So what are we supposed to do now that Proposition 8, banning same-sex marriage in California (as well as the similar initiatives in Florida and Arizona) has passed?
Lawsuits have already been filed regarding Prop 8 in California. One basic argument being made is that to allow the majority to vote to deny fundamental rights to a protected minority is unconstitutional. Can you imagine if the people of California were able to vote to deny, say, black people the right to marry?
So what else can the rest of us do, including those of us outside California?
SIGN YOUR NAME
Now of course, the easiest way to join in the fight is to sign a petition...
VOICE YOUR OPINION
Contact your congressperson and your local officials directly and tell them why same-sex marriage (and other civil and gay rights issues) are important to you.
Also write to the politicians, government officials, and other public figures that opposed Prop 8 - like Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, and even Arnold Schwarzenegger - and thank them. You can search the Voting Records of the elected officials in your community to see what their stances have been on gay rights issues.
Directory of Local Governments
SHOW YOUR SUPPORT
Download and fliers and graphics to show your support of same-sex marriage. Go blue for equality by displaying a blue light in your window or storefront. Wear your support with one of our new cafepress t-shirt designs:
DONATE YOUR MONEY
Support the companies that funded the fight against Prop 8 (such as Google, Apple and Pacific Gas & Electric) and the many organizations that opposed the proposition (like the League of Women Voters and the California Teacher's Association).
Make a donation to any of these groups that fight for gay rights:
National Gay & Lesbian Task Force
The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the grassroots power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
GLAADThe Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation is dedicated to promoting and ensuring fair, accurate and inclusive representation of people and events in the media as a means of eliminating homophobia and discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation.
Let California Ring
Public education campaign to "open hearts and minds" about the freedom to marry and the respect, support, protections, and responsibilities that come with marriage.
EQ|CA - Equality California
In the past 10 years, Equality California has strategically moved California from a state with extremely limited legal protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals to a state with some of the most comprehensive civil rights protections in the nation.
Human Rights Campaign
America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality.
A national organization that works to end discrimination in U.S. immigration law, to reduce the negative impact of that law on the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and HIV-positive people, and to help obtain asylum for those persecuted in their home country based on their sexual orientation, transgender identity or HIV-status.
In addition to preserving civil rights (such as the freedom of speech or the right to due process), the American Civil Liberties Union works to guarantee the right to equal treatment and protection under the law.
A national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work.
The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.
BOYCOTT THE OPPOSITION
Boycott the many businesses that endorsed or donated to "Yes on 8". Californians Against Hate have compiled a list of the top contributors to the cause. (You can also search the Donation Records of the people in your area to see what candidates they've supported).
You should also contact groups and organizations that funded the "Yes on Prop 8" campaign and tell them that you will not support them because of their position on same-sex marriage.
One of greatest supporters of Proposition 8 was the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This has not only caused many Mormons to resign from the church in protest of the "hatred" and "discrimination", but has also prompted people to work towards stripping the Mormon church of its tax-exempt status. The argument is that since the IRS law has restrictions on political campaigning and lobbying, they should not be eligible for tax-exemption (which would seriously diminish their anti-gay marriage funds).
We urge you to check out some of the campaigns against Proposition 8 (and for same-sex marriage in general). Keep updated on their various events and projects.
Just a few random websites:
NoOnProp8 on Twitter, add Equality Now on myspace, or search for "prop 8" on facebook.
Also... Here's a cute myspace blog from comedian Ian Harvie, giving "tips" on how to make a go of marriage equality next time and an awesome "Special Comment"from Keith Olbermann, on how horrible Prop 8 is. Just because.
There will be a nation-wide protest against Proposition 8 outside city halls across the country this Saturday, November 15 at 10:30 am PST/1:30 pm EST. We hope to join the protesters gathering in NYC and encourage everyone to look for one in your area: here! (If you can't find a location near you, get involved and organize your own!) Check out jointheimpact.com for more information on Saturday's events and please pass the word on.
Also check out Equality California's list of events, the list of Prop 8 protests and rallies provided by Queers United and Protest8.blogspot.com
REACH BEYOND CALIFORNIA
Fight for same-sex marriage in your state. Right now same-sex marriage is legal is only two U.S. states: Massachusetts and Connecticut. (A few other states offer "civil unions" or "domestic partnerships"). There are limitations to what someone in say, New York, can do about the law in California, Arizona or Florida... but we can reach out on the local level to try to encourage change and progress.
We should all be working towards gay rights on a national level as well. We need federal legislative action that would invalidate Proposition 8 (and eventually, every other gay marriage ban or restriction). Repealing the federal Defense of Marriage Act would be a big step in the right direction. DOMA states that no state needs to recognize a same-sex relationship as a marriage (even if it considered a marriage in another state) and the federal government is forbidden from doing so.
HOLD THE MEDIA ACCOUNTABLE
If you've been paying attention to the media then I'm sure you've already heard about how Prop 8 passing is all the fault of black people. Or that scary stuff about ministers going to jail for refusing to do gay weddings. Or the new requirement of teaching same-sex marriage in public schools. Or the angry riots that gay people have been causing throughout California.
Yeah you've probably heard it all. The problem is that NONE OF IT IS TRUE.
It's up to us to speak out and try to correct the false information whenever we hear, read, or see it. Hold the media accountable if they report an inaccurate or untrue story, because we deserve the truth.
DON'T GIVE UP HOPE
Although the general public basically considers the measure to have passed, technically it will not be law until December 13 when the state of California will officially call the results of Prop 8. (The measure passed by a difference of only about 504,000 votes, but there are still as many as 3 million absentee and provisional ballots that have not yet been counted).
And I wouldn't exactly call this good news, but it is still interesting to note that in 2000, 61.4% of voters supported Proposition 22 (the ballot initiative that originally banned same-sex marriage in California), while only 52.5% of voters supported Proposition 8 this time around. So it is a small sign of progress. We'll see on December 13th just how small it really is.
SPREAD THE WORD
Forward this blog (or selected information provided within the blog) to everyone you know.
This is not just a "gay" issue or a "marriage" issue. This is a civil rights issue. If we stand for discrimination of any group, then we cannot expect to be protected from discrimination ourselves. If we condone or ignore denying rights to one segment of the population, then who knows what will be next. To quote Martin Luther King, Jr...
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."