one year

Today is January 20th, 2010. A year ago, I was filled with hope for the future. I wrote President Obama a letter from our family, the three of us, about how we hoped he would be a great president for us. Last night I told Jess we should make a Hawaiian themed dinner to celebrate Obama’s first year in office. This morning, I would rather hold off on the pineapple and celebrate Cindy McCain.

Your eyes are not deceiving you. That is John McCain’s wife for the NOH8 campaign, supporting equal marriage rights for all Americans. Uh, Michelle, did we get the wrong first lady or what? I like the organic garden and First Beehive but I’d rather have equal rights.

I continue to keep trying to read through the updates on the trial tracker, and today has been both emotional and educational.

There was the testimony from a guy whose parents found out he was gay at a young age and put him through “therapy” to “fix” him. He describes how his mom told him she wished she had aborted him, and would have preferred he was born with Downs Syndrome. As a young teen, he basically lost everything. His parents went from loving parents who packed his lunch with notes in it to being verbally abusive. After years of dealing with it, in lieu of killing himself, he left home and turned himself over to the Department of Human Services in Colorado Springs and tried to support himself at age sixteen. How many kids out there are strong enough to survive that?

The really eye opening part of the trial today has been testimony from Dr. Gary Segura about the political power of gays and lesbians. It still baffles me that people get to vote on my civil rights, but when they do 70% of the time people vote against us. This is not just about marriage. It is votes on things like, for example, whether or not we should be protected from discrimination in employment and housing. Segura’s testimony says no group in American society has been targeted by ballot measures as much as gays and lesbians. Undocumented aliens are a distant second. He also talks about how we have virtually no voice in the legislature. There aren’t enough gays and lesbians in office to have our voice heard. There are US senators openly comparing homosexuality to bestiality, though. And then there’s Obama.

From the Trial Tracker (keep in mind lots of shorthand, it is amazing they are able to get down this much info so quickly!):

[UPDATE] 11:47
Prop. 8 Trials Professor Segura: Obama is not a reliable ally for the gay and lesbian community. Read on.

and

Current president has refused an order from the chief judge of the ninth circuit to provide domestic partner benefits to court employees. Also, filed briefs that support DOMA and has done nothing to repeal DOMA or DADT. This is not a reliable ally.

You’ll have to excuse me if I am getting too political. I’m normally kind of a disappointment in that category. I really should be a lot more political. So actually nevermind, I shouldn’t ask to be excused. I am almost never political on the internet, and we need to speak up for ourselves. My mom was shocked the first time I corrected her and admitted that yes, actually I do get discriminated against for being gay. Even here in Olympia, WA, a very gay-friendly place, I have been gay bashed (even in front of my own kid). I’m sure that is hard for any parent to hear. I think a lot of people don’t get the reality. I live in my own la-la land, too, happy for everything we have and ignoring the rest of it. We see rich gay people on TV and people believe that gays and lesbians are powerful, wealthy, and accepted. That is not the overall reality.

We personally are harmed financially. I pay more taxes than my straight co-workers because the federal government requires me to pay tax on the money my employer pays toward my wife’s health care insurance. You know how expensive health care insurance is these days. All that money is counted as if it is part of my income. Our marriage is not recognized by the state we live in. Right now I’m doing each of our taxes separately. Anyone who has ever done taxes should realize that alone is JUST WRONG, forget about all the tax breaks we miss out on. If you think that marriage is magically a separate issue and somehow you are not being discriminatory, you are deluding yourself. Try to remember that gay people are still being murdered for being gay. In fact, according to today’s testimony, the rates of these crimes are not only increasing, but seem to be increasing due to the campaigns to prevent gay marriage. While hate crimes against all other minorities have significantly decreased over the last decade, hate crimes against us are increasing. I am so sick of hearing about supporters of these campaigns being discriminated against because people spray painted their signs or (gasp!) stole them out of their yards. They are saying they are the victims of hate. Our people are being murdered, and your signs are being tagged? It is time to put things in perspective.

I tend to think there is little point to speaking out. People are going to believe what they believe and never change their minds. I am wrong. People change their minds. This video of the San Diego mayor, a Republican, a police officer for decades before his political career, had me in tears. He explains (to many people who will be very disappointed) why he decided at the last minute not to veto a measure for gay marriage, and how he realized that he had been discriminatory in being for domestic partnerships and civil unions. “The concept of a separate but equal institution is not something I can support.”

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