Barack Obama has spoken out against Proposition 8, the proposed California constitutional amendment which takes away the right of same-sex couples to marry.
In a letter to the Alice B. Toklas Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) Democratic Club in San Francisco, Barack said:
“I am proud to join with and support the LGBT community in an effort to set our nation on a course that recognizes LGBT Americans with full equality under the law. That is why I support extending fully equal rights and benefits to same-sex couples under both state and federal law. That is why I support repealing the Defense of Marriage Act and the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, and the passage of laws to protect LGBT Americans from hate crimes and employment discrimination. And that is why I oppose the divisive and discriminatory efforts to amend the California Constitution, and similar efforts to amend the U.S. Constitution or those of other states.”
Northeast LA’s Uptown Gay and Lesbian Alliance (UGLA) applauds Barack’s support. For too long, issues important to the LGBT community have been used as fodder for right-wing fundraising and to scare voters. Scheming super-strategist Karl Rove mastered this technique in 2004 with GOP engineered discriminatory ballot measures in 11 states. Purpose? Agitate religious fundamentalists to flock to the polls to limit marriage to “only a man and a woman.” Discrimination set in stone. Equality taken away by the will of the majority.
And now, in 2008, Republicans are doing the same thing with Prop 8. Will there be a different outcome? Will equality for same-sex couples survive? Possibly. And in the meantime, “audacity of hope” permeates the LGBT community.
And, Northeast LA nurtured this hope with UGLA’s July 13 “Marriage Mixer” at the Eagle Rock home of UGLA members Michael and Eugenie Nogueira. During this gala affair, five lesbian and gay couples recited marriage vows given by Los Angeles City Councilmember Jose Huizar and openly gay Superior Court Judge Zeke Zeidler. 150 guests greeted the newly weds, couples who had already been together for eight to 41 years, with applause and shouts of approval. It was an inspiring and exhilarating afternoon. Capping the event was the announcement that UGLA and it’s members were sending $11,500 to “Equality for All,” the umbrella organization leading the fight against Prop 8.
The Boulevard Sentinel, Northeast LA’s monthly newspaper, carried a front page article entitled “Nice Day for 5 Gay Weddings,” accompanied by a full-color photo of one of the newly married couples holding their Los Angeles City Council Resolution recognizing their marriage. The nationally circulated monthly magazine Lesbian News covered the event in great depth with a cover photo and story proclaiming “One Family, Two Weddings.” This referred to the marriage of brother and sister Carl and Ella Matthes to their same-sex partners, Carl Johnson and Gladi Adams, respectively. Ella is owner and publisher of the Lesbian News.
A recent Field Poll showed that Prop 8 is opposed by 51% to 42% of likely voters. Out-of-state, right-wing support for Prop 8 continues to rise. Many believe that government has no business deciding who can and can’t get married. If certain religions won’t recognize same-sex marriage, that is their right. However, marriage is a civil contract, not a religious one. Religious values should not hold sway in governmental affairs. It’s important to remember that the freedom to marry is about fairness, it’s about equal opportunity and, in the words of Equality for All, “It’s about time!”
California Attorney General Jerry Brown is presently fighting the right wing over the ballot wording for Prop 8. Sponsors want wording which states that Prop 8 will insure that marriage is “only between a man and a woman.” That wording was used to qualify the amendment for the ballot.
Since then, the California Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples had the same rights as heterosexual couples and, therefore, are eligible to be legally married. Through the years, ballot measure word changes have occured when it comes time to print the ballot. Jerry Brown is correct to specify that Prop 8 would “eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry.”
Photos courtesy of Arthur Macbeth
Click here to show your support for Prop 8.
by Carl Matthes
Carl Matthes is a native of Los Angeles and has lived in Eagle Rock for over 40 years. He is a former president and a current Board member of Uptown Gay and Lesbian Alliance. He is a former columnist and a current advisor to the Lesbian News, the oldest lesbian publication in America. He was editor of the GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) newsletter and a former GLAAD National Board member. He has also been a Board member of AIDS Healthcare Foundation.
Other articles by Carl
Photographs (all from left):
- Carl Johnson, Carl Matthes, Ella Matthes and Gladi Adams
- David Stokes and Bill Mitchell
- Harry Park and Herb Larrimore
- Eric de la Cruz and Randy Burt
- Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Zeke Zeidler, Harry Park, Herb Larrimore, Eric de la Cruz, Randy Burt, Ella Matthes, Gladi Adams, Carl Johnson, Carl Matthes, David Stokes, Los Angeles City Councilmember Jose Huizar
- UGLA member attend Marriage Mixer: Gail Rolf, founder of LAUSD Project 10; Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation; Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Zeke Zeidler