Try as I might, I still utterly fail to understand why any Californian--let alone 52% of the people with whom I share a state--could have voted for the bigotry, hatred, and small-mindedness that was Prop 8. This past week's ridiculousness (Ken Starr--WTF??) just makes it worse. And Rick Warren? I can't even go there.
Yes, I live in the skewed world that is San Francisco, and yes, I have the benefit of having many gay friends, some of whom are among the most important people in my life. So of course I get alternately weepy, grumpy, indignant, pissed off, and a combination of all four when I hear the hate and lies that are spewed by those who oppose marriage equality.
But the stupidly hopeful part of me has to believe that there people out there who maybe voted for Prop 8 because their religious community told them to (Mormons, I'm looking at you) or because they were pressured into it by someone else in their life or because they temporarily lost their good sense and believed the stupidity about same-sex marriage opening up the floodgates to polygamy (Mormons, I'm looking at you) and incest and men trying to marry young boys--that these people, these otherwise good people (many of whom voted for Obama, as we know) might actually be able to look at the photos of the Courage Campaign's Please Don't Divorce Us project and feel their hearts soften a bit.
Because surely these otherwise good people know that there's enough hatred in the world, and enough bigotry (Mormons--and Latinos, and African-Americans--I'm looking at you), enough lying, enough instability, enough of all of it without having to write it into the state's Constitution.
Surely these otherwise good people, many of whom would never even think of adopting the kids many same-sex couples adopt, and most of whom can chatter on about the importance of a whole, stable family, find it ludicrous and illogical to think of denying gays and lesbians the right to marry, and thus to provide their families with all of the wholeness and stability they possibly can.
(As an aside, I've never understood the right-wing Christian argument that marriage is primarily for the purpose of reproduction, as that would make illegitimate any heterosexual pairing that did not produce a child. Because, what? You're a good, upstanding, god-loving Christian who happens to be infertile and suddenly your marriage is a sham? Tell me, Christians, how that works.)
(Aside Part 2: Florida, what's your damage? A statewide ban on adoptions by gays? How short-sighted and biased can you be? Also, are there, like, thousands of opposite-sex couples lining up just waiting to adopt these children? Oh. No. There are not. Which means that apparently you think foster care is a much better option than stable, life-long adoption. At least Miami thinks you're wrong.)
So, OK, Prop 8 supporters, just do this for me: for a moment, set aside whatever you might think about gays and lesbians, or whatever ill will you might have toward them because you think they're not like you. Set aside whatever you might've heard in church, or on the news, or in the pro-8 campaign ads that claimed that your kindergartner would be forced to learn all about the ins and outs of homosexuality if marriage equality remained California law. Set aside any hate you might feel (especially if you're a Christian, given that "love thy neighbor as thyself" thing).
Is all of that off in a corner somewhere for a few minutes? Good. Now go look at these photos of same-sex couples, their families, their friends, and their neighbors, and see if you don't get at least a little teary-eyed.
Because here's the thing: in those photos, there's nothing but love. Maybe it doesn't look like the love you know and are used to, but I think you can agree that it's love nonetheless--so much love that it might make your heart as achy as it makes mine. So much that maybe, after you've spent some time looking closely at those photos (especially the wedding shots), you'll feel something in yourself start to soften. So much that maybe you'll understand where people like me are coming from--people who wonder, sadly or angrily or just plain incomprehendingly, what anyone thinks could possibly be gained by making hate and intolerance the law of the land.