Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Do Something About It

Longtime readers know I tend to stay away from overtly political discussions on this blog. I do so for many reasons, including the fact that politics gets reduced to binaries of being for or against something that it's so difficult to explore a position on a topic. In other words, I have to know firmly what I think before I say it because my opinion will be judged. Often, in overtly political discussions, we are not allowed to examine perspectives. We are just supposed to have one.

But I was glad to learn of this article in LAist that explores the passage of Proposition 8 in California last week, which bans gay marriage. Since the passage of Proposition 8, there has been much outrage in gay communities, and this article ponders what might have happened if these protests had taken place before the election. In other words, where were the energy and activism before the election? There were signs and bumper stickers, but where were the marches that people are calling for now? It's a pet peeve of mine that people say they want change but don't do much about it but send money and put on a bumper sticker.

Like a lot of people, I'm against gay marriage because I'm against marriage in general. My views align most closely with those of Beyond Marriage; there are lots of other viewpoints on this side of the issue online elsewhere, too. Yes, as long as marriage is allowed for some, I think it should be allowed for all. And Da Man and I plan to marry on a certain date next year since it's now legal in CT (we had a civil union in 2005, but marriage is now allowed). But, in general, I question why we privilege some relationships over others as a society.

I probably won't ever march for gay marriage because of my personal feelings about it. Yes, I'll take advantage of the rights marriage offers, and my voting will always line up in support of marriage equality. But I can't help but wonder what might have happened in CA if those who really, really wanted gay marriage to happen had really gotten out and done something, if there had been the same collective action on the against side as there had been on the for side. Frankly, I think Proposition 8 would have fallen easily.

And this is part of my larger annoyance about local politics in general, the way that we wait for someone else to do it. Am I just as complicit in that? At times, yes. I do volunteer for area nonprofits now and then to do grantwriting and lead workshops. I've written annual reports and press releases. Have I done enough? That's for each person to answer on her or his own after defining "enough."

But I do think that, if people want things to happen, they have to do something about it.

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