Opponents of gay marriage in California
saw passage of Proposition 8, the constitutional amendment that makes
gay marriage in the state verboten, as the finish line in deciding
the fate of gay nups in the state, when, in fact, it appears to have
been a mere pit stop. With the state Supreme Court taking up the
validity of the anti-gay amendment, both sides are gearing up for a
Opponents of Proposition 8 have
already indicated that if their state Supreme Court bid to overturn
the gay ban fails, they would seek to place a pro-gay marriage
constitutional amendment on the 2010 ballot.
Proponents say if they loose, they too
might reemerge with a new amendment in two years.
The gay marriage posturing began on the
day after Election Day as gay activist opened new fronts on the
debate: Pro-gay rights groups joined several California
municipalities in challenging the validity of the newly-passed gay
marriage ban, while crowds of gays, lesbians and their allies poured
onto the streets of California to protest Proposition 8 – or, as
gay activist have dubbed it, Proposition H8.
That left gay marriage ban supporters
to cry stinking fish.
“Amidst all this lawlessness,
harassment, trampling of civil rights and now domestic terrorism, one
thing stands out: the deafening silence of our elected officials,”
said Protect Marriage Campaign Co-Manager Frank Schubert said at a
press conference ten days after passage of Proposition 8. “Not a
single elected leader has spoken out against what is happening.
Where is Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger while churches are being
attacked? And where is Senator Dianne Feinstein while people are
losing their jobs and grandmothers are being bullied by an angry
Schubert's “domestic terrorism”
incident was an anthrax-like hoax of white powder mailings sent to
several Mormon temples. The FBI, which is investigating the
incidents, has confirmed the white powder to be non-toxic and has not
publicly cited any evidence to link the incident to gay groups.
“Well, I think it's absolutely
galling that the proponents of Proposition 8, who just spent $40
million in a deceitful campaign to strip a group of people of their
fundamental rights claim victim status,” Molly McKay,
a spokeswoman for Marriage Equality, told
KPIX, a San Francisco CBS affiliate.
Schwarzenegger was also attacked for his gay marriage support by
Christian conservative Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council,
who wrote to supporters: “Since Election Day, Gov. Arnold
Schwarzenegger (R) has made statements supporting demonstrations
against Proposition 8, and urging California's Supreme Court to block
the amendment's enforcement ... Condoning street protests and
supporting judicial activism scams to overturn a popularly approved
state constitutional amendment approaches advocacy of anarchy. Gov.
Schwarzenegger is playing a dangerous game, and it needs to stop.
of the gay marriage ban have also threatened to work to oust any
state Supreme Court justice that votes to invalidate Proposition 8.
side has disbanded their campaign. The pro-Proposition 8 side has
retained their political consultants, Frank Schubert and Jeff Flint,
who say they have already begun laying plans for the next campaign.
And gay marriage supporters have accelerated their Internet-based
community building efforts on websites such as Facebook and MySpace,
in preparation for the gay marriage battle that lays ahead.
Meanwhile, bloggers and some gay
activists are asking tough questions of their traditional
suit-and-tie leaders. Prominent
Andrew Sullivan recently posited on his blog: Is the Human Rights
Campaign relevant? Openly gay Sullivan argues that the nation's
largest gay and lesbian rights organization failed the gay rights
movement in California.
“How many struggles do we have to
wage with these people always, always failing to lead – before we
demand accountability and reform?” Sullivan wrote earlier this
week. “Losing a battle this important should mean, at least, the
rolling of some heads. Or we have no accountability at all. What
are we: the Bush administration?”
Wayne Besen, president of Truth Wins
Out, a group dedicated to exposing the ex-gay myth, sounded a similar
tone when he applauded the efforts of two bloggers who managed to
pull off national protests in 300 cities against Proposition 8 with
simple text messages and Internet-based social invitations.
“[At the rallies] there was an
injection of raw energy and an infusion of new inspiration that has
eluded our movement for more than a decade,” Besen wrote on his
The future of gay marriage in
California, and for that matter the country, remains clear as mud,
but what is clear is that Proposition 8 failed in spades to put the
matter to rest. Instead it has simultaneously managed to embolden
gay marriage ban proponents and energize gays and lesbians. The gay
marriage discussion will continue, whether you like it or not.