Throw millions of dollars into a campaign to ban equal rights, and a spotlight shines on bigotry, hatred and the need for federal protection of our nation’s individuals. The good news is the spotlight is very, very bright.
It’s a fact of history and human nature. People get up off their tushies and do good when injustices are too big to ignore. We would not be talking about marriage equality now, in 2012 if not for fly-in-your-face outrageousness of Prop 8. Yes, there were many other factors that contributed to the surging interest in equality. Public opinion of gays was changing slowly as Ellen came out of the closet and other celebrities followed suit…cause Ellen never wears dresses.
Philosophies of yesterday’s generation grew as old as the people who embodied them, and what is old is always perceived as out of date. Young voters brought their new and improved definitions of equality to the table. And then there was Prop 8.
Moderates, liberals and conservatives who understand civil rights were shocked that people could actually vote to take civil rights away from a group of people. Overly contented gays and apathetic citizens had no choice but to come out of the closet for equal rights. Thank you Mormons…or should I say Gays who secretly funded the Mormon campaign to ban same-sex marriage to rally the nation in support of equal rights? I mean, really. Didn’t the Mormons anticipate becoming the catalyst of change? They did, right? Must have been a gay plot.
President Obama evolved because he had no choice. It wasn’t enough to say, and I paraphrase, “Keep at it, Gays, and one day there will be equality (but not on my watch).” He figured we couldn’t blame him for focusing on the economy and chose to keep out of it. We moved on in spite of him. One step forward, two steps back as states continued to put equality in the hands of voters. One minute, we were dancing in the streets of New York planning weddings and the next we were agonizing the injustice in North Carolina.
Obama could not look the other way while too many desperate youths took their lives. Not even the phenomenal outpouring of love and support delivered by It Gets Better videos could drown out the sanctified discrimination in this country that screams loud and clear, “You are not worthy.”
President Obama had to evolve with each sermon-gone-viral delivered by clergy who managed to pick and choose their bible references; piecing together messages of hatred and fear. He learned what we’ve always known. You can’t convince everyone to like you. It’s a no-win crusade. I know what I speak. I came from parents who believed that to be gay was as criminal as being a pedophile. It didn’t matter if we paid our taxes or raised well-mannered children or if we starred in blockbuster movies. To give gays the right to marry was exactly like giving pro-choice advocates the right to murder or giving pedophiles the right to teach children. You can’t go Glee and belt out a song and convince them that a woman has the right to choose or that gay is normal. You have to go over their heads.
Some, like the president, do evolve. Many, like my parents, do not. There will always be homophobia in my lifetime as there will always be racism and sexism and anti-Semitism. Maybe, one day there will not. In the meantime, we keep doing our thing to make sure that our laws protect us from all those “isms”. Act locally, lobby nationally, love globally.
Oh and one more thing. Never forget to celebrate every victory because it’s easy to get angry and stay angry, and then you’ll get frown lines before your time, and you'll be a real downer. If you’re in the tri-state area, join us at SOMA Pride Fest in Maplewood Saturday, June 9 from noon – 5pm at Memorial Park. There will be live music, lots of food, local vendors selling their wares and plenty of activities for kids and, of course, lots of opportunities to get involved in the slow but steady fight for full-equality. Come find us and say, “Hey.” We’ll be the lesbians with kids and a cooler full of ….juice boxes.
|SOMA (South Orange/Maplewood) Pride Fest Organizers Mary Alice Carr, C.J. Prince and Robyn Brody-Kaplan|
Happy Pride Month!!
The Mayor of Maplewood proclaims June LGBT Pride Month in Maplewood. South Orange President Alex Torpey will do the same in South Orange on Monday. I love our towns!
C.J. Prince accepts the certificate on behalf of the SOMA Pride Fest organizers, her good self, Mary Alice Carr and Robyn Brody-Kaplan.