THE BLOG
12/08/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Scapegoating and Proposition 8

I am sad that Proposition 8 has passed. I am not sad for myself, but for others who wanted this legal definition of their unions.

As far as anger? It's tough for me to be angry about this decision when I didn't do much to help fight it.

Yes, I wrote a blog for the Huffington Post a few days before the election, but I didn't make calls. I didn't go door to door. I didn't put myself out there in order to help people understand the truth and not be swayed by fear tactics, lies and false advertising.

How can I possibly be angry about something I did so little to help prevent?

Unlike other friends of mine, I have not begun referring to myself as a second-class citizen and I don't plan to. This is despite the fact that most Californians clearly care more about the treatment of animals (Proposition 2 passed by a huge margin) than they do other human beings.

Perhaps I should magically transform myself into a chicken, cow or a pig in order to enjoy stronger legal rights where I live.

I understand we had a civil right for a few months, and this vote took it away. I fully submit that my perspective on this issue will be the complete opposite of gay men and women who have been in successful partnerships for years and have created loving families. My life experience thus far has been that I have not been in a position to even consider a domestic partnership or civil union, let alone marriage.

For all I have heard about gay marriage, I have not seen a clear and comprehensive document that shows me what marriage offers that domestic partnership does not.

As I was editing this blog, I read Harvey Fierstein's post where he states a comparative point: the IRS doesn't legitimize domestic partnerships and that can cost gays and lesbians tax dollars.

I don't mean to belittle the economic situation in our country right now, and I am absolutely for equal protection and civil rights for everyone under the law -- but is that it? Is that why we need the marriage right so badly? Tax dollars?

Call me crazy, but if Harvey Fierstein is going to use taxes as his best example it's not strong enough and seems way lower on the totem pole than any issue in my next paragraph.

To the best of my knowledge, the passage of Proposition 8 did not strip gays of their rights to domestic partnerships, being a foster parent or raising children. It did not strip gays of any current protections they have in terms of employment or housing. It did not strip gays of the right to visit their ill partners in the hospital.

Frankly, what has happened in California does not sound nearly as threatening or scary as what is going on in Florida. In that state, the constitutional amendment actually questions the form of any civil union, which could lead to the revocation of all protections provided to domestic partnerships.

It was thrilling on a certain level to participate in one of the marches throughout Hollywood in the last couple of days, but I agree that there is some "sore loser" behavior going on.

I'm hearing from more than a few, more politically active people than I, that the No on Prop 8 campaign was highly disorganized. Furthermore, it appears the majority of the gay community was complacent and left it to others to do the work.

As I marched, I wondered how many people in the crowds were active and did something before the vote. Why did it take the vote passing for them to make such a fuss? Where were the rallies and demonstrations that stopped traffic and got the word out before Election Day? I was seeing television commercials for "Yes on Prop 8" weeks before I saw any "No On Prop 8" rebuttals turn up.

By no means am I saying that homophobes, religious zealots and crazy, irrational people are absolved of any blame. As I said in my last blog, there is inherent homophobia involved when it comes to the organizations behind Proposition 8.

However, it troubles me that instead of taking responsibility for our actions both as individuals and part of the whole, we're looking for scapegoats and pointing fingers at everyone but ourselves.

It's the Mormons! It's the Blacks! It's their churches! It's Barack Obama -- he didn't come out strong enough! The Proposition is written in a confusing way! People thought "yes" meant "no"!

I'd been concerned about that last one myself in the weeks leading up to the Election. People kept asking me, "It's No on 8, right?" Post election, I am still hearing phrases from gays like "You voted for Prop 8, right?"

A man I know made several phone calls in order to get out the vote and was dismayed to find that several people he called -- many claiming to be liberals -- were "confused" and thought that if they voted "Yes" on Prop 8, they were actually voting to allow gays and lesbians to keep the right to marry.

In other words, "yes means no" and "no means yes."

I understand that "yes" is a word that by definition means "affirmative" or that you are "for" something, while "no" is word that means you are "against" something.

Even so, I honestly don't know what to make of this "confusion." The only way a person could be confused is because they're ill-informed, not paying attention or -- I'll just say it -- flat out stupid!

The "confused" are essentially saying they never saw a television commercial for either side, never read anything in a newspaper, saw nothing on the Internet, got nothing from radio or other media regarding the measure and have no gay people in their lives.

That means they have to be living under the proverbial rock. If that is the case, how did they even know about this proposition to begin with?

I told someone about this phenomenon and he got all 'conspiracy theorist' on me. He insisted that because California is a "blue, leftist, liberal" state, this vote should have gone in favor of gays. He feels liberals actually double-crossed gays and lesbians by using the excuse of "I wasn't clear" as a way of trying to eliminate guilt for not voting against Prop 8.

I responded that California may be "blue" but that does not equate to liberal or leftist. It equates to Democratic. Furthermore, anyone calling themselves a liberal, who knowingly voted for this discriminatory measure, is not a liberal. If they're referring to themselves as one, they had best stop immediately!

It ultimately comes down to having two eyes and a brain when you're in the voting booth.

On my sample ballot and the official ballot I was given at my polling place, the description of Proposition 8 clearly says, in all caps, "ELIMINATES RIGHT OF SAME-SEX COUPLES TO MARRY."

What on earth is confusing about that?

Despite how I feel on this issue, I am not looking for a scapegoat. I don't think anybody who didn't go door to door or make phone calls should be pointing high and mighty fingers at anyone but themselves.

I acknowledge that I did little or next to nothing to help. The election of Barack Obama and the passage of Prop 8 have galvanized me, though, and I won't make the same mistake twice. I plan to participate now.

The people voted. We were off by a little over 500,000 votes. This is democracy at work. Let's not be sore losers and just get to work on the repeal. It will happen.