Ok, admittedly it's unconventional: Gay
rights progress from a gay marriage ban?
A long week of daily protests
culminated in one giant nationwide protest against California's passage of Proposition 8 – the constitutional amendment that once
again forbids gay marriage in the state – on Saturday, progress for
a gay rights movement?
Despite losing in California, Arizona
and Florida, it's progress for the simple fact that it has united
gays and lesbians, spurred gay youth to activism, and lifted our
voices higher than they have ever been heard before. Our resolve has
been strengthened and turning back is no longer an option.
After passage of thirty constitutional
amendments banning gay marriage across the nation over the past ten
years, California's pushed too far.
In California, voters not only banned
gay marriage, they also reversed a California Supreme Court ruling
issued in May that allowed gay marriages to begin. That ruling was
based on the equal protection clause of the California constitution.
Passage of the gay marriage ban leaves 18,000 gay marriages hanging
by a thread.
Altering the constitution through a
propaganda of misinformation to erase legitimate gains made by gays
and lesbians is downright Orwellian.
Fallout for some has come swiftly –
an arts director quit this week after gay activists protested his support of the gay marriage ban and protests at Mormon temples
continue – prompting gay activists to issue warnings.
Speaking to OUTTAKEOnline CEO Charlotte
Robinson, Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) President Neil Giuliano cautioned protesters.
“I think it is important that people
are exercising their right to demonstrate and protest,” the former
Tempe, Arizona mayor said. “But I think we do have to be careful
and protest on the content of what happened in the election and the
fact that it was funded primarily through a church's communication
effort without commenting on that church's beliefs and that church's
right to have those beliefs within their religious doctrine.”
“It's wrong that the churches got as
engaged as they did, that doesn't mean the churches don't have a
right to believe whatever they believe, but their behavior was
Gay activists, however, appear
reluctant to forget about the meddling and overwhelming financial
support by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the
Mormons), which they say tipped approval of the gay marriage ban in
Gay activist Fred Karger, founder of
Californians Against Hate, filed
a complaint this week with the California Enforcement Division of the
Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) alleging numerous
contribution violations to the campaign to ban gay marriage in
California by the Mormon Church.
The complaint claims that the Mormon
Church violated California's Political Reform Act when it failed to
report massive non-monetary contributions to the Yes-On-8 campaign.
Among the violations cited are the
costs of get-out-the-vote phone
banks in Utah and Idaho, various mailings to voters, transportation
services, marketing materials – professionally produced commercials
hosted on websites available to the public included – and at least
two satellite broadcasts over five western states.
And in the Mormon home state of Utah,
activists announced plans on Monday to call on Mormon leaders to back
planned civil rights legislation for gays and lesbians in the state.
Openly gay Utah Senator Scott McCoy and
Representative Christine Johnson announced they will introduce five
legislative bills in January that closely straddle the pro-gay
positions expressed by the church during the June-to-November Prop 8
campaign. Three bills would bring greater equality to gays and
lesbians in the areas of hospitalization, medical care, housing,
employment and probate rights.
And a pair of bills would create a
domestic partner registry for gay and lesbian couples by repealing a
part of Utah's constitutional marriage amendment. The group said
they had no plans to pursue gay marriage, which Mormon leaders say
they cannot abide.
Supporters of the plan called on the
Mormon Church's blessing, saying it would “bridge the divide
between the gay community and the LDS community.” They asked that
the church help secure passage of these rights for gay Utahans with
the same commitment and energy used in supporting the gay marriage
ban in California.
The Gay Slant pops in most Saturdays at
On Top Magazine. Walter Weeks is a writer for On Top and can be
reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.