Wednesday, November 04, 2009

I don’t have time for this

I don’t have time for this. This is the busiest week of the month for me, and I have a lot of work to do, so I don’t have time for a blog post. But that’s not what I’m talking about: I just don’t have time for the bullshit anymore. Tonight Maine repealed marriage equality.

This came about because our opponents ran a campaign filled with lies and distortions made possible by millions of dollars in out-of-state contributions. This came about because of out-of-state agitators organised by a prominent national organisation quietly backed by the Mormons.

The people fighting for our side were brilliant: They ran a strong grassroots campaign involving thousands of ordinary Maine folks who made phone calls, went door-to-door and did all they could to keep equality in Maine. However, they had one major handicap: They were in the reality-based world where facts and reason matter, something our opponents know little about, but, apparently, didn’t need to.

Our opponents played on people’s fears, as they always do. They played on people’s ignorance, as they always do. They played on people’s prejudice and hatred, as they always do. And for good measure they just made stuff up, as they always do. Our side couldn’t match the millions of dollars the right’s churches collected to promote the lies and hatred, so it was always an uphill fight.

It’s time to make one thing abundantly clear: Our opponents don’t have a minor disagreement with us—they hate us. It’s not the word “marriage” they have a problem with—it’s that we have any rights whatsoever.

In California, they claimed their problem was with “activist judges” (a term they only use when they disagree with a ruling). If “the people” don’t enact it, it’s not legitimate, they said. Then when Maine’s elected legislature enacted marriage equality, and its elected Governor signed it into law, the religious extremists tripped all over themselves to repeal the law the people’s representatives had enacted. Apparently, by “the people” the religious extremists meant only themselves.

In doing so, the religious extremists glossed over the gross immorality of the majority ever being allowed to vote on the rights of the minority, as if it’s ever proper for voters to decide who has full equality and who does not.

Maine’s governor—who formerly opposed same-sex marriage—was a strong advocate. So were many other prominent Mainers. But the national Democratic Party, including President Obama, were absent. The president issued a mild, vague statement but never said, “vote NO”.

The mainstream news media failed miserably. They treated it as an interesting, possibly significant, curiosity. They never once called out the religious bigots on their lies; maybe they’re too frightened of them.

Still, despite all that, we'll win because we’re on the right side of history. Those who oppose us will be remembered like the famous bigots of the near past—Thurmond, Wallace, and so on—and that day is fast approaching.

So, I refuse to give up on America. Despite all the hate, despite all the money and power being deployed against us, despite the evil being done in the name of their god, I know we will win. I have that hope because America gave it to me as a birthright. I have that hope because generations of Americans have fought and died to nurture it. I have that hope because at this moment, all across America, millions of people are hanging their heads in sadness or shame over how GLBT people are being treated—again. I have hope because, as the president once said, “In the unlikely story that is America, there is nothing false about hope.”

An activist friend suggested the song in the video at the top of this post as an antidote for those filled with sadness from this defeat. I love how very gay it is to take courage from a song by Liza—Judy’s daughter—but I also love the sentiment.

This isn’t the end: It’s just the beginning. We will win—if not tomorrow, then the day after that.


liminalD said...

Beautifully said.

Mark from Slap said...

Well put, Arthur.

Moosep and Buddy Rabbit said...


d said...

I, unfortunately, have given up on America. :-P

Also - why do those churches still have tax exemptions?!?!?

liminalD said...


Maybe we need to bring back some sort of pagan male-fertility cult thing and declare ourselves a church to claim tax exemption?

Roger Owen Green said...

Rally in Albany, NY Monday, Nov 9 6 pm near State Capitol in favor of civil unions in NYS, in anticipation of a vote on Tuesday by the State legislature.

I WILL be there, FWIW.

Anonymous said...

You're right Arthur, we will win, because history is on our side.

Here in the UK, there's - IMHO - a brill campaign from Stonewall, lots of posters saying "Some people are gay - get over it". I can't think of a better mindset or slogan.