Proposition 8 and the fight for same-sex marriage in California are no longer about the LGBT community. This fight is now a greater litmus test for the rights of all non-majority peoples – and the irony of this is not lost on me in California, a budding “majority minority” state. It’s no longer as simple as saying, “Well, I just think marriage is meant for a man and a woman.” Because at the end of the day, regardless of how same-sex marriage was (briefly) legalized last year, regardless of how non-LGBT folks may feel about two homos walking down the aisle legally, and regardless of how some of us Queers feel about marriage and social assimilation, if Proposition 8 is upheld it will be another nail in the coffin for affirmative action, voting rights, immigration rights, and a host of other civil rights that can be eliminated by a privileged majority of voters and screened for relevance within a white, straight, culture war.
It’s already happening: we’ve seen affirmative action and bilingual education shot down by proposition in California and other states. Why same-sex marriage is the new litmus test is because it continues the train of “values voting” that draws out droves on voting day and positions all civil rights in general as a question of “morality” instead of as a question of equity.
Here’s my thing: I don’t believe in state-sanctioned marriage, plain and simple. The entire institution is a collection of what the right-wing calls “special rights.” I shouldn’t have to get married just to visit my partner in the hospital, designate beneficiaries for Social Security death benefits, or any one of the 1100+ perks that come with marriage. All of these policies and procedures need to be revamped to simply be accessible to everyone regardless of marital status. Just like so many other barriers to equity and racial justice in this country need to be overcome.
But until that happens, I will be supporting overturning Proposition 8, and I hope everyone who believes they have a stake in racial justice and civil rights will as well.