SkepticblogSkepticblog logo banner

top navigation:

War of the Words: Fear and Hate Behind Proposition 8

by Kirsten Sanford, Nov 07 2008

First, I want to point out a great post on the Daily Kos regarding the accuracy of exit poll data. I’ve seen several stories citing AP exit poll data about the predominance of blacks voting for Proposition 8. While it’s certainly fine to cite the data, the unreliability of the information should be mentioned as well. A bit of digging offers up the AP methodology and this explanation of exit polls by Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International.

Second, I would like to thank Michael for a fantastic post regarding Proposition 8. As usual, his eloquence and logic are hard to beat. I just wish more people would read his writings. I wish more people would read in general rather than simply parroting what they hear in propagandist advertising. I had a conversation with a woman a few weeks ago in which she openly supported Prop. 8. Not because she was really against gay marriage, so she said, but because she didn’t want her child taught that it was ok in school. Her only sources of information on the proposition were the advertisements she had seen on television and heard on the radio.

I told her the vote wasn’t about what would be taught in schools, but I didn’t push the issue very hard. I didn’t think I had to.

I am a California native. And, for the first time in my life I am completely disheartened about my beloved state by the results of this single Propositional vote. While I cried Tuesday night from joy, on Wednesday I shed tears of sadness. I didn’t believe there would be so many more people like that woman heading to the voting stations.

How is it that at the same time as we looked past skin color to elect our nation’s first black President, a sub-set of the nation could decide to take rights away from a group of citizens?

It’s because the decision was not based on logic. The decision was based on fear.

Fear that children would be brainwashed into thinking homosexual behavior is something they should try. Fear that gay marriage although different is really acceptable. Fear that somehow gay marriage will lead to the destruction of society as we know it.

Well, you know what? If society continues to condone discrimination because of fear and hatred only thinly veiled by morality, maybe it deserves to be destroyed.

Or, at least, roughed up a bit.

I’ve sat quietly by many times, not wanting to stir up a hornet’s nest of a conversation. I make excuses internally for not pushing forward on an issue that I believe is important: People can believe whatever they want, and I have no right to judge their beliefs. I have no right to impose my beliefs on anyone.

Yet, that’s just what happened. The belief/judgement that homosexuality is wrong led to this proposition that will impose on people by taking away their rights to marry.

It’s probably past time to speak up, but there is no better time to start than the present.

The arguments related to this issue are all distractions from the central issue of equality. The following statement from Mark Leno, Assemblyman – CA, (now Senator-elect) frames the issue better than I ever could:

“What is the one thing that all of us walking this planet have in common irrespective of our race, creed, color, religion, nation of origin, native language, sexual orientation or gender identity? What is our common humanity? It is our ability to love and our desire to love another human being in an intimate and committed fashion. That is what makes us human beings.

If we, through our public policy and lawmaking, are going to say that one group of humans loves in a way that is deserving of a marriage license but this other group just doesn’t love quite good enough so we will deny them their fundamental right to marry, then we are denying that group their very humanity. It was at that time that I decided that I was ready to fight a war over a word.”

I want to hope that love is our common humanity, and not fear. I want to hope that cultural evolution will eventually make automatic responses, like fear of differences, obsolete. I want to live in a society where love is the prevailing emotion over fear and hatred. I might be an idealist, but it’s something to work toward… something to fight a war of words for.

37 Responses to “War of the Words: Fear and Hate Behind Proposition 8”

  1. Bill says:

    I’m in Arizona, where we also loudly and proudly (ha!) enacted an anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment. I don’t think I’ve ever been so ashamed of my state.

    I’ve lived around a lot of deeply fundamentalist religious believers, and one of their most common ‘proofs’ of the immorality of gays is their promiscuity. Gays, they say, don’t settle down into long-standing, committed relationships (because to these folks, only marriage counts as a long-standing, committed relationship). And now, these same people have made that very relationship ILLEGAL AND UNCONSTITUTIONAL.

    Someday, we’ll get past this. But I’m afraid that it won’t be soon.

  2. Yoo says:

    One of the things that struck me about the Proposition 8 vote was the results map, where the coast was generally against it while it was generally favored in the rest of the state.

  3. plob218 says:

    You know another group that is well-known for their sexual promiscuity? Politicians! Cheating on your wife is OK, though, as long as it’s with another woman. Not a man. That would make a mockery of the sanctity of marriage.

    And also, marriage is so sacred that only half of them end in divorce!

  4. BillDarryl says:

    I am a FL resident who is as disheartened with my state over this as you are for CA (we had a similar “one man one woman” amendment which passed this last week).

    Perhaps the most offensive piece of propaganda for the amendment was a lawn sign I saw peppered here and there throughout my neighborhood. It had a pretty graphic of a man and a woman holding hands, with a child underneath them, and the text beneath it read “one man, one woman.” The other side of the sign had the same graphic, but the text read, “protect children.”

    FROM WHAT?!? The amendment had nothing to do with adoption rights or any issue involving children. There is no evidence that children raised by gay partners uniformly become unstable. So protect them from… seeing happy loving gay couples? Being in a family with happy loving gay parents? Or, to go full-on sinister, is it implying that children may be physically in danger from gay married couples once such perverions are legalized?

    That one sentence disgusted me with its blatant homophobia – there is no other reason for it to be there. The disgust turned to shock when it appeared to work and the amendment passed. As you put it, fear trumped logic.

    I take comfort in the certainty that twenty years from now, no one will care. The next generation is showing extreme tolerance to differences in sexual orientation, and what’s a firebrand issue now will be laughable once the world is in their hands.

  5. Mike says:

    Speaking from the UK where we had this debate a few years ago when parliament was discussing the issue. We now allow civil partnerships which are to all intents and purposes marriages (with all the same legal rights) – the issue now seems to be off the agenda. It seems to be an accepted fact of life and certainly not seen as promoting a particular life style choice. Elton John probably had a lot to do with that – ironically choosing to get married in the same registry office as the Prince of Wales did a few weeks earlier – and I bet his party was the better one!

  6. fashioncritic says:

    So let me get this straight, you cried for joy for the election of a president and vice president who are both on record as not supporting gay marriage? So much for the “logic” in your politics.

  7. bigjohn756 says:

    Why is it that all religiously inspired laws, Constitutional amendments, etc. remove individual rights rather than protect them, e.g. prohibition,gay rights, abortion rights? How can the religious have such hubris as to presume that their version of life is the only one? Stupid questions aren’t they? The answer to all is ‘because they can’. They are somehow able to justify their narrow minded, self centered, immoral, and bigoted outlook by cherry picking verses in the bible. It disgusts me.

  8. [...] to its reliability and may itself be the cause of further bigotry — perish the thought! See “War of the Words: Fear and Hate Behind Proposition 8” on [...]

  9. Andy says:

    Comment #3 says that half of marriages end in divorce. This is actually false. The number is more like 40%, trending downwards in recent years.

    Anyway, I agree that it is unfortunate that most people don’t share the view that marriage should be for all adults (and apparently some minors… ?). But I would take it a step further. Why should the government be involved in marriage at all? Shouldn’t marriage be a private choice between adults? If we want to have a legal person that has some specific rights, then why does it even have to be the same person that you live/have sex with? Why shouldn’t you be able to designate anyone as your “default beneficiary”?

  10. Santa says:

    @ comment #6:

    There would have been no more surefire a way to push the election into the hands of the religious right than to have a candidate that stated publicly to support gay marriage. Instead, we now have a president with the potential (if one or more retirements occur) to change the composition of the supreme court to be more friendly on the topic of equality in gay and lesbian relationships. This opportunity would not be available had the election result been different.

  11. Max says:

    Kirsten asked, “How is it that at the same time as we looked past skin color to elect our nation’s first black President, a sub-set of the nation could decide to take rights away from a group of citizens?”

    What’s more ironic is that the very subsets that overwhelmingly voted for the first black President are the same ones that voted against gay marriage. Even more ironic is that the same minority groups once fought for interracial marriage.

    They may even think that Obama agrees with them. The Howard Stern show asked Blacks in Harlem whether they support Obama more because he’s pro-life, anti-stem cell research, or because he wants to keep the troops in Iraq, and they’d agree with all these things. So maybe they weren’t looking past skin color after all.

  12. Max says:

    What are everyone’s thoughts on polygamy between consenting adults? Do you have a right to judge their beliefs?

  13. TurboFool says:

    Thanks for bringing back the tears I shed on Wednesday, Kirsten. Heck, even Tuesday night’s victory was marred by my constant refreshing of the results for Prop 8 while I watched, in shock, as they held steady above 50% in favor. I’ve never been more ashamed of my state and humanity in general.

    I’m straight, and happily married. This issue doesn’t effect me. At the moment. But when it’s so easy to take away fundamental rights from one group of people, when will the dominoes reach me? And besides that, damn it, I have friends who are gay. I know people who are gay. I know of people who are gay. People. Like me. People, damn it. Their mere existence or marriage status doesn’t have one bit of effect on me and never will, because they’re them and I’m me. My kids grow up in a world where they exist and even if I DID have a problem with their biological attraction to the same gender, no amount of constitutional amendments (or revisions) would prevent my kids from being aware of their existence. I can’t shelter my kids from genuinely harmful things in this world, so how can I possibly shelter them from PEOPLE whose lives are different than theirs? And isn’t it the parents’ jobs to teach their kids about what’s right and wrong? If they’re so sure this is wrong, and they’re already spending the time to teach their kids that parts of science class are a lie and to just cover their ears and hum and repeat “God did it, God did it, God did it,” then why not do the same for this?

    And Max, I have no problem with polygamy. Besides marrying animals, polygamy’s the first thing gay marriage opponents go to (except for the Mormons who funded this campaign, of course) as an example of the slippery slope afterwards. Well what’s the damn problem? Sure, they talk about the abuse and the child wives and all that sort, but those are the same arguments they use with marijuana and prostitution. Half the problems go away when the act is legalized, and then you deal with the individual problems. Deal with the child abuse and spousal abuse as you would in any other relationship. But when two, three, 12 consenting adults want to live their lives together in a committed relationship, how am I harmed by it?

    Republicans claim to be for less government, but wouldn’t less government lead to more freedoms?

  14. fluffy says:

    The biggest thing which offended me about Prop 8 was how much money the Church of LDS spent on advertising and scaring everyone. I was completely inundated with these ridiculous and deceptive ads, and they reportedly spent over $20 million on it! They could have used that money to actually improve society but instead they decided it would be better spent on eliminating a completely unrelated group’s civil rights.

    The ads were so horribly deceptive, too. How did people so easily come to believe that voting NO on a proposition would CAUSE changes that had nothing to do with what the proposition was even about? I felt that someone (the FCC maybe?) should have stepped in and prevented those ads from running. Talk about “activist judges” and refer to the 2000 proposition, sure, but absolutely slanderous ads which said that a no vote would somehow change education and tax codes, and which purposefully misquoted Obama to make it sound like he and McCain were in agreement about the removal of gay rights (in context, Obama was simply saying he would not push for the addition of gay rights, and looked at right you could interpret what he said as him simply stating that he wasn’t planning on getting gay-married himself)… people need to go to jail for that level of mass fraud and deception.

  15. TurboFool says:

    fluffy: You’ve touched on one of my biggest anti-“What’s the harm?” arguments in regards to religion. The amount of money they waste on ineffective concepts deeply saddens me. In my town (Santa Clarita, California) two things struck me recently:

    Last year they held the Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast. Besides the obvious implications of church-and-state issues this caused in my head, I watched first-hand the large amount of donations that flowed into this program. People donated hundreds and thousands of dollars each to this event. And all I could think of was that people were spending money so they could sit, eat breakfast, and WISH things were better. Why not, instead, spend that very same money on, say, actually making things better? Donate food to the hungry, clothing and shelter to the homeless, job programs, disease research, supplies to war-torn countries, anything that had a direct, tangible effect.

    The other was at our Independence Day parade, unquestionably the most impressive display of all was for a church group with a huge float with loud music, beautifully-printed displays and banners, custom clothing, and dozens and dozens of people running and dancing in the streets with some of the most impressive banners that stretched easily fifteen feet in the air mounted to each person via impressive harness systems that allowed them to balance and move freely while carrying them. Amazing, and surely incredibly expensive. Yet again, I wondered what that money was meant to accomplish that couldn’t be accomplished better by directly funding actual actions.

    Any impression I had of the Mormon church being innocuous and ignorable has gone out the window to me since Prop 8. They now rank right up there with Scientologists for me, and my tolerance has been worn dangerously thin. They’ve meddled directly in the lives of people I love and it makes me sick.


    I wrote this in the linked blog too:

    I got sad when I heard about prop 8 and its implementation. Here in Sweden, there is a wide majority which wants to include gays in the law of marriage – about 72 % of the whole population, I think (82 % in Holland!).

    I had a view of the state of America as separated from the church. I was wrong. In Sweden we separated church and state just 8 years ago. Maybe you should try it too! (yes, I think you should try both: with and without separation… I don’t think your churchES will get along – which interpretation is the correct one?)

    Although many of the churches in Sweden wanted separation (because just one church, the Church of Sweden, was getting tax-money) they want, as in California, to define marriage… weird. Luckily, only about 23 % is religious in Sweden!

  17. TurboFool says:


    For clarification we do, theoretically, have church and state separated. It’s one of our founding principles. In reality, our churches are tax-exempt, and laws are frequently passed based entirely on religious principles simply because a majority of the voters are religious and believe their rules should be everyone’s, not realizing (or likely not caring) that they contradict the beliefs (or lack thereof) of others. It makes life very difficult for us free thinkers.

  18. Peter says:

    I’ll tell you what started this and soooo many other problems in the world. Religion started this because the bible poses being gay as a sin so all these religious people again have created another discrimination problem in this country. If science was all that people went by, we wouldn’t have these types of problems.

    Then again I wonder if the concept of marriage would even exist without religion. And, one more thing. Doesn’t the word “gay” mean “happy”? jeez

  19. jedischooldropout says:

    An admittedly similar intent to comment #1, but with a slightly different perspective.

    I don’t quite agree with Mark Leno that:

    “What is our common humanity? It is our ability to love and our desire to love another human being in an intimate and committed fashion.”

    Particularly that past clause.

    I spent a large portion of my life really not caring about committment. Committment of a few months was an anathema. In fact, the only reason I ever made it a few months was that I never felt the grass was greener in that time. But as soon as I got bored… off I went to the next port. Granted I do now long for a ’til death do us part relationship (with or without a legal recognition of it – though it’s not really a federal issue for me as I am straight, and even if I weren’t I live in British Columbia which is Canada’s Mecca for gay culture).

    But I am quite positive that there are people who like me had a long relationship with a life of uncommitted relationships but who unlike me have not and never will develop a taste for committment.

    I think it’s unfair to attach value judgements to whether committment is good or bad, but I will say I am glad that my taste for greener pastures eventually drifted to the greener pasture of life long love and affection.

    It certainly strikes me as hypocritical that the R-Right would decide that encouraging a life of bed-hopping is more moral (which implicitly they have done) than allowing same sex marriage? Yes – a bit of a false dichotomy, but I’m curious if there is more than one other option on the continuum? (The third option being committed-non-legal relationships.) Which is to say nothing of the reality that bed-hopping encourages the spread of diseases that R-Right see as either God’s punishment or the work of Satan. (Make up your mind on that one folks, they aren’t the same thing.)

    …and not to get all ‘Pleasure Dome of Kubla Khan’ on you, but I just got interrupted and lost the button to my point, though looking back I’ve definitely covered the essence.

  20. Dave Redden says:

    I’m a supporter of gay rights, including the right to marry. That said, I disagree that we can dismiss all or even most anti-gay sentiment as based on fear or hate. I understand why you feel that way: we’re imperfectly empathetic because we’re all equipped with slightly different moral and cognitive function. In other words, the fact that you wouldn’t act that way but for fear and hate does not mean other people are acting out of fear and hate.

    I think it is a mistake to point out what we perceive to be the lack of valor and worth in the sort of people who voted against Prop 8. I think it stalls real progress for the gay movement – progress through understanding. I propose we instead take the reasons of the anti’s at face value, figure out what’s really driving them, then tailor our message to tap whatever it is that’s driving them. I’d go into greater detail, but it’s your blog. :)



    Yes, I know. But, as you wrote, from a pragmatic view – you don’t. Isn’t there a “constitution committee” or something like that? In the Riksdag, the swedish parliament, we have a committee which review the propositions which may go against the constitution, called konstitutionsutskottet. Well, they can’t actually force their conclusions on the Riksdag… but, as in America we love our constitution – and that’s why we don’t vote against it (like the freedom of (all) religion). :P

    More secularism to the people!

  22. AL says:

    As a Californian, it was infuriating to me how these Yes on 8 ads would make claims that were just flat-out wrong (factually) or irrelevant. “They’ll teach kids about gays in schools. Protect the children.” Or “If Proposition 8 doesn’t pass, what would it mean for our freedom of religion and freedom of expression?” Utterly ridiculous, all of these claims.

  23. Benjamin Lobato says:

    While it is true that exit polls are notoriously inaccurate, I think it’s been pretty well established that there is a widespread negative feelings towards homoesexuality in the African-American community.

    If you look at the U.S. Religious Landscape Survey from the Pew Forum, you’ll find that 42% of those who identify themselves as members of Historically Black Churches say that “Homosexuality should be discouraged by society”. Compare this to 30% of Catholics, 20% of Non-religious, and 15% of Jews.

    Another example is from the National Black Justice Coalition’s report ““At the Crossroads: African-American Attitudes, Perceptions, and Beliefs toward Marriage Equality”. This report states that black are more than white likely to oppose gay marriage by a 65% to 53% margin. The study also found that “Nearly three-quarters of blacks say that homosexual relations are always wrong, and over one-third say that AIDS might be God’s punishment for immoral sexual behavior,” and “Overall, blacks are 14 percentage points more likely to hold both positions than whites.”

  24. Why do all these states feel that they need to legislate with a founding document? And since when has a Constitution been used to restrict people’s rights?

    I am reminded a great deal of the Loving v. Virginia case. It’s amazing the similarities in the language of the supporters! I suppose that since fundamentalists are not allowed to hate blacks and women anymore, homosexuals are the easiest targets of their bigotry and hate?

    And, while this nation may have a lot of christians in it, it is NOT a christian Nation. Just look at the Treaty of Tripoli, 1797, Article 11 (not to mention numerous writings by those pesky Founding Fathers guys…).

  25. What really dismays me about all this is that if you look at the Loving v. Virginia case, the rhetoric is nearly identical…

    I also have a problem with people trying to legislate with a founding document. Add to that, since when has a Constitution been used to RESTRICT freedoms? Even if I wasn’t outraged at the bigotry of these propositions, at the very least that should give students of government reason to pause.

  26. Andy says:

    Amazing post, Kirsten. You really expressed many things that my friends and I have been talking about this week.

    Just FYI, there is a glimmer of hope:

  27. Patrick says:

    Kirsten, I voted for Prop 8.

    We can argue about the science (nature vs nurture), the morality (is doesn’t equal ought), the psychology of childhood development and sexual identity, the question of normative sexuality, historical cultures and their attitudes toward homosexuality, the teleology of the sexual reproductive organs, religious prohibitions against homosexuality in the orthodox bodies of the mainstream historic monotheistic religions, theological theories on the relationship of the Christian old and new testaments and the significance of the Jewish theocratic state in the context of the ancient world, the hermeneutical methods that should inform a proper exegsis of Romans 1:26-27, and the question of democratic government and the role of the courts in a constitutional democracy.

    I could be wrong, but I don’t forsee much common ground in these areas. So I think it would be most productive to focus on the question posed by an earlier commentor to your blog post: why does the State even bother to sanction any relationship with special legal rights and responsibilities? In the case of heterosexual relationships and the marriage contract it is the fact that children are the natural (note: not the inevitable, but natural) result of heterosexual sexual intercourse and the fact that the State has an interest in their welfare.

    You can have deep love and affection for anyone. The State doesn’t “sanction” heterosexual love in any way – in fact, the State doesn’t care if the marriage partners “love” each other at all. Its only purpose is to ensure that the natural offspring of such a union are properly protected and cared for. The State has no such overriding interest in the homosexual relationship, which do not, by nature, produce offspring, so there is no need for State enforcement of rights and responsibilities in that relationship.

    I hope you will see these comments in the spirit in which they are intended – as an attempt to bridge a very wide gap through the mutual exachange of ideas and concerns from a very small patch of potential common ground.

    Kirsten, on a personal note, I want to say that I have enjoyed immensely your various popularizations of science through media: your Food Science videos were a favorite of mine, and I have recently enjoyed listening to you and Justin on TWiS. I have also listened to and thoroughly enjoyed the Skeptoid podcasts of your fellow skeptic and blogger Brian Dunning.

    I do my best to “fight the good fight” with regard to ignorance and myth. I have worked to debunk chem-trails, “evil” GMOs, unsubstantiated organic food claims, unfounded fears of nuclear power, raw milk (although I have to admit I got sucked into that one for a few months…), raw foods, etc. I try my level best to base my views of the material world on the best evidence available. It’s not easy, but I don’t have a choice – the truth matters to me. “Happy the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding!” Proverbs 3:13.

    Would anyone in your circle of skeptic friends be interested in participating in a public debate on the issue of homosexual marriage somewhere in California? If so you can contact me at the email I provided with this post and we can work out the details: the wording of the proposition, the participants, venue, timing, etc.

  28. Will says:

    @comment 26

    If we choose to take the stance that the government only supports marriages that can potentially produce the next generation we run into other problems. As you brought up, offspring are the nature result of heterosexual sexual intercourse. There really isn’t any argument one can put forth to fight that. A child is never going to result from homosexual sexual intercourse no matter how much effort is involved.

    So the potential to produce the next generation, that is our marriage requirement. So suppose a couple is sterile. It doesn’t matter exactly how, just that they are unable to produce a child. One could then make the argument that because they are unable to contribute bodies to the next generation, they shouldn’t be conferred the privileges that a potentially producing couple.

    Now despite the objection which I bring to the table, I do find your reasoning to be… well, reasonable. It both gives a practical reason why not to have gay marriage and it put forth a platform from which a real dialogue can be had. And honestly, if I was convinced that more of the people that are against gay marriage are against it with your reasoning I’d be less disgusted. But it still seems like too many people are against it for fearful, hateful, or other misguided reasons.

  29. Yoo says:

    While I find arguments based on biology a lot more convincing than the religious ones, I still don’t find them to be particularly persuasive nor practical.

  30. What about all those heterosexual couple who chose not to have children, or perhaps the ones who cannot have children (sterile, too old, etc.). Are their marriages null and void? Maybe that’s Yoo’s point as well.

    Rationalizing bigotry, no matter how slight is still bigotry. Just ask any African-Americans that lived through the civil rights movement what they may think about “separate but equal”. And there is still the alarming similarities in the rhetoric to the Loving v. Virginia case. Or is that sort of bigotry also okay?

  31. llewelly says:

    The State has no such overriding interest in the homosexual relationship, which do not, by nature, produce offspring, so there is no need for State enforcement of rights and responsibilities in that relationship.

    ‘by nature’? That’s the naturalistic fallacy.
    Most in homosexual relationships that persist for more than 4 years seek to have children – by adoption, artificial insemination, or co-operation with someone outside of the marriage. Homosexuals raise children with about the same frequency that heterosexuals do. The ‘no children’ argument is nonsense.

  32. BillDarryl says:

    Comment 26:

    You display civility in your post… but little reason.

    The sentence “its (the recognition of marriage by the state) only purpose is to ensure that the natural offspring of such a union are properly protected and cared for,” which appears to be the basis for your opinion and your vote, says nothing about how the laws are applied.

    When a couple marries today, their new legal status is recognized immediately. The state doesn’t wait until they have children, nor do they evaluate the protective or caring environment of the newly formed household. The only requirement to enter into the civil contract of marriage is that both parties be legally competent and willing to do so. Then you get the benefits. Done.

    So when a heterosexual couple says, “I love you. I want to be with you forever. Let’s get married,” they can enter into a civil contract regarding property rights and immediately receive tax benefits.

    But when a homosexual couple says, “I love you. I want to be with you forever,” it is now written into California’s constitution that they may not proceed to marriage nor receive any benefits from the state.

    There is no reason I can think of why this should be so.

  33. You know, we’ve had legal gay marriage here in Canada for a few years now. And you know what? Society has not fallen apart. I know: it’s shocking.

    I also disagree with the notion of calling gay marriages “civil unions”. The definition of marriage hasn’t been the same throughout all cultures in history. If the religious folks want to distinguish their marriages from the rest, they are free to adopt their own cute pet names for it like “civil unions” or Baptist-marriage” or what have you.

    It’s working here in Canada. I’m proud of that.

  34. Aaron W. Johnson says:

    Just be glad you aren’t from Missouri, my home state. We now have a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, an amendment stating that all state business must be conducted in English, the official language of the state (I presume this means that printed matter must also be English-only), and an amendment that will be on the ballot in May or August that will strip most right to choose to have an abortion from women in our state. Springfield, Missouri is home to the global headquarters of the Assemblies of God churches, and Bolivar, Missouri is home to Southwest Baptist University, the flagship university of the Southern Baptist Convention. As an academic on a college campus, I am to some degree shielded from the biblical zeal that seems to have swept most of this state, but I find it troubling that my daughter and son will grow up in this culture. However, academic positions do not grow on trees so I bide my time and work to foster change. I don’t like what I see so I work (politically, socially, and voluntarily) to change it. Many of you seem upset by what happens in your state. My advice: turn that frustration and anger into action.

  35. Dwight says:

    As a Canadian and one who went through the gay marriage debate here in Ontario, it passed, and now its not a big deal, as a gay friend told me , “Why cant we be stuck in dead end marriages too?”
    All the cry’s of children be influenced by “the gays” and an end to moral values, came to nothing. As one of our greatest Prime misters one said, “The state has no place in the nations bedroom” Some groups speak of tolerance only as long as it suites their ways, I hope this gets chanlaged and the truth comes out about the way the religious right really acted. This is a human right issue , not a moral one.

  36. shahar lubin says:

    Wildfires are spreading across California. Stoked by hurricane strong
    winds the bushfire is destroying everything in it’s wake and I’m wondering where are the usual crack pot christian-right activists. Isn’t this the utmost proof of God’s hatered of proposition 8? Isn’t He’s punishing California for discrimination and hatred against His flock?

    I think proposition 8 is going to be the camel back breaker. For the first time in decades I’m sensing a real rage spreading through the gay and progressive straight communities. Melissa Etherige has come out with a taxation boycott of California. With taxtation comes representation she reminds us.

    With the black american civil rights movement reaching a sort of apex the gay civil rights movement can take the baton and run with it. Ironically it seems higher numbers of black voters in this election pushed the amendment through. This is a sad irony. When Obama was conceived his parents relationship was still barred by law in as much as a third of the United States. The country he would grow up to lead.

    I hope this rage can be maintained and harnessed. America is and aleays been a promise. Like all generation before us we need to do whatever we can to reach towards that promise, and render more and more of that drean into a reality. Like our parents and their parents before them, we need to leave an America with more freedoms and more equility to our childrens than the one we grew up in ourselves.

    This pundit put it better than I could.

  37. Eric Schulman says:

    I was completely wrong about this. I was telling all my friends who were going out to protest 8 “Don’t worry about it, California is a liberal state, something like this could never pass.” Like most whites, I thought this was a white liberals vs. white conservatives issue. There are only 6 white conservatives in California, so I figured 8 was a joke.

    The results made me slap my head and realize what a dolt I’d been. The irony is that the same white liberals who typically call for more “diversity, diversity!” suddenly found themselves the victims of California’s huge populations of Hispanic Catholics and evangelical blacks. Suddenly they were saying “No, not THAT kind of diversity!”

    While the white liberals were foolishly campaigning in predominantly white towns, the Mormon Church was wisely funding campaigning in black & Hispanic towns. The result? Equality lost, and religious zealotry won.

    Every political group is made up of all kinds of people, and every social group is made up of all kinds of people. Get out and vote, you can never count on your “tribe” doing what you expect.