten, and will not be for naught.

There's much to say about revamping the strategy on these initiatives and starting to focus on queer families instead of abstract equality messages, like you point out in your post, Brynn. I hope this becomes a teachable moment, and then, like Don said, an eventual victory like in Lawrence.