I am ashamed to be Californian today, and perhaps even more so to be an Angeleno. Our people are a mix of economic moderates and social liberals, or so I had thought. Live and let live seems to be the motto for many in Los Angeles, where gays and straights and people of all walks of life, all colors, all inclinations, mingle in front of Pink’s to get a hotdog and look forward to the Gold Line extension that’s coming in 2009.
So WHY THE FUCK did you people vote to take away the marital rights of gays and lesbians to enjoy the same benefits as everybody else? Why is it that if I get in a long-term relationship with a man, our state government will no longer recognize us as family? What happens if I’m in a medical accident–do my parents or cousins get to make the decision for me as to whether to pull the plug, and not my husband-not-husband? And what happens regarding kids I might have with a partner who is less than a spouse?
This decision by the voters is absolutely no better in spirit than the ruling of Plessy vs. Ferguson, a legacy that shamed the Deep South, and shamed the hell out of me when I lived in Oklahoma (even though it was never really that southern, or that deep). Separate but equal is never equal, and the 52% or so of voters who voted for Proposition 8 showed themselves to be selfish bigots. Their mild distaste for seeing homos kiss made them feel justified in trivializing the real need hard-working Californians who just happen to be attached to someone of the same sex have for the protections only marriage provides. Worse, they allowed themselves to be fooled by the Yes on 8 folks’ lies about churches and schools being forced to promote a gay agenda, when we ALREADY have had gay marriage and NONE of that shit has happened because of it.
As I drove home last night from watching the election at a friend’s house, the joy I should have felt at Obama’s victory was drowned in the sorrow I felt at the step backwards my state has taken. My car’s stereo was playing my newly purchased copy of Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde, his sorrowful symphonic masterpiece composed at a time in his life when he’d discovered himself to be deathly ill and had just lost a daughter to Scarlet Fever. Mahler’s masterpiece really overcame me, matching my mood perfectly. I nearly wept with sadness at how close we had come to true equality, and how stupid fucks took it away just because they think butt sex is nasty and against Jesus.
Das Lied von der Erda has warm and hopeful parts as well, and so does the current state of gay marriage–though our own state is still bigoted and full of hulking moralistic dinosaurs, other states such as New York and New Jersey are gearing up for a real solid state of equality. But I mourn the state we were for just a few months.