Nov 9, 2009

BOO MAINE, RISE BRAVE AMERICA

Yesterday I woke up at noon and spent my afternoon lying on the couch watching TV. I ran across the movie Milk and was about to change it because of my previously discussed feelings of anger toward Sean Penn but… I can’t stand the man but it cannot be denied he is an amazing actor, the motherf*cker had the nerve to make me forget it was him and before I knew it I was riding along with Harvey on his quest for equality in the 70s.

I am a sucker for movies. Good movies touch me for days and I am left with weeks of an aftertaste that haunt me. When I was 14 years old I spent a month depressed over the death of the people aboard Titanic, Kill Bill left me with an eagerness to learn Japanese and martial arts, Ratatouille made me want to be a chef instead of a writer, and I think my family it’s still trying to forget that summer I saw Gone with the Wind and walked around talking like Scarlett O’Hara (it wasn't pretty).

Milk was a movie that made me feel even more than usual because the issue it’s so close to my heart. I have plenty of out and closeted gay friends and family members and there is nothing than incenses me more than people with no “tolerance” for homosexuality. I am not even comfortable with the word “tolerance” since the dictionary defines it as “capacity for endurance or the act of allowing something”. Homosexuality shouldn’t be something to endure or allow to happen by those of us who are heterosexual. The same way heterosexuality isn’t “tolerated” but simply accepted as a natural thing homosexuality should be.

When Maine voted “Yes” last week for Prop-1 I wasn’t angry (okay I was) but more than anything I was sad. I was sad because I thought we were moving forward and then something like this happens and the disappointment feels so bitter. It wasn’t as disappointing as Prop-8 in California was but it was a disappointment anyway. I want this country that it’s my home now to be as good as it can possibly be. Some people might argue that since I am an immigrant only I have no right to want to change it and should be happy that I am allowed to be here, count my blessings and shut the fuck up. And to them I say that I left my country without a battle, I left it without ever having the chance to fight to make it better. This is my second chance now to make the place live in a place I respect, love and I’m proud to call home.

My friend Erin was livid last week over the Maine’s loss (she is the weirdest republican) and all I could think of was to tell her that progress cannot be stopped any longer and sooner rather than later the country will see that their archaic views on what a marriage should be have not place in the law. As rational as I wanted to be when I told her this inside I was feeling just like her, which is why I decided against making a comment on the blog then, because I was so upset I didn’t want to sound like a radical.

After seeing Milk yesterday I realized that I am, all of us are incredibly lucky to be here in the U.S and even though the battle seems impossible and loses like the one in Maine and California earlier this year makes us despair, I am now filled with a new sense of hope. Hope that no matter how many steps we take in the wrong direction what is right and what should be will one way or another prevail. Because we have seen it happen time and time again here.

Only 145 years ago white people thought that black people were property, that they were inferior beings, that five blacks amounted to one whole being, that a few of them could only come close to the value of a one white person. Only 62 years ago we women weren’t considered smart enough to vote. Our opinions weren’t as valid as those of men.

One person in my acquaintance who for religious reasons does not support, condone or accept homosexuality as anything but a sin, told me he didn’t understand why the cause was so important to me, why I cared. He said that the “issue” should be battled by homosexuals only and that the rest of us shouldn’t take sides.

What if only Black people fought for their rights back before abolition? What if those uninvolved didn’t care and didn’t fight. Justice has no color, or gender, no religion, or sexual "preference" (another word I have a problem with since homosexuality is neither a choice, nor an inclination or a preference). What if we sat back and never fought for what was right except when what is right directly affect us? How can we sit back and ignore the rights of others? What if they were our rights? Wouldn’t we want others to fight along with us?

I understand the problem people have with homosexuality. I understand that some people are repelled by the idea of homosexual sex. That some people think of the act as only anal sex, penetration, fucking, and fornication, a dirty and unnatural deed. But most of them have no problem with lesbian sex. The double standard is galling! What I don’t understand is what they think is important to keep marriage as a union between a man and a woman. They are worried about the corruption of the sanctity of marriage. As my favorite blogger (who happens to be a flaming gay guy) would say "Bitch please!" People don’t respect the “sanctity” of marriage anymore regardless if they are gay or straight so why deny a group of individuals the right that other of us have? Who are we to decide who gets married and who doesn’t? The church has the right to deny marrying a man with another and a woman with another woman, but the state should protect, deliver and offer each and every right, benefit and opportunity to every single one of the people that reside in it regardless of how some people feel about how others live their life.


The banner for Maine’s Prop-1 is disturbingly obvious in its attempt to convey a need to protect the American Family. Protect them from what exactly? I am not sure. I am incredibly annoyed by the faces of the couple with the two kids who smile beneath the lines “Stand for Marriage”. I am annoyed because they don’t get it. We stand for marriage, those of us who believe is everyone’s right to make the unrealistic and hallow promise of loving someone until death. We stand for a marriage that should include all and exclude none. Some go as far as to say the term “marriage” is taken so they should find their own. I don't even want to touch that one because this post will never end.
As upset as I am for Prop-1 passing I am filled with the sense of wonder the movie left in me. Against all odds, when faced against shameless bigotry and narrow values, victory was theirs. How the movie ended is meaningless. I am not saying that the death of Harvey Milk was meaningless, what I am saying is that the death of a man who didn’t sit, didn’t conform and didn’t rest, couldn’t stop progress from occurring and makes me see Maine as nothing more but a stumble on our way to victory.


America is brave, because when people everywhere were still hiding their homosexuality, here in the U.S. they were fighting for what is right. Back at home indifference is a disease that helps us in some cases and works against us in others. I don’t see the kind of progress happening here happening any time soon back at home because nobody cares. Because even the ones affected don’t care and maybe because they are all afraid of what might happen. People here are never afraid it seems. They shout, they march, they speak up, they fight for the rights that are theirs and I am so eager to do the same.

So bravo U.S. for fighting the good fight for so long. I know we want to despair and want to give into the hopelessness of another failed battle. But there is nothing else to do but fight and nowhere else to go but up. President Obama signed the Matthew Sheppard act into law just a few weeks ago and with the flick of a pen made a move that now protects the LGBT community from hate crimes against them. It is not a shield against bigotry. It won’t protect them from name calling, humiliations or even physical blows but it will protect other young Matthews from being killed and hung from a fence from having their death treated as any other crime, it will make the perpetrators pay a harsher sentence.

So, Maine enjoy your victory while you have it. Wallow in the mean spirited joy of having taken someone’s right away from them. In 50 years when the country in its entirety defines marriage as the union between two consenting adults you will be seen by the future the same way we see now those who thought themselves above a Black person.

The future is coming, equality is here, move along or get out of the way.

5 comments:

Fearsome Tycoon said...

What I don’t understand is what they think is important to keep marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

The purpose of marriage law, historically speaking, is to protect women from the intrinsic economic and social disadvantages of being the people who get pregnant (even women who can't get pregnant are affected by the social arrangement due to the fact that most women do). Without marriage law, a man could simply abandon his wife and children to poverty--and oh, by the way, he would keep the house and the bank accounts.

This economic disparity simply does not exist in homosexual relationships involving two or more persons of the same sex. No one gets anyone else pregnant, so there's no reason for the law to step in and make anyone legally obligated to take care of anyone else.

Gay people can live together. They can work wherever they want. They can join a religion that blesses their relationships, or they can start their own. It's a free country. What gay marriage laws would do is obligate one person to financially support the other in the event of a divorce, and there's simply no socio-economic justification for that.

Mel82 said...

Your comment would make sense if we were still living in a society where marriage was based on the protection of a woman because they were dependent upon a man. Since that is no longer the case I don’t understand why you say that marriage is a union that people enter into simply to make the other party responsible for their future.
I did not marry my husband for socio-economic reasons as you so coldly put it. I didn’t marry him because I knew the moment we exchanged vows he was going to become immediately responsible for my future economic stability. I did not marry him because I thought “Oh, now I can pop a few babies without worry because he is responsible by law”
I married him because I love him and wanted to exchange with an unrealistic promise of eternal love. Because I wanted to make official our commitment for companionship, love and the promise that our happiness were intertwined. I do not think my love, my commitment to my relationship more valid or more important than others.
Any children that may or may not come from these unions are protected by law and my husband and I are responsible and duty bound to protect those children. If I were to adopt a child the same rule will apply. My union with my husband, the two of us and whatever children we may or may not have are a circle, a knot bound by law that is practically unbreakable. A man who is with another man and a woman who is with another woman should have the same rights I get to have. A law should covered ALL of its citizens, not just the ones we think are “normal, acceptable or traditionally appropriate”. The
Marriage by law (since there is supposedly a separation of church and state) should be an union between two consenting adults who promise to love and cherish each other, forsaking all others, in sickness in health, in good times and bad. The state has no reason whatsoever to deny this unions since proliferation of the race isn’t a requirement to marry. Is reproduction the only reason behind marriage? Isn’t that what you are stating, that since reproduction isn’t occurring then a marriage isn’t necessary, then shouldn’t that apply also to those unions were either or both parties are incapable of conceiving? Should the state go around making sure that only people with hope for progeny get married?
And If, like you said, socio-economic reasons are the only reason why marriage is still being practiced by society shouldn’t it be the choice of the people getting married if they enter in such a burdening, constricting, responsibility-ridden trap? It shouldn’t be up to the state to decide who enter in such contracts. If someone choose to become economically responsible for someone else, it should be their choice and not the state.

talia said...

I get so frustrated sometimes when people start talking about this issue. One thing that really bothers me is when people say "gay rights" There's no such thing, it's human rights dammit. But you're right, justice will prevail. No matter how long it takes it will. That's my only consolation. I feel like society as a whole is still in its childhood stage. We can only help by speaking out and standing up for what is right and not let ignorant fools make us loose hope.

Mel82 said...

Talia,

Well said. I am sure when all civil right movements reached their peak there were others who made the movemenet take a step or two back, lose some footing and fight to stand back up, but the reality is there is no fighting this. It IS going to happen.

talia said...

yeah I don't get it how these people call themselves real Americans. They stand against everything this country was founded upon. And I meant "lose" in my last comment =]