I cried this morning when I read the decision. Living in Tennessee still, I'm two hours ahead, so I fixed my mental countdown on noon and sat in front of my computer waiting and waiting, compulsively refreshing Twitter and trying to get the CASC website to load. And then Twitter came alive with the news. I refused to believe it until I saw it from a reputable source, so I loaded up CNN. And there it was: CA Supreme Court Upholds Prop 8. Tears welled in my eyes. People had been saying this was how it would go - that CASC would uphold Prop H8 but also uphold the 18,000 marriages performed when SSM was legal last summer - but I suppose I never quite gave up hoping. I sniffled, and wiped away the few tears that had fallen, and thought I was ok.
...Until I broke down into uncontrollable sobbing when I tried to tell my boyfriend the ruling. All of a sudden, it hit me with all the weight of a 10-ton truck on the freeway. The California Supreme Court, the final authority of my state, had given the green light to the idea that 51% of voters can strip or alter fundamental rights guaranteed by our State Constitution completely at will. My boyfriend held me while I cried and gasped, over and over between the sobs that shook me, "Why?" I never got farther than that, with tears choking me till I couldn't speak. I wasn't talking to him, anyway, nor really to the CASC. I was talking to the 52% of Californians who did this to me. This is what I wanted to ask:
Why do you hate us so much?
Why are my rights yours to vote on?
Why doesn't the constitution of my state protect me the way it protects you?
Why do you have the right to make me a second-class citizen?
Why, why, why, why?
And I suppose, underneath these questions, was the desperate cry of my hopeful naivete, which I cloak with cynicism and bury with pragmatic realism but which I've never really grown out of, asking, "Why can't we all just be equal? Why must we play games of us and them? Why do we hate and denigrate and deny each other the essential humanity we share?"
The fight is not over, of course. We will take it back to the ballot in 2010, in 2012, as many times as necessary. In the words of Robin Tyler, one of the petitioners in the case to overturn Prop H8, "No civil rights movement has EVER lost. Never. It is not a matter of if our community will win full equal rights, including marriage. It is only a matter of when. But as in all civil rights movements, we will have to fight like hell for it."
But while the angry side of me is ready to riot, ready to scream in the streets, ready to rally for the next fight...for right now, I am overwhelmed with a terrible heartbreak. I love my state and the people therein with passion and pride. We
*The snarky side of me is inclined to start tossing all sorts of bullshit "amendments" on the ballot now, just to prove the point. In 2010, we can vote on whether or not white people have the right to vote, whether or not Christians have the right to marry, whether or not men have the right to own property, whether or not Republicans can get driver's licenses...They wanted mob rule? Let's show 'em what that really means!