November 19th, 2008


Dan Savage on the post-Prop. 8 protests

Dan Savage spoke out about the post-Prop. 8 protests on his latest podcast. His logic is sound and his delivery is frightfully witty – I know some of the impact is lost in transcription, but here goes:

The leadership of the Mormon church is a bit upset about the protests that have broken out all over the country… that are thrilling and heartening for gays and lesbians who feel a bit under siege in the United States of America right now. It was great to see tens of thousands – hundreds of thousands of people take to the streets all over the country. The religious right is shitting themselves. They don’t quite realize what they’ve unleashed. Particularly the Mormon church, which financed, to a great extent – the majority of the money, the majority of the volunteers – Prop. 8 in California, stripping gay and lesbian Californians of their newly-won right to wed – they’re particularly shitting themselves because a lot of gays and lesbians are very angry – a lot of straight people are very angry at the Mormon church, and the Mormon church is now saying, “Heeeeey, hey, hey! Uh, you guys?”

The leadership of the Mormon church released a statement that says, “Attacks on churches and intimidation of people of faith have no place in civil discourse over controversial issues. People of faith have a democratic right to express their views in a public square without fear of reprisal.”

I agree! People of faith have a right to express themselves in a public square without fear of reprisal. “Reprisal” is not angry queers waving placards on public sidewalks in front of your Bigot Inc. churches. That is not a reprisal, that is us exercising our right to free speech, and our right to participate in the democratic process. You know, LDS leadership – and I’m sorry, well, you know, another Rantcast, another edition of the Rantcast, but these are extraordinary times – you know LDS, when political attacks are launched from churches, political responses will be delivered to churches. If goddamn McDonald’s had organized and paid for Prop. 8, we’d be marching on goddamn McDonald’s. You guys organized and funded Prop. 8, and we are taking it back to your front fucking door. You kicked in our front fucking doors, and took our marriage licences, and forcibly divorced 18,000 couples in California, so don’t come fucking crying to us because some angry queers showed up waving signs in front of your Bigot Inc. franchises. Alright?

      -- Dan Savage, Savage Lovecast (#109 - November 18th, 2008)

If I can jump in, I have this to say: There are some who say, “Let them have their such-and-such but don’t call it marriage.” Yes, that kind of separate-but-equal logic worked great with blacks in the South, didn’t it? But besides that point, who are we to legally fix the definition of words? It’s socially and linguistically repugnant. If you don’t want to call it marriage, then don’t call it marriage. If you don’t want to call a spade a spade, fine. Your idiolect is your business – as it is for everyone else. Maybe you folks in USAmerica should just call it marriage without waiting for the government. Why wait? If everyone just called it marriage, then you’d have de facto marriage, if not de jure, but history has shown that no one gives a crap about the official status of any given thing in law. The real social code is unwritten. We almost always just do what we’re bloody well inclined to do. So let’s keep doing that. Eventually, government will probably catch up – it’s slightly more responsive to change than religion.

I'm saddened that I have to add that as much as I'm in favor of protests, I can't condone juvenile, destructive, and antisocial tactics such as (but in this case probably not limited to) vandalism. This isn't to pick on these protesters in particular - this sort of crap happens with almost any large protest over almost any issue, and it's simply a shame.