Why I Hope

(Proudly cross-posted at C4O Democrats)

"Marriage isn't a special right. Marriage is a civil right." - Robin Tyler, one of the plaintiffs in the Prop H8 lawsuit currently before the California Supreme Court

Yesterday, something amazing occurred. On a beautiful and sunny Sunday in Southern California, people came to speak up, speak out, come out, and make a difference. And on what was supposed to be a normal Sunday at Saddleback Church, they witnessed today's civil rights movement in full force.

Golly gee whiz, what a mistake it was to tell a concerned citizen that she wasn't allowed to come into church!

Earlier this month, Robin Tyler, her wife, and a few of their friends believed Saddleback Pastor Rick Warren when he said he wanted dialogue with LGBT people. That's why they asked him if they could come to church this Sunday and show him & his congregation some public service announcements on LGBT civil rights that were produced by gettoknowusfirst.com and allornotatall.org, their grassroots groups. They figured that since Rick Warren has told the media he was "misunderstood" on Prop H8, that he'd like to clear the air and show his congregation how accepting he and the church really are. But to their surprise, he refused their peace offering and told them he may reconsider some other time.

Even though Warren wears a smile on his face as he says he's not a homophobe, his actions don't match his words. He may have wanted to simply sweep his "gay problem" under the rug in time to bask in the spotlight of being christened as "America's Pastor" at Barack Obama's Presidential Inauguration this Tuesday, but Robin Tyler, her friends from all over California, and a number of us local civil rights activists had something else in mind. Warren didn't want us in his church, so we took our message of equality directly to his parishioners and the surrounding community just outside the church.

Warren may not have wanted to turn this into a spectacle, but he couldn't stop what was happening outside. We held our signs. We took over all four corners of the intersection. Oh yes, and we even talked to people outside the front entrance! And did I mention that the local newspapers and teevee stations came with their cameras and notebooks? Oops.

This is the problem we're currently facing. The forces behind Prop H8 want to hide their bigotry behind a facade of "tolerance". That's how they were able to squeak by with 52.3% of the vote last November.

But you know what? The days of "soft bigotry" are over! We will no longer allow them to get away with H8. Now, we must expose them for what they are as we tell of our own message of love and acceptance.

Most voters in California, including many who attend churches like Saddleback, aren't hateful people. Rather, they haven't learned the truth of how there is no "separate but equal" and how thousands of families all over this state are being hurt by this myth being propped up by Prop H8. And once we work our hardest to share with these voters what marriage equality really means, which is protecting and strengthening all families, they will support our movement for equal rights.

So now, let's get that message out! Let's support the good grassroots groups I mentioned earlier. Let's support organizations like Courage Campaign that are already at work preparing a winning campaign to end H8. Oh yes, and let's start to support the great newlocal groups that are part of this statewide and nationwide civil rights movement.

This is why I have hope today. The beautiful struggle for equality isn't over just yet. Rather, the best is yet to come. No matter what the forces of H8 try to do to us, love and equality and justice will ultimately prevail.

Tags: C4O Democrats, California, civil rights, LGBT rights, Marriage Equality, obama inauguration, Orange County, President Obama, progressive values, Prop H8, Rick Warren, saddleback church (all tags)



Tips? Flames? Suggestions?

Please send them here...

http://www.couragecampaign.org/PowerTheR epeal

Thanks! :-)

by atdleft 2009-01-19 08:11AM | 0 recs
Re: Why I Hope
Thanks for teaching love, not H8.
On this MLK day, we should all think about what we can do to further the cause of equality for all.
by LakersFan 2009-01-19 09:28AM | 0 recs
How very true.

On this MLK day, we should all think about what we can do to further the cause of equality for all.

That's why I'm so excited about this coming weekend! I'll be in LA for two great campaign trainings. And when I come back, I'd love to share what I will have learned with you. Now with Obama taking office and Prop H8 in the national spotlight, this is the perfect time for the LGBT civil rights movement to take the next step in ending "legal" discrimination.

by atdleft 2009-01-19 09:47AM | 0 recs
Re: How very true.

And that's why we love you. Because you don't just talk the talk, you walk to walk. You set a great example, and make your fellow Democrats proud.

by LakersFan 2009-01-19 01:03PM | 0 recs
Re: Why I Hope

Very nice!  This is how change happens.

by Steve M 2009-01-19 09:38AM | 0 recs
I am hopeful

that the Iowa Supreme Court will allow gay marriage when it hands down a ruling later this year in Varnum v Brien.

Then we'll have to fight to make sure Republicans aren't able to pass a Prop 8-style referendum. Fortunately, it's not that easy to get an initiative on the ballot in Iowa. The soonest they could do it would be 2011, and the Democrats controlling the Iowa legislature might be able to prevent that from happening.

by desmoinesdem 2009-01-19 10:06AM | 0 recs
So am I.

I'm also hopeful that the California Supreme Court will overturn H8 as unconstitutional. Our state is quite unique in that this court has actually determined that LGBT people are a "suspect class" deserving of civil rights protections afforded to other minority groups. And especially considering this, there's no way the pro-H8 forces can convince the court that Prop H8 was really an "amendment" and not a revision meant to deny gay & lesbian couples a fundamental right.

I just wonder which decision will come first, California's or Iowa's. Oral arguments here begin in March, so a final ruling will probably come in May or June. Are oral arguments continuing in Iowa?

by atdleft 2009-01-19 10:13AM | 0 recs
oral arguments are over

but the ruling is not expected until this spring at the earliest.

I am hoping for May or June, which would be after the legislative session is over. I don't think Culver would be stupid enough to call the legislature back in session following the Supreme Court ruling (which is what the GOP will want), so with any luck it would be January 2010 before any Prop 8-type measure could even be considered in the Iowa legislature.

The longer people have to get used to the idea of gay marriage, and see that the sky won't fall, the better off we will be.

by desmoinesdem 2009-01-20 04:04AM | 0 recs
Re: Why I Hope

Today om NPR, Terri Gross asked civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis on NPR how he felt about those who argue that civil rights for racial minorities are completely different from civil rights for those of different sexual orientations.  He was clear and unequivocal.  Civil rights means civil rights for ALL.  Neither race nor sexuality nor anything else may be used as grounds to deny civil rights.  He related restrictions on gay marriage to anti-miscegenation laws and quoted MLK.  Just as King had argued that "races do not fall in love, individuals fall in love," the same, he argued, hold true for LGBT Americans.

Take a listen: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story .php?storyId=99560979

by Strummerson 2009-01-19 01:43PM | 0 recs
Gosh...while driving home tonight,

listened to John Lewis speak at the same interview...Can't say it any better than what you stated above...

Here's Congressmen's own words in 2003 at Boston Globe...

We are now at such a crossroads over same-sex couples' freedom to marry. It is time to say forthrightly that the government's exclusion of our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters from civil marriage officially degrades them and their families. It denies them the basic human right to marry the person they love. It denies them numerous legal protections for their families.

This discrimination is wrong. We cannot keep turning our backs on gay and lesbian Americans. I have fought too hard and too long against discrimination based on race and color not to stand up against discrimination based on sexual orientation. I've heard the reasons for opposing civil marriage for same-sex couples. Cut through the distractions, and they stink of the same fear, hatred, and intolerance I have known in racism and in bigotry.

Some say let's choose another route and give gay folks some legal rights but call it something other than marriage. We have been down that road before in this country. Separate is not equal. The rights to liberty and happiness belong to each of us and on the same terms, without regard to either skin color or sexual orientation.

http://www.boston.com/news/globe/editori al_opinion/oped/articles/2003/10/25/at_a _crossroads_on_gay_unions/

by louisprandtl 2009-01-19 05:18PM | 0 recs
I heard that too

and I was so impressed with him, his integrity...   I already knew I respected him, but my regard climbed into the stratosphere when I heard him on "civil rights rights are for all."  (a paraphrase)

by sarany 2009-01-20 03:55AM | 0 recs


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