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Learning from California Being Scared of Love (Prop 8)

sfprotest.jpgToday the California Supreme Court upheld a decision on Prop 8, in other words banning gay marriage (existing 18,000 same sex couple marriages stand), in California.

Apart from thinking along the lines of, 'Hello, California! You might like to join the rest of us in 2009 sometime; until then you have no right to call yourself a progressive state. You disgust me', I came across this quote on the Day of Decision:

"No civil rights movement has EVER lost. Never. It is not a matter of if our community will win full equal rights, including marriage. It is only a matter of when. But as in all civil rights movements, we will have to fight like hell for it."

-Robin Tyler, petitioner-case to overturn prop 8

That quote says it all, and perhaps something that deaf people can take heart from and remember. Civil rights battles are never lost, they are eventually won. Just don't get burnt out on the way (anyone who's been there, will be all too familiar). However, for a battle to be won, it needs to be fought. Apathy and fear of challenging the status quo will not get you anywhere: you'll be in the same place decades from now. Think about it, and don't place the work in the hands of a few.

Any discrimination is discrimination, and it impacts everyone. Even if you can tick off majority status for every box, be it ethnic background, age, sex, sexuality and abled bodied. To tolerate discrimination around you, lacks humility plus respect to fellow human beings.

Intolerance of the other and inequality does not just hurt individuals, but whole communities or even societies. And if you're so shallow just to think in terms of money: it hurts that too.

Its activists and people who challenge the status quo everywhere, who change the tide. No-one has ever changed the world nor progressed by towing the line. You should think about lending your support, don't let a few carry that burden for what is ultimately everyone's benefit. Be visible.

Photo credit: bobster855 under Creative Commons

Comments (12)

Allison --

Thanks for these words -- very true. A matter of when, not if....

I hadn't read the newspaper this morning, so I didn't know about the news on the Calif. supreme court -- it is a setback for civil rights, but when we're seeing other states moving toward same-sex marriage, we can feel reasonably confident that sooner or later, it will become a reality.

Meanwhile, we Deaf need to keep fighting on, and fighting off burnout....

@Don - I only picked it up on because of Twitter (bit difficult to ignore trending topics) plus via friends on Facebook. CA surprises me, yet a state like Iowa is more progressive.

There's some parallel lessons around jurisprudence here too, am thinking the States has just repeated Plessy v. Ferguson. Whilst the court wanted to pass the ball back to the electorate, ultimately this is always about interpretation.

Another lesson for us, we need to pursue law more. Deaf law as a discipline, and what we traditionally label as disability discrimination is only one small element.

This is what I just said on someone's thread on Facebook:

"Can't help think of jurisprudence here, Plessy against Brown. Shared moral code against freedom being the most important thing for humans. The problem with the former, it drags in a subjectiveness test ... and with that, minority rights always always get squashed (how do you turn a tide)?

Bottom line, this is individual rights of a very private nature. I fail to see the argument why the world and its bloody dog (excuse me people, I'm British) thinks its entitled to have an opinion over others. If noone is harming another, so what?"

Deaf parallels here, aplenty.

It is not simply a question of when, and all that blah.

It is question of wanting your rights NOW, while you are ALIVE, HERE to ENJOY them. Justice will only be served when I can enjoy my rights NOW. When I can participate in society NOW, NOT TOMORROW. TODAY!

While it is true, that civil rights do, EVENTUALLY, come, and that we need to FIGHT for them, the collateral damage is that, people who live, HERE and NOW, may miss out on the fruits of their struggle, so their lives are a testament to WHAT EXACTLY?

I'm currently reading Germain Greer's THE MADWOMAN'S UNDERLCOTHES, Essays & Occassional Writings, 1968 - 1985, and boy is she smart. Her essay, "On Population, and Women's Right To Choose", makes a few salient points about civil rights struggles.

I'm not trivialising the civil rights struggles, but the majoirty or ruling elite, just continually put barriers towards our advancement, because it suits thier purposes.

They deign to serve us our rights, peicemeal!

@Tony - I agree with you. That's the kind of message that needs to be given to the wider community that wouldn't know what discrimination was, if it slapped them across the face. They do need to be told of history too - thus a waste of time going against a tide. Otherwise, they are going to look really stupid a few years from now (think of racial segregation in the States, and cases which upheld this).

However, the message above .... its an extremely vaild one, for those fighting civil rights. Sometimes its so easy to think you're never going to get anywhere. The message gives one of hope, don't ever give up. That message was aimed at people who read GOD, they're more than likely to be activists of some description, or at least budding ones.

Thanks for the tip re Greer's book, will try and get around to reading.

My sympathy for gays and my support for "gay marriage" have been diminished because I've seen of gay sex in public in San Francisco during a street fair, and several pictures on other medical magazine of gay men's infected anus (gay gut syndrome). Lack of restraint, promiscuity, recklessness.

Ridor- Are you serious what you said about gay marriage or someone else use your trademark name - Observe But Do Not Interfere ?


Brilliant logic.

On the basis of your argument, I've seen straight people having sex. Straight people feature in medical journals because they have STDs. Straight people lack of restraint, think about all those films you see on tv! They rip each other's clothes off. OMG! How could they? And its even broadcast! Terrible, innit? Straight people have one night stands. Shocking. So, so reckless.

Thus universally, no straight person should be allowed to marry.

On the basis of your excellent opinion above, and applying this to straight people, I'll relinguish my right to marry immediately. Thanks!

I voted against prop 8 but agree with the Supreme Court on this. Their job is to uphold the constitution, which was legally changed by proposition 8. If they were to overturn proposition 8 they'd be directly conflicting with Democracy and the limited powers granted to them by the constitution. The last thing that we need is a Supreme Court that is more powerful than all of its citizens combined.

Go to Canada if you want queer so-called "gay" marriage. Get a civil union. I voted for prop 8 because I don't condone your lifestyle. I couldn't care less if you get benefits or not, it's about you trying to legitimize queer sexual behavior. Quit forcing your lifestyle on me. I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman, and the majority of voters(who voted) agree. That's the democratic way. Only 17% of voters even bothered, yet I would bet over 90% of so-called "gays" voted. Which means that you lost to only a few of the people who even bothered to vote. That ought to tell you your ways are NOT ok with the rest of us. Stay in your closets, please, you disgust us.

Same IP address for "DeafOIC", "Seekgeo", "Observe but do not interfere". Hmm, you voted? CA extends to Mississauga, ON now, via Rogers Cable? Whatever. You're coming across as a coward. If you're going to spread hate and do some trolling to boot, then at least have the guts to use your real name.

To humour you. The problem with asking the majority to vote, against minority rights: the minority is always going to lose out. Or at least in the short term, in some cases we could be waiting around forever.

Hypothetically, if it was put it to vote, should deaf people be disallowed to sign (must all have a CI and learn to speak). Lets ask everyone out there, to see what they think. Its not rocket science that deaf people are in a minority, and the majority are clueless hearing people who have never met a deaf person in their life. So lets have clueless hearing people vote on this issue, who will probably think: its normal to hear the birds! Let those poor, poor deaf people have medical intervention, because we are helping them and saving them from xyz.

Vote predictably comes back: all deaf people are to have CIs. Deaf people don't like it! Think, hey this is my body, my private life! Take the case to the Supreme Court, and say: hey, this violates fundamental rights! Supreme court says no, we can't go against the majority vote / the citizens. They changed the constitution. Tough.

So, how would you feel?

The second problem, is you've asked people to vote on taking away the rights of others. Why is this of public concern? Voting on say, taxation rates or a level of govt is a public entity. Marriage really is not.

As I understand it, the constitution there for a reason, to guarantee fundamental rights.

This vote was on the CA state constitution. Here you've put it to vote to shrink the rights of a constitution. That I find really, really odd and disturbing. And within contracting the constitution, you're making people unequal. I really didn't think that was the ideals of the American dream, creating two classes of people.

When constitutions are amended, they are usually to extend rights, not take these away - which creates a dangerous ground, anyone could set up a random hate campaign against a particular class of people and suddenly exclude them. cf. Jewish people in Germany under the Nazi regime.

And I totally agree I'm forcing *my* lifestyle onto people, since I happen to like men (I'm female). Goodness! All those straight images out there, think of all those dvds where a man kisses a woman! You've even got to pass straight wedding shops in the street too! White dresses! The likes of me really must be shoving shit down other people's throats, by prescribing to a majority. I can only apologise, I'm really sorry. I hope you find it in your heart to forgive me.

There's a paradox within your words, because you ask people to "quit forcing your lifestyle onto me" when you are doing precisely the same thing yourself! If you want something to happen, then you've got to practice what you preach. Telling gay people what they can or cannot do in private, is not respectful. Is your name God, perchance? No its not, thus what gives telling other people what to do, with their own body, identity, and what happens in a private space. Marriage is an incredibly personal and private contract, and if two people love each other, its quite frankly none of your business.

Genuine question: are you really so bored that you must troll this thread? Go for a walk! Fresh air is good for you. And be nice by respecting your fellow citizens would be totally cool too. Life is hard enough, there's zero need to add more anguish. :)

Just come across this GOD website for the first time. Great stuff!

I was at the protest for "Say No to PROP 8 Court decision" in SF. The supreme court upheld it saying that the constitution could not be amended due to majority voting but said that the 18,000 gay marriages are legal. There are now new legal battles to try and get the court decision rescinded as it goes against equality and fairness as well as being against LGBT as a minority group. Amazing but confusing decision. We shall see what happens next.

There are still a few civil rights issues facing LBGT in USA other than Marriage Equality (here people generally are taking about Civil Marriages not Religious Marriages) - DADT & DOMA,, etc discriminate against LGBT people. President. Obama said last Monday at Stonewall 40 gathering that he will work towards repealing these (daft) laws and better LGBT civil rights.

At this time there are many deaf LGBT bi-national couples, did you know? I am one of them who cannot live with their American partners because we cannot apply for green cards on the same basis as straight/married people! There are estimated to be about 40,000 binational couples in USA who cannot live together permanently unless one is lucky to have a job there.

Uniting American Families Act UAFA was introduced in Feb 2009, and many of us are trying to get support from the Senators and Reps to co-sponsor the Bill. If passed it will allow the American same- sex partner to sponsor their loved ones to apply for the Green Card/permanent residency. Did you know that the Bush presidency rejected 6 such Bills during the 8 years of power?

What I am trying to say here - please give LBGT people (deaf and hearing) anywhere in the USA/ world a chance to become truly equal citizens wherever they live without fear, discrimination, religious bigotry, and cruelty.

Many countries actually kill and/or hurt LGBT people because of their sexuality.......

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