Re: (OPE-L) comment on the US election

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?!


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

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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