Prop H8 Overturned August 5, 2010

Prop H8 Overturned

I watched this clip again last night and it was just as powerful then as it was when I first saw it a couple years ago.

Keith Olbermann said this shortly after Prop 8 was passed in November, 2008:

… With so much hate in the world, with so much meaningless division, and people pitted against people for no good reason, this is what your religion tells you to do? With your experience of life and this world and all its sadnesses, this is what your conscience tells you to do?

With your knowledge that life, with endless vigor, seems to tilt the playing field on which we all live, in favor of unhappiness and hate… this is what your heart tells you to do? You want to sanctify marriage? You want to honor your God and the universal love you believe he represents? Then Spread happiness — this tiny, symbolic, semantical grain of happiness — share it with all those who seek it. Quote me anything from your religious leader or book of choice telling you to stand against this. And then tell me how you can believe both that statement and another statement, another one which reads only “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

The full transcript is here.

How wonderful that the idiotic ballot measure was overturned yesterday.

How could you read the reactions to Judge Vaughn Walker‘s ruling and not be overjoyed?

You’d have to be heartless.

Or a conservative Christian or Mormon or anyone who thinks their religious beliefs trump common decency and civil rights

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  • ljvillanueva

    Although I not always like Olbermann, this is pure gold! He talks with a sincere feeling of despair, sadness and questioning the proponents of this crap almost in tears.
    My favorite quote: “They want what you want—a chance to be a little less alone in the world.”

  • I stayed up WAAAAY too late reading Judge Walker’s decision. It was absolutely fantastic. I know this is just one step and it doesn’t help my friends who aren’t in California, but I am just thrilled with the outcome.

    Hoping that when the SCOTUS eventually hears it that it goes the way of Texas sodomy laws.

  • More work to do, but this is a major victory. I got choked up when I called my husband to tell him about it.

  • Hitch

    It’s a good and right step. But it’s not over and done. People still tell others who they have nothing to do with how to live consensual lives.

  • Viggo the Carpathian

    Yay, something good actually happened… and on a day when in TN Basil Marceaux is on the ballot for governor

  • I haven’t been this pleased to read a judicial opinion since Kitzmiller v. Dover.

    And anyone who hasn’t watched the trial reenactments should give it a look. Boies’ cross-examination of David Blankenhorn was truly a triumph of reason over ignorance.

  • Yesterday I watched The Laramie Project for the first time. Afterwards, I headed downstairs to my kids’ teen haven and asked these 16 and 17 year olds, “Do you know who Matthew Shepard is?” Not one of the 8 had heard of him. They were little kids when he died, and no one had mentioned him since they became young adults. If we don’t teach our children about the hate, it makes it easier to get Prop 8s in the first place.

  • Heidi

    History will remember this as a heroic decision. On behalf of my gay friends and family members in California, thanks, Judge Walker.

  • Rich Wilson

    We’re not done until we finish SCOTUS. But I’m hopeful. The only reason 8 passed in the first place was due to the outright lies put on TV. I have a Mormon cousin who told me that if 8 had not passed, that her Bishop would be forced to marry gay people. Which was directly addressed by the court that overturned the 2000 ban, opening the door to SSM in CA. The court said unequivocally that no one would be forced to perform a marriage against their conscience. But obviously her Bishop is more reliable than the judges who wrote the actual decision.

  • Aaron

    One of Matthew Shepard’s murderers tried to use the “homosexual panic” defense, which is basically “I found him attractive, and that is so repugnant to me that I freaked out and had to kill him.”

    So it was the gay guy’s fault that you were attracted to him, and so he deserved to be killed, just like it is a woman’s fault if a guy becomes inflamed with lust after seeing her, so she deserves to be raped. Lots of people(?) would say “Yep, exactly!”

    Hate crime laws may be largely ineffective, and may be a net waste of ink, but I understand why they exist.
    In any case, score one for the good guys!

    I wonder, if this gets to the SCOTUS, could it possibly legalizes gay marriage in the whole country due to the 14th amendment argument? Maybe this is why the right hates the 14th. “It treats gays and Mexicans like people, we can’t have that!”
    OT: Actually, I understand the “anchor baby” argument, but I fear any trend toward amending the constitution specifically to exclude people.

    @Rich: Of course her bishop’s opinion is more reliable than facts. Duh, religion.

  • Richard Wade

    Finally some light in this long tunnel. My fear is that this will reach SCOTUS too soon, before that Washington DC chapter of the Knights of Columbus is balanced with non-Bush appointees. If they strike it down, this could be set back for a generation. Recent SCOTUS decisions have gone beyond the narrow issues of the case before them, and they have written case law.

  • muggle

    Beautifully said, Olberman. I was so happy to hear of this being overturn. Enough with the over-reaction already. Allowing someone else to be gay doesn’t mean you have to be. You either are or you aren’t. Whenever people run scared of this, I feel much the same I do as when they feel they have to defend their faith against irrelgion: What are you afraid of? Mostly it seems they’re afraid of themselves. Of what they might be or think.

    OT: Actually, I understand the “anchor baby” argument, but I fear any trend toward amending the constitution specifically to exclude people.

    Me too.

  • muggle

    Good point, Richard.

  • @Richard — Surely if the Supremes can grant personhood to a corporation they can grant personhood to gay…people?

  • Benoit

    I just finished reading the decision… The boil-down (in case you don’t have time to read it all):

    “Your so-called secular arguments against same-sex marriage don’t hold water, and they’re just a smokescreen to hide the real reasons behind Prop 8, which are 1) Yuck and 2) OMG. Not good enough”


  • littlejohn

    I kept waiting for Olbermann to whip off his glasses and swing to face another camera. He’s right of course. But he’s so easy to parody, SIR!

  • Claudia

    I watched the special comment again this morning. It had me close to tears. The first time around, with the pain of Prop. 8 still fresh, it made me utterly dissolve into sobs. I will not easily forgive the bigots tarnishing that incredible week in November with the reminder that hate and ignorance is alive and well and powerful.

    I too worry about the current SCOTUS makeup. Lets not forget that Scalia doesn’t even approve of masturbation, and strenously objected to sodomy being legal. Thomas is his sock puppet, and this court has never failed to rule against the least powerful party, whatever the case.

    However even if it is defeated, I don’t see how that would do anything other than affirm that voters have the right to decide who does and doesn’t get married. A defeat would not mean that states couldn’t affirm marriage or prohibit the federal government from recognizing same sex marriages. It would put off marriages in California, but not for long, since by current polling trends by the time it gets to the court a repeal of the ammendment will have the numbers to win. Polls nationwide are still split, but every poll is better than the last, with equality inching forward every single time.

    No matter what the outcome of the battle, we will win this war.

  • Since when has disagreeing with someone or something been hate? I sense more hate in Keith O’s rant than anything I heard from anyone supporting prop-8.

    What a shame!


  • Andrew Morgan

    Olbermann is usually too much of a crazy douche for me to want to watch, but the decision is a cause for happiness.

    As for SCOTUS, the idea that some members are nasty ideologues while other members are rational finders of the “truth” is total garbage. The court isn’t made up of people you agree with politically. Fine. Get over it. It’s become a political organ that both parties abuse.

  • Jon

    I’m glad that Prop 8’s been overturned, because it’s such a discriminatory piece of legislation. But for awhile now I’ve been sold on the abolition of marriage as a government concern. It would make it a lot harder for any group to claim (or need to claim) that the government was either slandering or endorsing a certain form of partnership.

    I’ve never been convinced that couples are owed particular tax benefits, either, so I think it would be far more equitable to convert the more “worthy” benefits that are based on marriage/partnership, to a household basis. Plenty of people are financially dependent on each other in platonic or other nonstandard relationships, so what of these benefits don’t they deserve that married couples do?

  • Anna

    Jason, do you live in California? Speaking as someone who went through Prop 22 in 2000 and Prop 8 in 2008, trust me, I heard and felt a lot of hate. It was a very uncomfortable environment for me as a daughter of two lesbian moms.

    You have no idea what it’s like to hear pundits make assertions that your family is harmful, dangerous, threatening, etc. You have no idea what it feels like to hear people basically tell you that you shouldn’t have been brought into existence. And you have no idea what it’s like to drive around and see signs and bumper stickers insinuating that your family is not a real family.

    Perhaps those people didn’t mean to be hateful. I will give them the benefit of the doubt. But that’s certainly the way it came across to those of us who were targeted by their campaign. It wasn’t just “disagreement.” It was a full-scale assault on LGBT people and their families. It was, honestly, a terrible thing to go through, and I hope I never have to go through it again.

  • Kirk59

    I am thinking SCOTUS may not hear the case since they have no legal grounds to overturn Judge Walker. Scalia’s gang would only look silly writing an opinion against the ruling. If they let it stand then the right can still whine about “activist judges” and Scalia’s team will still retain their conservative bona fides.

  • Since when has disagreeing with someone or something been hate? I sense more hate in Keith O’s rant than anything I heard from anyone supporting prop-8.

    What is it that you’re disagreeing with, Jason? An attribute that they’re born with, or their desire to be treated equally as citizens? And do you have a rational reason for disagreeing, or is it just the ick factor?

  • Lauren

    I am the daughter of a lesbian. She is in love more so than she has ever been, and her happiness makes me happy. My mother’s partner of fifteen years helped raised me and has been a huge influence in my life. It’s hard to imagine how different my life would be without my two moms, and I feel so incredibly lucky to have such a wonderful and loving family. I was living in San Diego during the time of Proposition 8, and I was touched by the community that assembled in opposition of “eliminating the right of same-sex couples to marry in California.” Doesn’t that sound so ugly? To eliminate the rights.. needless to say, I also witnessed a lot of hatred. Everywhere I would go, there were crowds of people on street corners, at grocery stores, and other high traffic areas campaigning both for and against the ballot proposition. It was a very stressful time in my life, and many times I had to just ignore the negativity to keep from having some serious confrontations.

    In my head I was like, “You want to talk bad about my momma? Put your dukes up, punk.”

    I couldn’t actually come to blows with these people. I’ve never come to blows with anyone ever, but if there was going to be a time, better know it was going to be sticking up for my mom. One time, a woman was berating a petitioner saying that gay people ruined the sanctity of marriage and discouraging others from signing. I signed. I signed anything I could that would help the gay community. I would mostly just let supporters say hurtful things to me as I was stopped at a stoplight or leaving the grocery store, but I just wanted to shake them and say, “You don’t know what you’re doing to MY FAMILY and my friends. If you only knew how badly you were hurting them.. and me.” I cannot listen to this Keith Olbermann clip without tears in my eyes. I wish all people shared his compassion. Even if human rights are failed again, this is the process. It is a step in the right direction. If it is a battle we have to fight forever, it is worth fighting. Never give up on love.

  • Edmond

    Lauren, if it weren’t for Judge Walker stealing your thunder, that would’ve been the most beautiful thing I’d read in 2010. Thank you.

  • VXbinaca

    Excellent. Congratulations.

  • Steve

    Maybe Scalia’s words in “Lawrence vs. Texas” will come back to bite him the ass:
    “If moral disapprobation of homosexual conduct is no legitimate state interest […] what justification could there possibly be for denying the benefits of marriage to homosexual couples exercising “the liberty protected by the Constitution”?”

    If you have the time, read through Walker’s ruling. It’s great. He thoroughly debunks all of the defense’s witnesses and every single one of their lame arguments. About 110 pages are just about the facts. It also contains the infamous words “I don’t know. I don’t know” when asked how same-sex marriage would affect straight people and even the line about Vaughn not needing evidence. Hilarious.

    He says that such laws need to withstand strict scrutiny, but that Prop8 fails a even rational basis test. It doesn’t get any better.

    “An initiative measure adopted by the voters deserves great respect. The considered views and opinions of even the most highly qualified scholars and experts seldom outweigh the determination of the voters. When challenged, however, the voters’ determination must find at least some support in evidence … Conjecture, speculation and fears are not enough. “

  • Lauren, that was beautiful. I hope my girlfriend and I can be so lucky as to have a daughter as compassionate and intelligent as you someday! Onward to full equality for LGBT Americans!

  • Claudia

    @Anna and Lauren, this whole issue makes me want to scream with frustration sometimes. I just want to go up to some people and say “What the FUCK is your problem?! How can you be so invested in preventing the happiness of other people?!” I know this isn’t helpful, that many people are not ill-meaning but merely ignorant, as legions of well meaning but ignorant racist Americans were 60 years ago. Still, with all that, it must be unimaginably worse when its your family people are investing time and money to harm, when its your parents people are blaming for ills and when you are the ones being portrayed as the twisted and traumatized badly-reared offspring of moral degenerates.

    It really is your story that needs telling. The facts and figures are important, but people react to other people. The more gay people someone knows, the less likely they are to support anti-gay measures. I’m absolutely certain that the more kids of gay parents people hear from, the less their offhand prejudice will stand. Know hope, we WILL win this.

  • Citizen Z

    Since when has disagreeing with someone or something been hate? I sense more hate in Keith O’s rant than anything I heard from anyone supporting prop-8.

    You know what really stands out in pictures of lynchings in the South? The smiles. Relaxed smiles of enjoyment. No angry sneers, no spittle at the mouth. For the lynchers, it was like a picnic. Hate wasn’t that big a part of it, you’d have to consider your target human before you could hate them.

    It’s not hate that drove Prop 8, it was callous indifference, and utter lack of humanity, empathy or decency. The banality of evil. But at least Prop 8 proponents weren’t rude about denying others their civil rights, right?

  • Samiimas

    I sense more hate in Keith O’s rant than anything I heard from anyone supporting prop-8.

    “WAAH That guy was rude when he pointed out that we’re pathetic hate filled bigots no different from the interracial marriage opponents!”

    I also how you have the nerve to flat out lie to us and pretend you aren’t aware of the flagrant prejudice and hatred from the pro-8 bigots *like that time they tried to take rights away from gay people* that dwarfs any rant.

  • Citizen Z

    Since when has disagreeing with someone or something been hate? I sense more hate in Keith O’s rant than anything I heard from anyone supporting prop-8.

    What a shame!


    I’d add that you must not get out much. I’ve been looking at blogs with Prop-8 supporters, and the comments are thick with anti-gay slurs and profanity.

  • Steve

    It’s true that what drives the Prop8 activists is hatred and a lack of humanity, but that’s not what motivated the vast majority of people who fell for their lies. What got to them where the dishonest ads about children who would be allegedly affected by “teaching them about homosexuality” and similar nonsense.

    What got those people to vote wasn’t hate, but simply fear.

  • wright1

    The passage of Prop 8 stunned me and made me feel ashamed to be a 4th-generation Californian. Today is a great day.

    Many battles are still ahead, but Judge Walker’s decision gives me hope.

    @ Citizen Z: your observation is dead-on. The banal, day-to-day acceptance of evil: there is the root of its power.

  • Dan W

    These special comments are what make me think Keith Olbermann is awesome. Hooray for civil rights; I’m glad to see the ridiculous Prop. 8 overturned.

  • R9

    While I’m very glad to see prop 8 overturned, I wouldn’t assume every supporter was propelled by hate. There are other factors like ignorance, fear, or just falling for stupid religious ideology.

  • I certainly was choked up reading the Judge Walker statement. Then to have friends on Facebook that I grew up with, say that their vote didn’t count.

    Olbermann, who I still respect some (he tends to be a bit on the over-reactive side at times), gave a great closing speech. His painting of history and marriage was perfect. But even if the religious conservatives that supported Prop 8 were to sit down with an open mind and actually hear his words, I still think they would embrace the ignorant sheep-like mindset of their respective religions and say it was because God says no to gay and homosexual rights.

    My hope is for equality for all, but I have an even bigger hope that those that still support discrimination would think for a moment about the humanity of all this, that their minds would open just to question what their biased leaders are filling their heads with and think for themselves.

  • Steve said it best above:

    It’s true that what drives the Prop8 activists is hatred and a lack of humanity, but that’s not what motivated the vast majority of people who fell for their lies. What got to them where the dishonest ads about children who would be allegedly affected by “teaching them about homosexuality” and similar nonsense.

    What got those people to vote wasn’t hate, but simply fear.

    Fear. The key to controlling others.

  • Darius

    Just watched the documentary, 8: The Mormon Proposition, here in Austin. For most it may just be preaching to the choir, but was interesting to an uninformed Texan like myself.

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