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Monday, November 10, 2008

Passage of Prop. 8 in California catalyzes nationwide protests and resistance

It is now very clear that Proposition 8 was approved by California voters by a margin of 4.6%. This ballot proposition reclassifies gay and lesbian Californians as second-class citizens by reinstating a ban on same-sex marriages that was ruled unconstitutional by the California Supreme Court in May of 2008. This ban effectively withholds over one thousand special rights, responsibilities and privileges from up to 10% of the state's population. It is legally unclear whether the proposition will retroactively annul the tens of thousands of same-sex marriages that have been performed since the court decision that legalized them. It is also legally unclear whether the proposition will withstand numerous legal challenges that have already been filed against it.

The proposition passed with no small amount of financial and volunteer help from Christian extremists, many of whom, such as the Mormons in Utah and the all-male [wink] Roman Catholic hierarchy in the Vatican City, reside far beyond California's borders. Local nondenominational megachurches in California also contributed money and volunteer time to legally attacking the human rights of their own neighbors. If you'd like to know whether anybody in your hometown abetted this latest example of tyranny of the majority that will permanently stain American history books, you can search this database by specific name or browse a list of contributors by state and/or city. Hmmm, it appears that a John Templeton, Jr of Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, president of the Templeton Foundation, felt so strongly in favor of persecuting gay and lesbian families in California that he donated a honking $450,000 twice. Must have a been a good year for him.

In GLBT communities across the United States, reaction to the passage of this punitive and ambiguously worded proposition has been unexpectedly swift, assertive, widespread, and well attended. The international press has even taken notice. Protesters appear to be focusing their resistance on the Christian extremists who made this theft of human rights their latest crusade in a long, ultimately unsuccessful series of reactionary attempts to force those whose behavior they take issue with because it violates some of their superstitions to live the way they do.

If you'd like to protest Proposition 8 yourself, you are invited to make a big creative sign and go to your local city hall, Mormon temple, or Roman Catholic cathedral basilica this Saturday, November 15 for a national day of protest. You can find specific information about any planned protests in your hometown here. In California the demonstrations began spontaneously immediately after the results became known and continue to this day, especially in the gay-friendly areas of West LA and the San Francisco Bay. A protest at the Mormon temple in Manhattan, NY also attracted thousands on Wednesday, November 12.

If public demonstrations aren't your thing but you still want to express your feelings about this perversion of democracy, you can chat with a Mormon missionary online. Fun questions to ask might include, "Which version of traditional marriage is most traditional, the one where there is one woman and one man or the one where there is one man and as many girls and women as the man can afford or keep captive?" Or, "Why do you hate gay people and want to steal their human rights and dignity when Jesus said to love everybody as you would yourself?" You can also feel free to boycott the states of California and Utah, the former being much more difficult than the latter.

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