Column: California takes the lead on hate. That’s a good thing. Someone has to bring it to the rest of the world.
[After my rant about California’s Proposition 8 is published, I note here my disappointment that The Sacramento Bee has chosen to ignore my comment on its home page. As I noted:
Last Thursday, I wrote to the Bee. I wrote because I love the newspaper and value its editorial stance in this debate, which it should have covered, or, at the very least, commented on. Instead, it chose to ignore my comment after publication. So, I’ve decided to publish the comment: a response that, I think, sums up all that I, and my perspective, have to say on this topic.]
I have spent the last 25 years writing about the gay and lesbian community in California, and all of the changes that the community has undergone in that time. Much of that time has been in Sacramento, where the state Capitol is the center of our community—where gays and lesbians have been legal since 1977. But the gay and lesbian community is not just in Sacramento—it is all over California.
And California is now the most gay-friendly state in the nation. In 2002, the California Supreme Court ruled, in effect, that gays and lesbians have a fundamental right to marry the person they choose, in California. In 2004, California legalized civil unions. It was followed by the legalization of domestic partnership. And in 2006, the state passed the state constitutional amendment Proposition 8, which removed the legal status of gays and lesbians from California. So, all of these measures, taken together, amount to a sweeping cultural, political, and economic change in California that will profoundly affect our community for years to come.
The fact that Proposition 8, as it stands now, remains on the November ballot (and, as many observers are predicting, will remain on the November ballot), speaks to a failure of the gay and lesbian community at the national level to unite around a common position on the issue of marriage. In a number of ways, gays and lesbians have achieved extraordinary success in terms of the legal