Prop. 8 Update: America’s Post-Gay & Post-Racial

By Daisy Hernandez Jan 26, 2010

The legal fight to overturn Prop. 8 took a scary turn yesterday for communities of color. The defenders of hetero marriage argued that gays and lesbians don’t need the state to protect them from discrimination because they have political clout. What counts as political clout? Organizing. That means raising money, creating public awareness about your community’s issues, and getting legislators to support your group’s cause. "Gays and lesbians are able to achieve positive outcomes in the political process" and can "attract the attention of lawmakers,” according to Kenneth Miller, a political science professor who testified as a witness for the defense of the same-sex marriage ban. He also added that Obama has given lesbians and gays “significant support.” From all of that Miller concluded that gays and lesbians are not a persecuted minority group needing the state’s help. (And here I thought that people having the right to engage in a political process was….oh, I don’t know…a democracy.) What Miller and the pro-Prop. 8 side really did yesterday in court was to argue that the United States is post-gay. But you can’t be post-gay without also being post-racial. If the judge buys Miller’s argument, it would give legal support to the idea that Blacks, Latinos and other people of color are also too empowered to deserve the state’s attention and protection. Blacks have, after all, raised money to fight police brutality. They’ve created public awareness around the racial disparities in crack-cocaine sentencing laws. They’ve elected candidates to public office. You see where this is going: Blacks are as free of racism as gays are of homophobia. A group of organizations including the Equal Justice Society and the NAACP warned us about the arguments Miller made yesterday when Prop. 8 went before voters in 2008. "We cannot become a society that picks and chooses who is entitled to equal rights," wrote Alice A. Huffman, president of the California State NAACP. Image by The Factionist and used under a creative commons license.