Proposition 8. This is all I’m really going to talk about this week, because I really fucking hate it. It would be easy for me to not fucking hate it; I’m dating a boy, and I’m not planning on getting married anytime soon, and even if neither of those things were true I live in a state where same-sex marriage is legal. But despite all that I care a lot about this, and here is why: Because no matter where you are in the country or the world and no matter who you are currently dating, it’s a slap in the face for any gay person to be reminded that there are still people out there who think we are a danger to their families, harmful to their children, and a threat to the nation. It’s even worse to be reminded that those people have the legislative power to control important aspects of our lives, and we don’t. I care because even if you don’t care about marriage – and a lot of people don’t – states with anti-gay marriage laws have higher rates of anti-gay hate crimes. They’re less likely to have GSAs in high schools, or support systems for gay teens. This means more murders like the ones of Matthew Sheperd or Duanna Johnson; this means more disproportionately high suicides of gay teens. I care because it’s absolutely awful to me that some people care more about what their child might learn in health class than they care about another child’s emotional health and physical safety. Lastly, I care because as someone who does live in a state where same-sex marriage is legal, I know that none of the things that the yes-on-8 campaign says were true. Nothing has changed about anything our children are taught in school; amendments about marriage are about marriage only, and not curriculum. No churches have been forced to perform marriages that they object to; same-sex marriage is a purely legal privilege. No Catholic churches or charities have had to close; there have been changes, but that comes from the revelation of child abuse, which has nothing to do with GLBT rights.
And even if none of this applies to you, you should care about Proposition 8 too. You (and here I am assuming you are a straight person who has so far been relatively unconcerned with this debate) should care because you know gay people, you care about them. Even if you don’t think you do, you’re wrong. They are your mailman, your graduate school thesis advisor, your kid’s teacher, your coworker, your boss. You might not know they’re gay, and maybe you won’t know until they lose their job for it or until they have to go into counseling as 14-year-olds because the bullying is so bad. But when you do something like vote yes on Prop 8, or even something like not particularly caring about Prop 8, you are hurting all those people immensely. And even if we pretend that somehow, you live in a bio-bubble of straight people, this still matters to you. When the government starts making decisions about who does and doesn’t deserve to marry, it hurts your relationships. If you’re married now, or planning on ever doing it, doesn’t it bother you to know that it’s not actually a legitimization of your love, but just your winning a popularity contest of whose relationships are most socially acceptable? And doesn’t it make you uncomfortable on some level that legislating anyone’s morality is okay now? I feel like it should. Maybe this marriage issue doesn’t affect you, but it sets a precedent of one group of people being able to decide things about another group’s life based on what makes them comfortable. When something that does matter to you comes under their scrutiny – the shows you like to watch, or the school you want to send your kid to, or the career you want to pursue – it won’t feel so benign.
That’s all for now, folks. I promise I will hate some other, more varied stuff next week. But to be honest, I’m still going to be mad about this for a while.