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The Good Fight: Prop 8 and Gay Rights

The Good Fight: Prop 8 and Gay Rights

Writer and lesbian activist reflects on her post Prop 8 experience in Richmond, Virginia. 'Some time has passed.I can finally come crawling out of my hole and stop sulking.  Ok, so the California supreme court upheld Prop 8 by 6 to 1.  Richmond’s protest made the decision even more depressing.  

Some time has passed.  I can finally come crawling out of my hole and stop sulking.  Ok, so the California supreme court upheld Prop 8 by 6 to 1.  Richmond’s protest made the decision even more depressing.  I got off of work two hours early so that I could make the Day of Decision protest, which meant my boss had to come in on her day off and cover me.  My girlfriend and I invited all of our friends.  Everyone knew about this protest.  In all, about 40 people met in front of the federal courthouse, some of us were holding signs, most of us were undoubtedly furious with the turnout.  None of our friends came.  

My girlfriend and I stood together holding hands while a few people spoke hopeful words to our small crowd; words of a future where we’ll be nationally recognized as citizens with full rights.  Then it rained.  We all huddled under the court’s massive stone covering.  Slowly people started to trickle back to their cars.  After a while we realized that was it.  The End. 

My girlfriend and I got in our car and drove home, both of us taking turns venting.  It was nothing like other protests.  It was over in about an hour.  There was no chanting, no approving shouts from cars, and no scantily clad gay boys swaying their hips and waving rainbow flags.  It was disheartening; it was as if the GLBT community of Richmond Virginia had admitted defeat. 

I’ve been feeling pretty low since last Tuesday.  I’ve been going to work a little less dolled-up than usual, I’ve been a little less social, and most nights I just feel like curling up with my girlfriend and cuddling with my dogs.  It feels like the whole country is against us.

I was in my normal -- as of late -- gloomy mood when I got a text from girlfriend at about 6 p.m. on Wednesday.

“New Hampshire legalized gay marriage!”

My first thoughts:

“Ha ha. Suck on that California!”

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Now I know that New Hampshire might seem like a tic-tac compared to the Giant York Peppermint Patty that is California, but it’s still a state.  It still counts.  It means that now there are 44 states in the United States that need to get with the program.  It means that just one week and one day after the California Supreme Court deals the blow of being nothing more than a bunch of closed-minded hypocrites, a small victory is won.   It means that New England is awesome.  As an East coast girl, it is a little refreshing to have something to be proud of.

Doesn’t this make everyone feel at least a little better?  Doesn’t this mean we shouldn’t stop fighting?  Shouldn’t we all keep wearing our white knots, going to every protest we can, and keep kissing and holding hands in public?  We should be out and proud more than ever right now.  We should let every gay-hating individual know that we’re not going anywhere; that we’re not going to tuck our tails between our legs and hide just because we make them a little uncomfortable.

What happened in California was just unacceptable.  It won’t last.  I’ve seen the GLBT inhabitants of the west coast rally against this kind of injustice. Closet doors are opening everywhere.  We need every single person that believes in marriage equality to stand up at every protest, to hold signs in support of this extremely important issue, and to shout as loud as we can until our voices our heard. 

In the words of Martin Luther King Jr.:  “Almost always, the creative dedicated minority has made the world better.”

This was on the sign I held up at the Day of Decision protest here in Richmond, Virginia.  It rings in my ears and has been burned into my memory.  No matter what happens, I know that what we are working toward is the right thing.  Not only will we change the world for ourselves, but when we finally win this battle we will be changing the world for the better for everyone else as well. 
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Abagail Waller