Setback for Marriage Equality in California, Next Steps for LGBTQ Rights?
The California Supreme Court decided to uphold Proposition 8 as a legal amendment to the state constitution. At the same time, the approximately 18,000 marriages that took place before the amendment passed will be remain legal.
The decision, combined with the disappointment in Barack Obama's LGBTQ agenda in the first hundred days, is dredging up bad memories of the November vote and sparking protests against the decision, possibly nationwide in scope.
But a lot has happened in the marriage equality fight since last November. When marriage was legalized in California, it seemed that the state was ahead of the curve on the rights of queer people. Now that gay marriage is legal in the heartland, this fundamentally irrational decision just makes California look backward. The fight for gay marriage, it seems, will continue in the courtrooms and in the streets for months or years to come, and seems to be making headway. With or without California.
While the grassroots backlash is brewing, some radical queer activists argue that it's time to pull back from the reformism of the marriage fight and focus limited movement resources on the bigger problems faced by the majority of LGBTQ people for whom marriage has never been the top priority.
I sympathize. As I sat down to write this, I received a message about an instance of hideous anti-lesbian police brutality that took place just three blocks from my apartment:
I am writing today with a heavy heart. And for me no matter how much the world seems to disappoint me I always want to bounce back. But this time is a little different.
I and another lesbian in the community were involved in a BRUTAL BEATING by ALL MALE COPS the 77th PRECINCT of the NYPD.
It took place at the IFE LOUNGE, corner of Nostrand & Atlantic in Brooklyn. I know for a fact there were at least 100-200 woman outside at the time and I am hearing rumors of video footage. LOOK LADIES... IF YOU FIND CAN FIND A PARTY SO F-IN IMPORTANT, THAT YOU HAVE THE TIME TO TELL A FRIEND TO TO TELL A FRIEND TO POST BULLETINS TO EMAIL FLYERS. THEN I WOULD HOPE YOU WOULD HAVE THE TIME TO ASK A FRIEND TO ASK A FRIEND TO ASK A FRIEND TO FIND PICTURES VIDEOS, WRITTEN TESTIMONY TO SUPPORT THE FACT THAT TWO OF YOUR OWN WERE BEATEN IN THE STREET BY POLICE!!!
NOT ONLY WERE WE BEATEN, COPS HURLED ANTI-GAY STATEMENTS AS THEY RAISED THIER NIGHT STICKS IN THE AIR. LIKE "YOU FUCKIN BITCH ASS DYKE"... AND THEN HAD THE AUDACITY IN FRONT OF THEIR OWN SEARGENT AND THE REST OF THERE BROTHERS AND SISTERS SAY "WE ARE HAVIN SOME DYKE PUSSY IN HERE TONIGHT"
Really ladies... This crime wasn't about me or about the other female involved. As I laid there and I felt the night sticks hit me, I thought of Martin Luther King, and what he had to endure just for us to have the freedoms we do today. I immediately relaxed my body, put my arms up where they can see I wasn't resisting, and screamed at the top of my lungs for someone to hit record on there camera. As they pulled me into the car I knew then that they picked the wrong quote unquote "DYKE", to mess with.
TODAY!!! ITS TIME FOR US TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE!!! I don't know about you, but I am absolutely tired of the way police, club owners & bouncers treat us. If you didn't know what they think about YOU. I hope you RECOGNIZE NOW, what it really is.
THIS IS WHAT WE NEED:
1. VIDEO FOOTAGE 2. PICTURE FOOTAGE 3. WRITTEN TESTIMONIES W/CONTACT INFORMATION
PLEASE EMAIL ME ASAP!!!
DON'T LET ANYONE TELL YOU IT ISN'T YOUR BUSINESS, IT IS. IF YOU HANG WITH US, PRAY WITH US, IF YOU PARTY WITH US, IF YOU SHOW YOUR PRIDE WITH US, THIS CRIME WAS COMMITTED AGAINST YOU AND MEMBERS OF YOUR FAMILY.
Email me @ civilrights@LadiesLoveLadies.com
Triple L Network
315 Flatbush Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11217
So if you have video, stills or memories of this horrible event, or can help bring these basher cops to justice in any way (legal advice), please contact the activists/victims involved!
But at the same time, as much as I support alternative families and communities amongst radicals and queer people and all people, and as sympathetic as I am to those pointing out that elite elements in the LGBTQ movement have put marriage first in an undemocratic and exclusionary strategy, I still think that we--radicals and radical queer people--can't ignore the still growing battle for marriage equality. I think its a classic case of "making history but not under circumstances of our own choosing," to paraphrase Marx.
My hope is that those with a vision that goes beyond the momentum toward marriage can help build a movement that grows and builds our resources, our communities, our power and our ability to protect and support our whole community.