California's Proposition 8, the controversial anti-gay-marriage measure that was fought furiously on both sides for several months and included Tricycle Press's children's book King & King as a negative spin in supporters' TV commercials, won a stunning victory on November 4 in the state's election. Gay writers responded to the win with outrage, concern and heartbreak.
Read more about what John Rechy, Christopher Rice, and Dorothy Allison had to say at Publishers Weekly Online, in an article by Wendy Werris.
An Open Letter from Katherine V. Forrest (Distributed by the Lambda Literary Foundation):
Yesterday was just a very difficult day. Such gladness over Obama and all he symbolizes, watching the national euphoria. And yet the sharp slap in the face that none of it includes us. Yet again the line is drawn through us; we're left to peer in the window. This time it seems a much worse feeling, at least for me, because I'd let down my guard and stopped steeling myself, for the first time I'd let myself hope.
We will win this of course. We actually won it in 2003 with the most important civil rights decision of my lifetime, the Supreme Court's 6-3 Lawrence vs. Texas decision that struck down sodomy laws under the equal protection clause. I've always known that the continuing hodgepodge of discriminatory state laws and the opposition by the single most legitimizing agent for the prejudice against us – the churches – would eventually land us back at the Court. Where we will then be accorded – under the same clause – the final and definitive decision that will end the practice of putting our lives on a ballot for a majority to decide.
I'm getting over the personal stuff, I feel a little better today and have more perspective. In order to get this thing passed in California, they had to argue that we already had rights as Domestic Partners. How big a concession is THAT, given where we were a decade ago? The fact is, except for our losses, the right wing got their heads handed to them on Tuesday. Gay people were voted into office all across the country. All the abortion crap got voted down, it's no longer a viable political issue, it's dead, dead, dead, folks. Assisted suicide was passed in Washington State, stem cell research will happen, the Supreme Court appointments are ours for hopefully the next eight years. Their right wing VP candidate became a figure of national scorn, the religious right as a political power has been left where it belongs, on the margins.
So good things are happening. We are the great unfinished business of this nation, and it will indeed get finished. I trust it will hurry along because I ain't gettin' any younger. Now that I've lived to see a black president, I want to see it all. As a friend of ours in Australia emailed yesterday, "Whilst a black President is certainly a good thing, let me know when the President is a black lesbian...."
Here's to the bright future.