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Prop 8 postscript

Submitted by on 1, November 6, 2008 – 11:00 amNo Comment

This election was a bittersweet one for the Rev. Laura Rose, who is pastor of First Congregational Church on Central Avenue. She’s elated about Illinois Sen. Barack Obama’s successful bid for the White House, and the historic nature of his victory. But she is also dealing with her disappointment over the passage of Proposition 8, which eliminates same-sex couples’ right to marry.

“I look at it this way: We never imagined an African-American man in the White House. Things take time,” she told us Wednesday afternoon, after a late night of staying up to watch the results.

Rose and her partner of 10 years married over the summer, and her church has been performing same-sex marriages since the May 15 state Supreme Court ruling that authorized the marriages went into effect. But as long as the proposition stands, other families like hers can’t follow the couple’s footsteps to wedded bliss. (And since we talked to Rose, we read a few news articles about fresh lawsuits challenging Proposition 8 which also questioned what will become of the 18,000 same-sex marriages that have already been performed in California.)

Rose said the proposition marks a big step backward from efforts that could someday lead to federal recognition of same-sex marriages. Without that recognition, the couple isn’t eligible for a lot of the rights heterosexual couples enjoy, including being able to file joint tax forms, shared Social Security benefits and hospital visits in states that don’t recognize their marriage.

And while she’s trying to focus on the good things that happened here (like the dozens of folks bearing “No on 8” signs outside Alameda’s polling places) she’s having a hard time with the fact that people are attacking her rights in the name of faith.

Rose said same-sex couples need to change the narrative around marriage in the same way people of color changed the narrative around civil rights. (Think about it: In this election, we voted for the rights of egg-laying chickens to be in bigger cages and against the rights of thousands of consenting adults.)

“I need to hold on to the hope and the inspiration of the civil rights movement,” she said. “Until the narrative shifts.”

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