On November 4th the next President of the United States is not the only important issue voters in California, Arizona, and Florida will be voting on. Voters in these three states will ultimately determine the fate of marriage equality for their gay and lesbian citizens when they head to the polls in less than 40 days. Of the three states California is the only state where gays and lesbians are treated equally under the law and are currently provided with full marriage equality.
Recent polls show 54% of Californians oppose Propisition 8, the discriminatory law that would ultimately ban same-sex marriage in the state, while 40% support the ban.
Both sides are aware of what's at stake on November 4th. The gay rights movement will without a doubt face a major setback if we lose, but the culture war as defined by Christian evangelicals over the past 30 years will certainly implode.
Activists on both sides are reaching out to voters to support their position, specifically African-American voters who are religious and traditionally vote against gay rights. One harder demographic to convince is young people between ages 18-35.That's where California's anti-gay marriage opponents step in with iProtectMarriage, a website designed to inform voters of "the truth" about gay marriage.
As I was perusing the website I began to wonder if it had been created by Karl Rove and the team of bigots responsible for making gay marriage a wedge issue in 2004 to scare voters into re-electing George Bush, as most of the language was straight out of the Republican playbook. But things got even scarier when two black females popped up on my screen to answer this question.
Do you think that interracial marriage in the 50's and 60's is equal to the struggle of same sex marriage today?
Black Puppet #1 "I get offended when people compare my ethnicity to the way that people act when they're gay, I was born this way. In and out I'm African-American. Nobody can change that. I can't even change that. Now people who are gay go through counseling all the time and through that counseling they get results. I can't be counseled out of my blackness, there's no way you can change that. So being gay and being African-American and the struggles in between them both are not the same."
Black Puppet #2 "I am offended at someone saying that me being black is the same as someone else being gay. I was born into my ethnicity, my race, so it's not something that I can change, it's not something that I can be counseled out of. Being gay is a choice; it's a lifestyle, it's not pre-determined. It's outrageous to me that anyone would try to compare an interracial marriage to a gay marriage. It's absolutely ridiculous and it offends me."
A recent NY Times article went to great lengths to predict that if Proposition 8 passes in November it will be because of huge black voter turnout for Barack Obama. If it sounds like a stretch then that's because it is. But the right-wing is counting on black folks to show why we've earned our reputation for being virulently homophobic by siding with them on Prop 8 and bolstering their chances of success. The same group of people whose moral compass throughout history has led them to oppose almost all legislation that would have advanced the civil rights of blacks in this country. Oh how quickly we forget about the sting of oppression when our civil rights as a minority are no longer up for the popular vote. It doesn't matter who was oppressed first or who was oppressed the longest, the point is no group should be oppressed.
It's embarrassing to see black folks and especially black clergy rally together with those who could care less about the real problems facing the black community but always seem to show up when they need a black face to further their cause. And like the good God-fearing Christians we are we agree to be their puppets for their bigoted crusade to take away the rights of another minority.
This could be an entire post all by itself so I'm gonna keep this short and sweet because I've written about this topic numerous times over the past couple of years and it always gets my blood boiling. Allow me to point out a few grim realities for those who truly believe that homosexuality is a choice. I'm sure if the lives of these men and women weren't taken by people who wanted to play God they would tell you otherwise. So tell me again when you chose to become a heterosexual? And when did it become honorable to vote to strip another American of their civil rights based on your prejudice?