I received a mass email today from the Courage Campaign, which is spearheading activism around the freedom to marry movement and against Prop 8 in the United States. With yesterday's victory which saw Prop 8 struck down as unconstitutional by Judge Vaughn Walker barely hot off the presses, the religious right is up and raring to go. The most salient aspects of the email follows:
"The American Family Association, part of the coalition of right-wing religious groups that spearheaded Proposition 8 in 2008, is asking its 2.3 million supporters to pressure Congress to impeach Judge Vaughn Walker. . . . AFA is using Judge Walker's sexual orientation to attack him as a "black-robed tyrant whose own lifestyle choices make it impossible to believe he could be impartial." Like the National Organization for Marriage, the AFA is rallying religious extremists to build a national backlash against Judge Walker's historic ruling striking down Prop 8. "
The idea that loving gay people who want to commit their love to one another is more of a blight on marriage than say, God-lovin' bigamists in Utah and other states (many of whom could be members of the AFA), wife and child abusers (many of whom could be members of the AFA . . . uhhh - Mormon child brides anyone?), alcoholics (many of whom...), people who engage in dishonesty and infidelity (many of whom...), and so on and so forth. How 'bout divorce? Seems like maybe divorce might also be on the radar of the AFA. Nope. Not so much. They don't really seem to care if ya cheat on your spouse, beat your wife, have ten wives to beat, or drink so much you couldn't possibly be an actual partner in a marriage. They don't seem to care if your marriage is good or healthy or equal. They don't seem to care if you're a dirty old man who wants to marry a few twelve year old girls. They don't seem to care if ya get divorced, at least not enough to campaign against it. What they really, really, really want to prevent, is the scourge of two men or two women lovingly commiting their lives to one another. Yeah - cause that, it's just, you know, wrong.
So the AFA pisses me off. (Okay, truth be told, they make me feel murderous). But the thing that really makes me heartsick is regular America. Not the far-right religious bigots. They are who they are and they're not going to change any more than the Taliban is going to decide Muslim women should be free and equal participants in society.
But the regular, average, everyday Americans. John and Jane Doe, with their kids Betty and Jimmy, who voted for Obama and deep in their heart of hearts, know that this entire debate, from its very foundations, is wrong. Where is their voice? Where is their outrage? Why do they persist in letting people like the AFA speak for them? It's this that makes me the saddest, and the least hopeful about the coming struggle for marriage rights (and human rights) for LGBT folks in the US, which is still busy dithering around on its ridiculous "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.
So I'm gonna end this by sending out big love and hugs and courage to my queer American pals, their families and their kids. And to Judge Vaughn Walker, who does not deserve to bear the brunt of such hatefulness. My heart and my anger and my voice is with you...
And for goodness sake, America - the straight but not narrow, wherever you are... Stand-up and say "Nope. Nuh-uh. No Way! Not in my name!" Drown out that hateful, crazy, vocal minority.