Overturning Prop. H8 a victory for more than just gays

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Enterprise columnist

Seriously, how can you expect me to comment on anything else when Prop. H8 has gone down in flames. By the time this column sees ink, however, the commentary from both sides will be in abundance, and is there truly anything I could possibly add to the mix? Do you think thatÕll stop me from trying?

For starters, let me reassure all those folks out there who are sure this is the end of marriage as we know it that I raced home to check my marriage certificate upon hearing Prop. H8 was overturned, and lo, the ink hadnÕt magically disappeared. Still as married as ever, and IÕm certain that all the Jacks & Johns and Lucys & Lauras saying ÒI doÓ wonÕt do any more damage to my marriage than IÕm capable of doing myself. Same for everyone else. If your marriage crumbles and you want someone to blame, look no further than the mirror.

Although on the surface, it doesnÕt appear that I have any stake in Prop. H8Õs fate one way or the other, not being gay and happily married to a man, IÕm concerned about the larger ramifications of the proposition had it been allowed to stand. Beyond banning same-sex marriage, Prop. H8 would have set a precedent for the mainstream majority to start curtailing the rights of other people whose lifestyles and choices donÕt meet with their approval.

If gay people couldÕve been legally defined as Òless thanÓ and not deserving of the same equal rights under the law, what next? Buddhists? Vegans? Skaters? Where would we draw the line between those who are worthy of our Constitutional civil rights and those who arenÕt? Allowing the civil rights of some Americans to be stripped, simply because the majority doesnÕt approve of them, contradicts everything our country stands for. If we donÕt protect the rights of the minorities, then we donÕt really have any rights at all. The Constitution becomes meaningless.

Last weekÕs victory for the gay community was a victory for every group of Americans who fall outside the category of Mainstream White Conservative Christian. If you happen to belong to one of those groups, you should be celebrating right alongside Jack & John and Lucy & Laura. And if you are happily swimming in the mainstream, may the defeat of Prop. H8 be a lesson to you: You donÕt own this country or the Constitution. They belongs to all of us, whether you like it or not, and whether you like the rest of us or not.

Me, I happen to cherish my Constitutionally protected freedom to live my life as I choose as long as IÕm not harming anyone, and IÕm so glad all my gay friends and acquaintances can now finally say the same. Freedom feels so much better when you arenÕt the only one in the room who has it. Now we can all enjoy it together.

All that said, while celebrating our collective victory, we must remember that the Prop. H8ters are regrouping as we speak, already planning their next assault on that segment of society they fear most. In fact, the check from the Mormon Church is probably already in the mail, funding the whole appeals shebang, from cheesy lawn signs to a team of lawyers. So, no matter how good this all feels to those of us who cherish our constitutional rights, we must keep a watchful eye on the anti-American shenanigans of the Prop. H8ers.

So much energy poured into something that has no effect on them whatsoever. Imagine how things could be if the Radical Religious Right focused on the things Jesus actually told them to do rather than channeling all their time, energy and money into controlling the behavior of others. Oh, to have a ringside seat when Jesus returns and watch the self-righteousness of the RRR dissolve into dismay and panic as they discover that JesusÕ agenda and theirs donÕt exactly line up.

Imagine their anxiety when He asks how many poor people they clothed and fed, or sick people they cared for; how much kindness they extended toward strangers; how many times they turned the other cheek when attacked, or loved their enemies or resisted judging others until theyÕd examined their own hearts.

ÒWhat say you?Ó He may ask.

ÒUmm, err, well, Lord,É we have these really nifty lawn signs! And we persecuted all those sinners just like You, err, ummmÉ Damn. WeÕre going to Hell.Ó

And even then, as they struggle and flail to demonstrate that theyÕve ever grasped anything Jesus ever said and are sure of their imminent eternal doom, HeÕll surely forgive and embrace them anyway, because that is His nature and that is exactly what the Radical Religious Right has such a difficult time comprehending, let alone displaying: Love.

ItÕs easy to love only the people you like. The challenge is to love the people you donÕt. And itÕs what Jesus commanded Ñ love one another, unconditionally; love thy neighbor Ñ even thy gay neighbor.

So, although we once again failed to follow JesusÕ instructions on our own, at least the court stepped in and made it happen. Hallelujah for the defeat of Prop. H8! Despite our best attempts to thwart it, in the end, love prevailed.

Ñ Follow Debra DeAngelo on Twitter. Links are posted at and http://www.edebra.com http://www.wintersexpress.com. Find Debra’s columns online at http://www.wintersexpress.com, http://www.edebra.com and http://www.ipinion.me

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