From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@BERKELEY.EDU)
Date: Wed Nov 03 2004 - 15:28:56 EST
pew data show usa to be more like nigeria and ksa on cultural and moral issues than rest of advanced industrial world. interesting post from lbo talk; at one level this election was a reaction in all senses to the gay marriages allowed in san francisco by mayor gavin newsome; CA courts then struck down marriages! if not derrida, then perhaps a foucauldian study of sexuality?! rb Still, to elaborate on one segment of that, here's a draft of a commentary of mine that will be appearing in a local gay rag later this week. - Deborah All in the Timing For the last four years, gay and lesbians like myself have been labelled self-hating sourpusses because we took issue with the current push for "gay marriage" in this country. The timing for such a push, I long believed, was not only inappropriate, but potentially devastating, given the win-at-all-costs, Rovian drive of the opportunistic neoconservatives who had become intimates and f*ckbuddies of the social conservatives. Gay marriage, we believed, would be like punting the ball straight into the hands of the deceptive GOP fear-mongers and daring them to run with it to the goal line. I believe we are seeing evidence of that prediction with these election results. In a majority of post-election analysis coming out so far, the issue that has dominated voters has been "moral issues." Granted, this is a catch-all term that includes abortion, gay marriage, gun ownership rights and the idea of a faith-based president, but the issue of gay marriage was front and center in GOP attack ads and campaigns in the midwestern "swing" states. "Moral Issues." Not Iraq, the economy, healthcare. "Terrorism" usually ran neck and neck or a close second behind the morality police. The message was loud and clear on gay marriage in the states that had votes on constitutional state bans: NO marriage for gays. Some states not only banned gay marriage; they banned civil unions, as well. And in Ohio, the worst blow to gay rights was dealt: passage of legislation which not only bans gay marriage and civil unions, but any attempt to approximate the rights and benefits of legal marriage. This puts domestic partner benefits in peril. County and state employees may lose theirs entirely. Companies that offer the benefits may still do so, but if an employee has a grievance or complaint, the courts of Ohio may now turn a deaf ear and say there is no standing for the court to hear the case. Powers of attorney and medical directives between gay/lesbian partners may face a series of challenges in individual cases; it is too early to determine how case law will develope. A federal constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage now becomes a greater possibility with both House and Senate in Republican control and a president who strongly advocates it's passage. I can only hope that every celebrity gay/lesbian person (that includes you, Rosie, and you, too, Melissa), every giddy, oblivious gay/lesbian person who danced on the court house steps in the wild illusion that they were "getting married", has a moment of sobriety and a glimpse into their new reality. I've seen some analysis that suggests that current 20-somethings do and will favor gay/lesbian marriage. To their generation, it appears to be a non-issue. But what we have done to ourselves *today* is set even more roadblocks for future generations to overturn in that quest for equality. As it stands and if the Bush win holds, we are looking at several Supreme Court appointments, innumerable judicial appointments, and the perception that conservative moral values are the will of the people. Future generations may have to overturn mountains of case law and the repeal of a constitutional amendment, just to get back to where we were yesterday. It is time for an honest post-mortem on what went wrong. It is time for an honest bitch session on what could have been done differently. But most importantly of all, it is *time* for gays and lesbians to put their feet back on the ground. The "gay marriage" circuit party is over. If we want true, full equality, we have to get back to basics and put a real face on ourselves to the rest of the population, because now, more than ever, *we need their support and their votes*. It's time to rejoin the rest of the world, embrace broader, more universal issues, rebuild our burned bridges and reach beyond our personal rainbows if we ever want to dance on the courthouse steps again.
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