Revelry, Robbed

From an email Anna Mumford, Program Strategist for the ACLU LGBT Project, sent to friends and family earlier this week.

After seeing anti-gay initiatives win the popular vote in Florida, Arkansas, Arizona and California, I haven't been able to muster the same ebullience that seems to have infected everyone from the old ladies in my yoga class to the cashier at Starbucks this week.

When I got into work Wednesday, I could see that other people in the LGBT Project at the ACLU were feeling similarly torn. As one of my coworkers put it, I feel like my ability to revel in the historic nature of the Obama victory has been robbed by the forces behind the four anti-gay ballot initiatives that passed.

My job for the last few weeks has been to find plaintiffs for a legal challenge to Prop 8 if it were to pass. I have spoken and emailed with dozens of gay couples in California about why having the right to marry mattered.  

For some couples, having equal treatment under the law was important principle, but for many couples the benefits of marriage were more tangible. For some, marriage meant being able to provide health care for their spouse, or having the right to visit a sick partner or sick child in the hospital go unchallenged. Other couples wrote that being legally married changed the way their families and neighbors accepted their relationship. Some of the most touching stories involved immigration issues, where two partners of different nationalities were unable to live legally in the same country (sadly, these issues will require federal recognition of gay marriage to be resolved).

I've received a steady stream of emails and phone calls this week from these couples in California asking what can be done and offering to help in any way they can. Although the CA Attorney General has said that Prop 8 will not apply retroactively to couples that have already married, I can't imagine that our opponents won't file a lawsuit to challenge this position.

Thinking about the impact on the families I have gotten to know in California, as well as the families I've worked with in Florida and Arkansas over the last few months, it's hard not to feel saddened by Tuesday night's results.

In the last few years, there has been so much progress in dismantling the legal framework that discriminates against the gays and lesbians, and I guess I expected the trajectory to continue and that these initiatives, which so clearly move us in the opposite direction, would be defeated. It is with this sense of weight that I celebrate this historic election.

Take care, and thank you, sincerely, for all the hard work I know each of you has done in this election.

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Steve O. In Dia...

Anna:

You say that Jerry Brown has said that "Prop 8 will not apply retroactively to couples that have already married..." Unfortunately there will need to be little argument since Prop 8 is retroactive in its wording.

It doesn't take a genius to figure out that "only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California" denies recognition of any other type of marriage, independent of location or time.

I think Jerry Brown said it best, the intent of the majority of voting California's is to "eliminate[s] the right of same-sex couples to marry". A "right" that was never given by the people in the CA Constitution's Family Code.

What remains intact is CA Code 297, the right of same-sex couples to form a Domestic Partnership, which also discriminates against unmarried heterosexuals under the age of 62!

Why aren't you fighting for my all Californian's rights!

Undrstandably i...

The ACLU is all in a tither over prop 8 because they FEEL that gay marriage should be constitutionally protected. (Which, by the way, ANY marriage is neither constitutionally sanctioned or protected.) Yet, they will not defend a citizen on a violation of their Second Amendment RIGHTS. Sound a little hypocritical? You bet it does! The sooner the ACLU gets back to doing its job, which is to protect our civil liberties, E.G. rights, the sooner the ACLU will regain its once much vaunted status as a defender of the people. Until then it will be regarded as what it is,an impotent, socialist organization that cares nothing for the rights of U.S. citizens and only wants to further its leftist agenda.

Robert

The rights of marriage were never intended to be between two people of the same gender, but rather between one man and woman. In societies where polygamy is legal, it is between one man and the women he marries or vice versa. From the earliest times that marriage has been traced anyone who has attempted to marry outside of a man and a woman was punished with death.

Here in America however we do not do this. It has always been the belief that marriage should soley be between a man and a woman. We who are straight or are too religious to give into our natural instincts feel that our rights to get married in the traditional sense is being put under the fire. Homosexuals claim that they are being persecuted, but really in return they persecuting Churches, organizations, and other individuals who see marriage as sacred institute between a man and a woman.

To give my efforts to appeal to a better way, I plead with my fellow American citizens that such religions as the Baptists, Catholics, and Mormons hold grudge against homosexuals, but rather the behavior which is seen not by media alone, but with our own eyes as immoral and destructive to the family.

I must bring about the point that every civilization that has accepted homosexual behavior has fallen. Look at the Roman Empire, the emporers with their people had become lewd and would sleep with those of the same gender weaking the morale of the people until they fell because they were mentally unprepared for war, crime, and corruption.

If then the ACLU is about the freedom of speech, I then plead with each member to do nothing concerning the recent descions of California and states who have voiced their voting rights against Gay marriage, and accept this as the people's rights. Gay marriage is not about human rights, but about wanting the same joys that only come from a heterosexual marriage.

M.W.

It's time to reintroduce a forgotten word here, and that is 'tolerance'. Marriage is a tradition long-ago between man + woman, and while we are free to ask for inclusion, we must also show tolerance for another's tradition. Yes, minorities can be intolerant too of the majority. If the majority says to tolerate this tradition, let's show sensitivity, civility and unity, and embrace tolerance and allow the vote to be. We had our opportunity to voice our opinion, and vote on it, and now it is time to Move On.

Andy

I'm saddened greatly that people like "Robert" claim to follow the example of Jesus Christ. It is extremely harmful--not only to those they don't care if they hurt, but perhaps most because it drives people away from a religion that is about peace and compassion. It's a self-perpetuating cycle, because that rhetoric then attracts even more people who aren't interested in Jesus and his teachings as much as looking looking for ways to rationalize their bigotry as something divine.

If you're reading this and you think that "Robert" and his like represent what Christianity is about, *please* look elsewhere. There are still people in this world that will speak truth to power and love to hate. There are still Christians who realize that the rhetoric of people like "Robert" is evil done in the name of God.

Chloe

If marriage is reserved only for one man and one woman, how does it have so many special rights and privileges attached to it - over 500 California state rights, and over 1,100 federal rights. If everyone is to be guaranteed full equal access to rights, I think all rights and privileges should be removed from all marriages. Then everyone will be equal.

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