Maybe the single serious bleak spot on Tuesday’s brilliant electoral map was the success of Prop. 8 in California, amending the state’s constitution to outlaw same-sex marriage. Funded by millions of dollars from the conservative Christians who nearly took over state politics in the early 1990s, by deep Mormon pockets, and with a fear-driven campaign that made McCain/Palin look like smiling purveyors of happy pills, the initiative drew a surprising 52 percent support despite the huge Obama turnout.
What this means is that thousands of couples who have married in the last few months now face the prospect of the state revoking that status. Hundreds of thousands more lose the right. A jarring reality, given the sense of new dawn elsewhere in the country.
But a friend and fellow writer, Paul Festa (whose marriage is one of those now truly at risk) writes persuasively in The Daily Beast that opponents of Prop. 8 see some silver lining in the numbers — 52 percent support for this proposition, compared to 61 percent support for a same-sex marriage ban in 2000.
If you really want to know who will decide this issue if it comes up in 2012, ask 14-to-17 year olds, who will be voting in their first presidential election. Those straight supremacists playing with Mormon campaign contributions? Culture war dead-enders. Last night the gay movement lost a battle. The war, launched in the early 1950s by activists Harry Hay, Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon, we’re winning decisively.
Worth a read.