November 05, 2008

Prop 8 And Obama

As excited as I am about Obama's victory yesterday, I am really disheartened at the success of Prop 8 in California. I would have thought, as did many I think, that California would be a leader on this issue. Ok, maybe not a leader as in being the first, but as a high populous, liberal state affirming the rights of gays and producing a huge amount of gay marriages which could show the rest of the country that there's nothing to fear. I mean, if Prop 8 can pass while Obama takes 60% of the state's popular vote, well, that just really troubles me.

In fact, I think this issue is going to be tabled nationally for a while. If we can't rely on a big liberal state like California to welcome gay marriages, then it's hard to argue this issue on a national scale. Fighting hard for gay marriage nationally would probably cost Obama a huge amount of political capital and I'm not even sure anymore if he could come out the other side winning the day. Maybe we can get hospital visitation rights, inheritance rights, etc. That wouldn't be nothing, but it's far short of the goal and it's far short of what's right.

This issue will be Obama's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

1 comment:

Noumena said...

It's important to remember that Obama attracted the support of a lot of social moderates and conservatives who dislike or are worried about the economic policies of the national Republican Party. I've spent the past month watching numerous friends, colleagues and students here at Notre Dame try to weight their conservative religious views against the attraction of Obama's economic policies, and I imagine much the same was happening in the conservative suburban and rural parts of California as well. It could simply be that these conservatives voted for both Obama and the ban.

On the other hand, the parental notification proposition lost by almost exactly the same percentage by which the gay marriage ban won.

I don't think the issue is going to be tabled. There was a blip on NPR this morning about a gay rights group trying to block the amendment in court, but I can't recall any details. And the Human Rights Campaign has put too much effort into suits in other states to simply step back.

I do think you're right in saying that Obama isn't going to come out swinging for gay marriage any time within the first hundred days, and probably not during the first term. However, there's more than one way to achieve marriage equality. And Biden's response to the gay marriage question during the VP debate suggests that an alternative like this might be received sympathetically by the new administration. (See, on the other hand, this post by Hunter at Alas, and the two related posts.)