I was so blissful Tuesday night. We had won, defeated the Sith. I swear I felt a little like I do at the end of Return of the Jedi.
But then came Wednesday and the results of Prop 8, a measure on the California ballot banning gay marriage (a "Yes" vote amended the constitution to define marriage as between a "man and woman"; a "No" vote did not). 52 to 48, the measure passed and with it, went the hopes of so many gay men and women.
I am just sick about it and can't possibly celebrate a victory as a "triumph over fear and hatred" when something as evil, archaic and senseless as this bill can still be passed. Similar bills were passed in Arizona and Florida, which are equally depressing, but far less surprising. In Arkansas, voters decided to stop allowing gays to adopt children. But Cali is the one that burns. California, you beautiful sea of blue, how could you pass something so red, so archaic, so prejudiced?
Facebook was all a flutter yesterday with people who were thrilled with Obama's victory. It was a historic day of beauty and hope and elation, but my happiness was tempered by the fact that my little cousins in Los Angeles have to feel a little more discrimination. They have to question the validity and security of their family. And they have to feel, way too young, just how backwards this country still is in so many ways.
It bothered me yesterday that only a handful of straight people I know addressed Prop 8. I know we were all thrilled, but how thrilled can we be when our gay friends and family are in pain? I can't celebrate fully until we can all do it together.
I appreciate so much that we finally have a democrat and I am definitely going to need something new to be snobby about now that so many people have shown they are capable of opening their minds and actually listening to what the candidates are saying instead of towing their party line or voting based on fear. But we have such a long way to go. It makes me so sad that the same people who wiped away years of oppression and racism as they cast their ballot for Obama, also cast a vote for hate. Why? Why? Why?
I just don't get it. Why does anyone care so much? Is it their religion? Really? Because "the bible tells you so"? Because the bible says a lot and contradicts itself even more. Spirituality and the belief in G-d are beautiful and comforting and can be a part of a person's life as long as they also understand that their beliefs are just that--beliefs. They do not give anyone the right to take away another's rights. Gay people are seeking the same civil rights that most Americans enjoy: marrying the person of your choice, safety from violence, the ability to adopt a child and fair treatment.
How dare we tell them otherwise? How dare we?
Yes, there is a part of me that wants to talk about how utterly lame these people are, how the woman who headed up the whole thing is likely either closeted herself or knows her "straight" husband would rather be married to a man (because let's face it: what kind of frigid, sexless prude really cares that much?)
But I will refrain (mostly). Because hatred is what got us here and only hope can get us out. And I am hopeful. I am hopeful that the thousands of people who gathered all over California to protest the measure will have some success. I believe that in 2010 they will get it on the ballot again and show just what we can accomplish when we unite to fight this kind of bigotry.
But we still live in a bigoted country. Make no mistake about it. Obama may have won, but this fight is far, far from over.