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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

What can I say . . .


. . . . that hasn't been said, opined, or protested?

I mean, it wasn't like we hadn't been prepared for it. All the activists had been telling us for months not to get our hopes up.

Not on this one.

Not this time.

I left the house this morning at 6:30 AM and didn't return until 6:30 PM - a full and wonderful pastoral day.

I remembered to light a candle and say a prayer during my morning devotions, but I confess that my prayer was that the LGBT community and our allies would find within them the strength needed to continue the fight . . . in California, and, state by bloody state until the civil rights promised to every citizen - including LGBT people - were finally granted to us.

Turns out, my prayers were answered.

Oh, I heard all the news on all the radio stations as the news broke. I've heard all the soundbites - from the left, right and middle - and I've taken some time to read and reflect.

I mean, it's not like I don't have a dog in this hunt. Thirty-three years with the same woman, six kids, and five grandkids ain't exactly chopped liver, you know?

I'd like to know that I can travel from state to state, or even choose to retire to another state, and still have - AT THE VERY LEAST - the same rights and privileges guaranteed to me in the State of NJ.

After all is said and done, I am left feeling proud of our leaders. The statement from IntegritUSA absolutely shimmers with intelligence and dignity, grace and strength. There is unquestionable resolve to 'keep on keepin' on' in this struggle.

The statements from our allies, the Bishop of Los Angeles and All Saints', Pasadena are bold and strong in their commitment to continue to stand with us in the struggle for marriage equality.

I am left feeling hopeful, and not just because the California Supreme Court decision didn't say with the Prop8 proponents thought it did.

Confused?

Well, check out what John Culhane says on The Daily Dish.

Or, The Daily KOS

Or, read what IT has to say at Friends of Jake, who writes this:

Think about it. This means that there must be state forms that include the DP'd folks: "Single or Married/unioned". This means that kids will learn that there are marriages and DPs in school, and yes, teacher may invite them to her wedding (because they didn't take the name wedding, just the name "marriage"). This means that under law, GLBT "whatever you call its" WILL be treated the same as "marriage" .

Prop8 is still wrong, of course, and the court did fail. We must over turn it. But I wonder how long it takes The Forces of H8 to figure out that they didn't really succeed doing what they thought they were doing.

If you are of a mind, you can read the actual court decision here and decide for yourself.

Or, read Justice Moreno's dissenting opinion wherein he states
"In my view, the aim of Proposition 8 and all similar initiative measures that seek to alter the California Constitution to deny a fundamental right to a group that has historically been subject to discrimination on the basis of a suspect classification, violates the essence of the equal protection clause of the California Constitution and fundamentally alters its scope and meaning."

So, yes, I'm hopeful. And no, not just because of what MLK, Jr. has famously said about the arc of justice being long, but always bending toward justice.

I'm hopeful because freedom and equality are the cornerstone's of this country's foundation. As John Culhane points out, "all that's been removed by Prop 8 is the word 'marriage' rather than the rights that go with it".

I'm hopeful because God's Rainbow Tribe is nothing if not resilient. No, we won't back down

I'm hopeful because, as one person said, "Our love didn't begin with a court decision and it won't end with one either."

I'm hopeful because, well, as my dear friend, Bill Urban, one of the most courageous fairies I've even known who fought the good fight and now rests eternally in the arms of Jesus, used to say, "Being gay ain't for sissies."

This isn't the worst thing that's happened to our community, and it won't be the last discrimination we'll experience, even after we have gained marriage equality.

We LGBT people, God's Rainbow Tribe, are the last line drawn in the sands of discrimination. It's a hard line, to be sure, but we need to remember that, in the end, it is made of sand.

Not cement.

Fifteen states already have some form of marriage equality - including California. We've got thirty-five more to go.

That's a lot of work ahead of us, children.

So, let's dry our tears, blow our noses, pick up our socks and get back to work.

As we - well, some of us of a 'certain age' - used to sing, "O Freedom! Ain't gonna let nobody turn me around."

Let's let that anthem be tonight's lullaby.

8 comments:

it's margaret said...

I must be crazy (not that I'm implying anything!) --but, I am strangely filled with hope tonight --in all this.

Maybe it's just my activist bone wiggling....

Clyde said...

Thanks for the Joan Baez video. It was a great end to this screwy day here in CA.

jmcleod76 said...

Hmm, thanks for the hopeful post. Good thoughts throughout, but I must quibble with one sentence: "We LGBT people, God's Rainbow Tribe, are the last line drawn in the sands of discrimination."

I'm queer, and must admit I sometimes feel that way, but if only that were true ... There are still others who have it worse, I think. Even if the LGBT community were completely embraced by everyone in the world tomorrow, there would still be discrimination against someone. And, for my part, even as a queer female, I could do a lot worse than being white and middle class in the United States.

Bill said...

In any confrontation with as much passion on both sides as we have seen, you are going to have winners and losers. The winners are going to go and celebrate and the losers are going to start planning their next attack.

There are lessons to be learned in all of this. One is not to get too complacent. Look at all the states where we have won. Don’t you think that the losers in those confrontations aren’t planning their counter attack just as we are planning in California?

Another lesson is that if we don’t start looking for win-win solutions this cycle of attack and counter attack will go on forever. Whenever you create law and force feed something to the masses you will have happy and un-happy campers. But where you can educate and sway public opinion you can create lasting change with less confrontation and with less chance of being reversed.

Two examples come to mind. The first was prohibition which oddly enough was a child of both the political and religious far, far, far right. Those laws were forced on all the people with the end result that most people just ignored them and in the process creating an illegal but highly profitable business. The lawlessness and bloodshed which followed convinced most of the country that it had been a disastrous mistake. That mistake was repealed.

The other example is the civil rights movement in this country. It was a long, hard process which for the most part tried to follow a confrontational but non-violent model. It took time to tell the story and educate the masses, but with the end result that we will probably never see the gains rolled back. The lessons taught were that these were people just like everyone else and they deserved equal rights and equal protection under the law.

So while I am sure that the folks against “Prop 8” are planning their counter attack, I think that in the long-run it will be enlightenment through education that produces the desired long term effects. We need to convince people that we are not abominations as told in Leviticus; that we are not the stereotypes they conjure in their minds; but that we are decent, law abiding citizens who want nothing more than what is the right of all citizens this country.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

I'm not into 'my discrimination boo-boo is bigger than your discrimination boo-boo' and I don't believe there is a hierarchy of prejudice, but let me just say this:

I've noted that the number of 'dumb blonde' jokes and decreased sharply since Hillary ran for POTUS, and no one dare say the 'n' word publicly, but it's still okay for kids to say, 'Oh, that's so gay . . ."

I'm just sayin'.

jmcleod76 said...

No, I didn't think you were suggesting there is a hierarchy of prejudice, and really it was a very minor quibble, mainly with the idea that there could be a "last line in the sands of discrimination." I see it more like a spiral or an onion. Once we get past the outer layers of blatant discrimination, there are always more subtle layers underneath to peel away.

But your point about "that's so gay" and the like is a good one. I complee agreetly! Sadly, the (conservative) religious overtones that shadow the struggle for LGBT civil rights legitimize that kind of thing. That's why I'm so glad there are progressive clergy (like you and, who knows, maybe, just maybe, someday, me) out there shifting the balance of the rhetoric away from the idea of God as some massive ill-tempered homophobe on high.

Oh, and, by the way ... Hi. My name is Jaime. I enjoy your blog. So rude of me to make my first comment here a criticism (even if it was, truly, a very very minor quibble). Thanks and Be Well!

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

No problem, jmcleod76. I understand. Come back and visit any time and comment as often as you like. I'm far from perfect and often comments left here help to hold up a particular angle or notion I have not yet considered.

walter said...

Beloved, if there is anything (not here but excitedly there where we are reading)that we may learn from Thurman' Jesus and The Disinherited is that humility cannot be humiliated. The Genius of the Master has been just this at least according to Thurman, humility cannot be humiliated.

Now before I go on blogging (interesting term to evangelize in what seems to have become a compulsive chit- chat) we have to bow to Mother Elizabeth that teaches us to appreciate cyber space. And I may add in the company of Rabbi Heschel that no space should be made idol of, never the more cyber space.

This being said I tell you beloved to watch out carefully because Elizabeth can really love hard. Note for example how she has published some of my comments that in otehr situations may have been judged as gender biased, referring to my language in opening and sharing prayer. Yes, on second thought I still say I believe she can love hard.

Now back to what is at heart to me in this occasion. The humility to which I refer and that I firmly believe cannot be humiliated is the humility of a beginning. In this case my reaching out to a blogger on Telling Secrets and God willingness to re-center important civil rights concerns and the institution of marriage.

But you see beloved I am not a civil right activist and I will not be a civil right veteran. I am a monastic theologian that believes in affirmative mysticism before any from of affirmative action for whatever minority challanged by bigotry. There it is, I have said it: It is out of my rib-cage.

Walter Vitale, Buffalo Shepherd