The religious right promises more amendments, do we have a plan?
The election is over and the religious right is still hungry, its fangs still dripping with the blood of the carcass of civil rights that it has consumed with the passage of the anti-gay ballot initiatives. Even as it savors the win, it is hunting for its next prey — states without marriage amendments, and states that extended civil marriage via court ruling.
Among the most important news from yesterday’s elections were the banning of homosexual “marriages” in the states of California, Florida, and Arizona. Indeed, the citizens of California overturned a tyrannical judicial decision by 4 California judges (in a 4-3 decision earlier this year) by passing Proposition 8 yesterday.
The President of the Christian Coalition of America, Roberta Combs said: “The American people are proud of their fellow citizens in the states of California, Florida and Arizona for upholding traditional marriage between one man and one woman. Christian Coalition of America will continue to fight to ensure that government serves to strengthen and preserve, rather than threaten, our families and our values.”
Thus far, 30 states have outlawed homosexual “marriages” by an average close to 70% approval by voters through amendments to the state constitutions. In addition, the voters in Arkansas yesterday approved a measure banning unmarried couples from serving as adoptive or foster parents. It will be the goal of Christian Coalition to ensure that the other 20 states adopt similar amendments banning homosexual “marriages” including the states of Massachusetts and Connecticut which also had two judicial decisions, by one vote margins, legalizing these abominations.
This predictable response by the American Taliban is one reason that our movement needs to regroup and get its act together.
On CNN this AM, Sunny Hostin, one of the news network’s legal analyst, stated every side in California is in limbo, and that it will end up back in the California Supreme Court because of the lawsuits filed in the wake of the vote. That of course, could result in a ruling in favor of plaintiffs, she said, since the court was responsible for marriage equality in the first place. All of this points to the importance of when a case would make it to SCOTUS. We don’t need this decided at that level any time soon, that’s all I know, given the current composition of the court.
What I do know is that Pandora’s Box has been opened, and the issue has a high profile, and what is our movement going to do? More below the fold. The energy being expended on finger-pointing needs to be turned into an effort to strategically plan a path forward. With their party out of power at the federal level, the religious right has thrown down the gauntlet, and has an issue to use to empty the wallets of the uninformed and bigoted.
All the Dems, including the President-elect (and in my case, Kay Hagan), who knowingly chose to conflate religious and civil marriage at our peril, have to be held accountable going forward to lend a high-profile voice against this pressure from the right. Hiding behind personal faith is not going to fly. Questions in the light of this —
* How can we best mobilize to rise to this challenge?
* Are our advocacy organizations ready to deal with this in an effective manner?
* What is the plan at the state level to educate legislators who will be cornered on this issue?
The bible-beaters won’t put most of this energy toward Massachusetts and Connecticut, they will focus on states like North Carolina. It is a ripe target, since 1) we don’t have an amendment, and 2) it would pass one if it managed to get onto the ballot.
State legislators who have been able to hide on the issue will be under increasing pressure to publicly take a firm position or risk being ousted the next go-round by opponents who may have a (D) behind their name, but would vote for an amendment with gusto.
Are we ready? Because Dobson, the Christian Coalition, and the rest of these clowns have a lot of time on their hands to refill the coffers and get to work.
And a word about the vitriol that I’m seeing in the LGBT blogosphere (including in some comments at my blog) regarding the unfortunate level of black support in California for Prop 8, I highly recommend reading this essay from the Race Relations Blog, “A Thin Line Between Love and Hate“:
The narrative I’m seeing in some of the white progressive community regarding Tuesday’s election results seems to be “High black turnout gave Barack Obama a landslide, but it also led to the passage of nasty homophobic ballot initiatives.” Cable news pundits, who seem to draw on The Screwtape Letters for inspiration, have immediately jumped on this line of thought to tactically create another marginalizing division in the progressive movement. In the primary it was black vs. female (too bad if you’re black and female); in the postelection it’s black vs. gay (too bad if you’re black and gay).
…Relatively high levels of black support for anti-gay proposals send the message to antiracist people in the LGBT rights movement to increase outreach to African-American communities, and send the message to pro-gay people in the civil rights movement to more vocally support lesbian and gay rights. And it is a challenge to all of us to make integration happen–integration between gays and straights, integration between blacks and whites, and integration among all four groups. To do otherwise is to play into the hands of an institutional, heterosexual white power structure that gives little power to African Americans, gays, or gay African Americans. We must be prepared to challenge heterosexism regardless of the race of the speaker, and to challenge racism regardless of the sexual orientation of the speaker. We must be a coalition movement for social justice. We must all walk this road together, because we will only get lost if we walk alone.