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Gay rights musts: (1) Bang the gavel (2) Ask social conservatives if they approve

by Jeremy Hooper

Hey "pro-family" peeps: You have taken it upon your selves to push an initiative that would amend the California constitution so that it bans same-sex unions. However, your lil' "democratic process" is not something to which you are owed as citizens! While you have the right as citizens to engage in such a dastardly undertaking, the endeavor itself is not a right that is owed to you! It is a choice you have made.

We say all this after reading this quote from Ron Prentice, chairman of a California group that will surely go down in the annals of dubious civil rights history, ProtectMarriage.com:

Those individuals demanding that they be allowed to ‘marry’ before the people have a chance to vote are demonstrating disrespect for the voters and for the democratic process,” ...“It is our hope that the justices will grant the request for a stay, so that the voters can have the opportunity to express their will with regard to affirming marriage. We’re confident that Californians will protect marriage as the union between one man and one woman.”

200806021859Shameless. This movement is simply shameless! These folks are acting like any and every one of our rights are required to be put up to a referendum. They are seriously suggesting that no pro-LGBT court decision can be valid until the people have been polled. It's debatable whether they truly have such a fundamental misunderstanding of civics, or if they just used these tired lines because they are desperate to stem the tide of acceptance. Either way, their collective uniformed arrogance on this topic knows no bounds!

Look, if support is there, the social conservatives have every right to go about their someday-to-be-recognized-as-abominable mission to alter their state's most precious governing document. Hell, they could push to have all the state's trees removed if support were in place! But to say it's "disrespectful" if a court decision that was cast under the current boundaries of the law is not stayed until opponents can change "justice for all" to "justice for those who fit a certain faith-based view of morality"? Well on an intellectual level, that line of logic is disrespectful to the very heart of cognizant thought! And on a personal level, it is disrespectful to the millions of gay people for whom the Supreme Court's ruling has provided a respectful respite from the constant barrage of disrespect that these so-called "marriage protectors" have been lobbing for years!

Good News: State Attorneys General Ask California Court to Delay Same-Sex 'Marriage' [CitizenLink]

: What San Francisco has to say about a "stay" [G-A-Y]

***'UGH!'-INDUCING UPDATE: Gay marriage measure qualifies for November ballot [Sac Bee]

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Your thoughts

You are so right on the money with this. I have a real love/hate thing going on with California's proposition form of legislation. This is one of those times I hate it. Big time.

Posted by: Todd | Jun 2, 2008 10:56:46 PM


That is what the California Secretary of State is calling this potentially marriage squashing amendment. Those fundies probably had hoped it would be called a "protect something or other" or "save our something" so that they could misconstrue it as an earth-shatteringly urgent measure to keep large green monsters from eating all human life in the galaxy . . . or protecting everyone from something equally heinous.

But LIMIT ON MARRIAGE doesn't give them that option, in fact, it might sound like something that the average political neophyte would instinctively want to vote against. "LIMIT ON MARRIAGE, those tricky bastards aren't going to limit me!"

It does have a pretty negative connotation, and might strike a rather repugnant note upon hearing the words. So, maybe Debra Brown managed to screw the fundies at least a little bit.

Posted by: Dick Mills | Jun 2, 2008 11:28:47 PM

I could not have said it better, so I'll quote Alan Hu

By Alan Hu
Usenet Posting, circa 1993

OK, so a long time ago, people in Europe used to refer to everything to the east of them as the Orient, including for example the Middle East, since orient means "east". So far, so good. This mysterious area was the source of all sorts of wonderful things like silk and spices, so the Europeans attached also sorts of exotic, mysterious connotations to the Orient. As Europeans gained a better concept of world geography, they eventually used "the Orient" and "Oriental" to refer to East and Southeast Asia, where people look "Oriental" in our current usage.

Anyway, that usage of "Oriental" has survived a long time, and it still frequently carries all of the exotic/foreign/inscrutable/mysterious connotations. These connotations happen to coincide with many of the stereotypes held of Asian Americans. Furthermore, by definition, the word "Oriental" is Eurocentric, referring to things east of Europe. For these reasons, some Asian American activist types decided that "Oriental" was a Bad Word, and that "Asian" was more accurate, less Eurocentric, and less loaded with strange connotations. No big deal, right?

Well, a lot of people didn't want to change their language usage. Some people grew up using "Oriental" and saw nothing wrong with the word. Others came from other parts of the world, where hip-activist-American-English-linguistic-evolution hadn't hit. Still others never encountered anyone aware of Asian American politics, so had never heard of this word usage change. Some people were exploiting the exotic mysticism connotations and resisted change. (Very early on, you would see articles about business and trade in Asia, whereas the travel articles would talk about visiting the Exotic Mysterious Orient.) Finally, some people were convinced that this was a typical case of left-wing-politically-correct-thought-police-mind-control (which it was) and decided in typical right-wing-politically-correct-knee-jerk-response that the word usage change was intrinsically evil and had to be resisted at all costs.

For a while, therefore, you could identify a person as being an American who was aware of and sympathetic to Asian American politics by his/her word choice. Now, however, many exploitation-types have realized that saying "Asian" instead of "Oriental" is the cool thing to do, without changing any of their stereotypes and misconceptions. (You can force a person to change his/her behavior, but you can't force a change in thought.)

The upshot is to use whatever word you feel most comfortable with, or that makes your listeners most comfortable, but don't be surprised if someone takes offense. And in the time you save by not worrying about word-usage, try to make the world a better place.

Posted by: Double T | Jun 3, 2008 1:49:34 AM

Ugh-inducing for sure, but Jeremy, why isn't there a counter-amendment being proposed? If these groups can gather 1.1 million signatures for a vote to ban marriage equality, is it so hard to imagine you could gather more than the 700k signatures needed to get a amendment to protect marriage equality. In California could that be so difficult?

Posted by: Mike C | Jun 3, 2008 2:11:23 AM

"This movement is simply shameless! These folks are acting like any and every one of our rights are required to be put up to a referendum. They are seriously suggesting that no pro-LGBT court decision can be valid until the people have been polled."

Sing it, sister!

Posted by: stojef | Jun 3, 2008 4:34:53 PM

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