Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Take a look at Z

Rehashing what went wrong with Prop 8 last fall has been a popular topic for many writers and bloggers. It can get boring. But it is important to look at what others are saying and find out who is really cutting to the quick.

For example, there are those who like to blame others for Prop 8’s outcome. I must admit, I have been one to play the blame game, and by that I mean blaming someone other than the lesbigay community for the falter. Blame the religious blacks, or the Mormons, or whatever. But I must agree with what Michael Bronski wrote in the January issue of Z Magazine: It’s out fault. Period. (Sorry I don’t have a link to the article because the online version of Z Magazine is available to subscribers only; the archived article will be available later)

One issue Bronski highlighted was the frequent citing of Loving v. Virginia in the argument for same-sex marriage, a Supreme Court decision I have mentioned from time to time as well. First, this is what Bronski wrote:

“Another blunder was the constant recitation that the fight for same-sex marriage was exactly like the fight for interracial marriage that was won by Loving v. Virginia – an essentially false comparison that must have been difficult for many African Americans to hear and was not useful in trying to present the question of same-sex marriage (a moral issue for many people) in a civil rights context.”

This is a good point to keep in mind. While I have used the Loving case in previous blog posts, my context was different. Rather than trying to use Loving as a template for same-sex marriage, I was ferreting out text from the decision I saw as applicable. The issue of interracial marriage prohibitions and that of banning same-sex marriage are fundamentally different. They share certain arguments, but each circumstance if undoubtedly different.

The Loving case can play a role in our argument, but it cannot be a substitution for our argument. And Bronski is right to differentiate that interracial marriage is a civil rights issue, whereas same-sex marriage is a moral issue for many, regardless of how badly we might wish it to be purely about civil rights.

Something else that caught my attention in Bronski’s piece was his exposition regarding Barack Obama. Take a look at this quote.

“In the last days of the campaign the group Protect-Marriage.com distributed flyers with a photograph of Barack Obama quoting him as being against same-sex marriage, which was true. But Obama had also stated that he was against state-wide referendums to decide the issue and was specifically against Prop 8.”

Bronski, I believe, is trying to portray the use of Obama’s statement by Protect-Marriage.com as being disingenuous because they didn’t include the other facts. But I disagree. Think about it. On one hand, you say you are against same-sex marriage. Then, on the other hand, you say you are against an effort to ban such marriages? How can that make sense? And that raises another issue. Just how much of an ally is Barack Obama? How can you be against enacting laws that ban same-sex marriage and be against such marriages as well? It doesn’t wash, and Protect-Marriage.com was well within the sphere of legitimate use of his statement in its campaign.

Face it folks: until he says something different, Obama does not support equal marriage rights for us. He cannot oppose efforts to ban same-sex marriage and simultaneously be against same-sex marriage. It’s one or the other.

The problem is I believe Obama thinks that civil unions will be an acceptable answer. But he’s wrong. Civil unions weaken marriage. Allowing same-sex marriage does not weaken marriage. Obama really needs to ready David Myers’ book.

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