Wednesday, November 04, 2009

You want pity because of Maine? You won't be getting it from me

We lost in Maine but I don't view it as a total defeat.

I know that we have a reason to be angry. The opposition lied, they stooped to underhanded tactics. They used the time honored false implication of "the gays are after America's children."

But in 2004, we lost a multitude of anti-gay marriage votes by double digits and the momentum was totally against us.

Last night, while we did not get all that we wanted in Maine, it was very close.

In these votes over marriage equality, the opposition may have crossed the finishing line before we did 31 times but every time we get just a little closer.

And let's not forget that we won in basic non-discrimination rights in Kalamazoo (despite the lies about the transgendered community and bathrooms) and continue to hold the lead in Washington state, which expands the rights of same-sex couples.

Not to mention that we now have an openly gay mayor in Chapel Hill, NC.

Unfortunately, all of the sadness and hyperbole will be directed towards Maine, which like a sponge will soak up all of the attention; some of it totally undeserved.

Sorry if I sound too pragmatic for some but I live in South Carolina, the state that is never on the radar regarding lgbt rights.

The lgbt community here have had the wolf at our door so many times that we could sue him for non-support.

I know the lesson not giving up when things look down and everyone has written you off.

So basically, I break it down to the following:

Forget the crap about Maine being supposedly independent and progressive because the fact of the matter is that marriage equality is still a murky issue which confuses and scares a lot of people, lgbts included.

And there is still enough uneasiness about what it could mean for the schools and children for religious right groups to exploit.

That is the reality and no amount of hand wringing or grousing about how we are "second class citizens" (and I really hate the tendency of my community to grab a catchphrase and use it to death) is going to change this fact.

But the landscape is changing. The more America sees lgbt couples, the more America sees lgbt families, and the more open and out we are, the more opportunistic charlatans like Maggie Gallagher, Brian Brown, and the rest of the "we need to protect marriage" crowd will be seen for what they are - silly clowns repeating silly catchphrases rooted in scare tactics and phony victimology of being called a "bigot."

The momentum still remains with us.

So I'm truly sorry for the folks who feel that last night was a total loss, who feel that last night is another excuse to sit in front of their computers, engage in pity parties, bring up fond memories of past street protests, or go so far as to make ignorant comments about the physical features of the opponents of equality.

Because I refuse to view last night as a loss. Any time that we can stand up and fight and educate people about our rights is never a loss.

A good fight was fought by many people and instead of contemplating about what we didn't get, why don't we take time out of our day to commend those who devoted time and effort to the cause.

The campaign workers, the volunteers, the bloggers - everyone who worked their tail off in pursuit of our equality deserve our praise and our thanks instead of the self-cannibalization that's sure to come. They deserve a big thank you instead of "see, I told you so," or "if I had run the campaign, I would have . . ."

So what do we do now that this election is over?

We continue to work for our rights and not just the right of marriage equality.

Despite the tendency of our opponents to make grand prognostications, our spirits may be diminished just a little but our backs aren't broken.

The round may have been lost, but the fight isn't over yet.

View last night as a teaching lesson.

Lgbts gaining full equality, including marriage equality, will probably be at times slow and tedious, tiring and time consuming.

There is no place for slackers or armchair warriors or those who get easily tired and discouraged.

If lgbt equality is to be achieved, it's going to have to be via sweat and toil.

There is no other choice.

There is no other alternative.

There will be no deux ex machina descending from the sky making everything right.

There will be no addendums or loopholes.

It's a job that will have to accomplished the hard way because there is no other way.

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purplesax said...

I am deeply saddened that Mainers love medical marijuana but hate gays. I am discouraged that religious zealots continue to vilify the GLBT community with outrageous lies and accusations. Our numbers continue to improve, that is true. But as a senior citizen, I do not have the luxury to wait for civil rights. My spouse and I need them now. We'll keep hobbling toward victory. I'd like to poke my cane in Maine's Big Catholic eye.

Jon said...

I like the idea of holding the NOMers feet to the fire with ballot initiatives making divorce illegal.

Alex Bales said...

Well it obviously is a defeat. But we must be patient. It'll probably take another decade at least.

James Hipps said...

Perhaps you have a point, but you really shouldn't attempt to make anyone feel guilty for being pissed off about this. In fact, perhaps this is the fuel the fire needs.

I don't think this is a matter of pity...this is a matter of basic equality.

Alvin, I would never equate the Gay Rights Movement to the Civil Rights movement, but there are parallels. Discrimination is discrimination, regardless of who it falls against. How do you think the people who marched from Selma to Montgomery in 1965 felt when they were stopped, and not allowed to progress, and someone had the nerve to say, "you won't get any pity from me"?

So again, in regards to your remark about pity, it's not pity people are's equality, and yes, this is a loss and yes, it's OK for people to be angry. That's a natural and common emotion after a loss...especially as devastating as this is. A state government offered marriage equality. A "Christian" group based in a different state rallied and spent millions of tax exempt dollars to repeal that legislation. They did lie...blatantly.

This isn't about pity...this is about what's right and doing it.

I am angered! I am pissed off that tax-exempt organizations are dictating what tax paying citizens can and can't do. It's unjust and it's not something to be forgotten. This loss has to be recognized and can NOT be tossed aside as simply as "oh well, it will get better eventually." It's that same apathy that has prevented the LGBT community from progressing anymore than it has.

I respect you Alvin, but I, nor anyone else wants your pity. We want justice and equality.

BlackTsunami said...


it's good to have anger. What are you going to do with the anger?

It's a lot better than self-pity and I have been concerned by the ease that some of us are falling into this trap over the Maine issue.

This loss should not be tossed aside but it should not overlap all other issues.

I'm personally glad that lgbts had victories in other places even though we lost in Maine. And I think something should be said about those victories.