Rain on the (gay pride) parade?

By |2008-11-06T09:00:00-05:00November 6th, 2008|Opinions|

Last night, as gay, straight, lesbian, transgender and bisexual people danced together wildly in the streets of Ferndale, we at Between The Lines, ever the masochists, had to pause for a minute and think: “How happy should we be?”
Barack Obama was announced to be president-elect by a huge margin of almost 200 electoral votes – but don’t pop that bottle of champagne just yet.
The Hamtramck human rights ordinance that would protect residents from discrimination because of sexual orientation and gender identity or expression was overturned.
Garnet Lewis of the 98th district of Michigan, who would have become the first openly-lesbian candidate to serve in the House, was defeated by Republican challenger Jim Stamas.
Initiative 1 passed in Arkansas, banning gay couples from adopting children.
Proposition 8 in California, as of press time, looked likely to pass. Proposition 102 in Arizona passed. Amendment 2 in Florida passed. All three take away marriage rights for same-sex couples.
How happy should we be?
Here we stand, dancing and holding hands under the Obama rainbow, when one by one, little clouds start to gather.
We’re tempted to call “rain” and run inside.
But we don’t.
Equality is an uphill battle, and despite our losses yesterday, we are much closer to the top than our opponents would have us believe.
The sun is still shining. Diane Hathaway will replace racist, sexist and homophobic bigot Cliff Taylor on our Michigan Supreme Court. We will have a Democratic White House, Senate and House of Representatives. LGBT allies Gary Peters and Mark Schauer were elected to Congress, while Ellen Cogen Lipton was elected to the state legislature with 71 percent of the vote. The propositions for medical marijuana and stem cell research both passed easily.
As for the races we lost? The margins have greatly narrowed. The Hamtramck ordinance failed by under 600 votes. Arizona’s ban on gay marriage passed only by 12 percent.
As for California’s Proposition 8, the margin was so narrow that with 95 percent of the votes counted, it was still too close to call as of Wednesday afternoon. Not bad, considering how many Mormon families the measure bankrupted.
There is still work to be done, certainly. But the odds are finally on our side.
Thirty years ago, marriage equality was not even a distant hope in the minds of many LGBT Americans. Most believed they wouldn’t see it in their lifetime.
Today, not only are we getting closer in that arena, but in others as well. We have elected a president who is against the Defense of Marriage Act, against Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, opposed Proposition 8, supports ending employment discrimination, supports hate crime legislation, supports equal adoption rights and supports comprehensive sex education and increased HIV funding.
At the end of the day, when all the votes are counted and the wins weighed against the losses, how should we feel?
Be hopeful but cautious. Be pensive but optimistic. Be grateful, but ready to keep fighting. And for Obama’s sake (Log Cabin Repubs notwithstanding), be happy.

About the Author:

BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.