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November 12th, 2008 Byron Beck | Queer Window
 

Homos, Heal Thyselves

     
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Juan & Byron: Domestically partnered but not married.

The election of a black man as president has proven one thing: If you believe in something that seems impossible, it can and will happen.

That’s a timely lesson in the wake of several defeats last week, when three states passed anti-gay measures. Among them: supposedly liberal California, where 52 percent of voters approved Proposition 8, which limits marriage to a man and woman.

So, taking a page from Barack Obama’s persistence in the face of America’s resistance to electing a black president, I’m here to tell everybody who voted against the rights of gays that we’re not going away.

So, all you good Christian folk—especially my Mormon, Catholic and Russian Orthodox friends—are you ready for us to knock on your door? Can you handle the fact that, as each anti-gay measure passes, the passions of queer people everywhere will no longer be contained? Do you realize that I will shame you, just like you have tried to do to me for all these years?

Truth is, it’s not all about getting married, is it? As you sit in your pew, thinking about how proud God would be of you and your voting record, what you’re really doing is assuaging your guilt for denying others the same rights that you, and your new president, have fought so hard for.

Now, is that really what Jesus would do?

I won’t fault Obama if queer concerns aren’t his highest priority as he wrestles with two wars and a crappy economy. As a student of history, Obama knows how mucky it got during Bill Clinton’s first term when Clinton established his “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy for our armed forces.

But, frankly, we don’t need Obama to help us. Not yet. To paraphrase Luke 4:23 from that book that’s always getting shoved in gay faces: Homos, it’s time to heal thyselves.

We’ve tried to play by the rules that have hurt us more than helped us. We’ve gone through the courts, only to be denied. Less than 48 hours after the Cali tragedy, on Thursday the Supreme Court refused to hear Martinez v. Kulongoski, the court case that would’ve thrown out Measure 36, Oregon’s own Prop. 8, and that’s something my partner, the lead plaintiff, and I have a stake in.

We’ve patiently ignored the lies of those, from Anita Bryant to James Dobson, who declare they love us but ensure we can’t legally share our lives with the ones we love.

I’ve tried and tried. And I’m done trying. After years of being shoved down, now is the time for queers to shove back at any place where hate is allowed to thrive. And to keep shoving until we get what we want…and deserve.

We can’t outnumber those of you who don’t support us. Neither could Obama. He wasn’t elected because he was black. He was elected because he was the best person for the job. Similarly, we won’t get our rights just because we are gay. We will get them because we will persist in showing that, regardless of our sexuality, we are entitled to the same inalienable rights as every other American, including, God forbid, holy marriage.

If Obama can win, so can we.

 
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