I am reposting a dear friend's blog post today (I have midterms... I'll write my own once the crazy stops). Plus, this is an important issue to me, and it fits in with the theme of my blog: Love. That love may be knitting, about my puppy, my passion for politics, or even for Groom. But this is a LOVE blog. And I LOVE this post. I was lead to this blog post by a Twitter message saying, "I'm Getting Married!"
I’m Getting Married!
Now that I’ve used a cruel trick to get your attention, I implore you to read on. It will only take a few minutes of your time, I promise.
I grew up in California and I’m gay. It took years to find the courage to come out and tell people that simple fact. Unless you’ve been there yourself it may be hard to imagine the intense fear the prospect of telling people who you really are can represent.
What if my family disowns me? What if I lose my job? What if my friends abandon me? What if someone attacks me simply because of who I am? These aren’t fleeting thoughts for gay men and women living in the closet. They are persistent, pervasive and powerful.
I’ve been open about who I am for almost ten years now. My parents still love me. My friends have stuck with me. The jobs I’ve had in these years since coming out treat their gay employees with equality and respect. I’m lucky in that regard, for many people that is not the case. The freedom I now feel is amazing but that freedom is also limited.
Some facts you may find surprising:
- I can be fired from my job simply for being gay in 30 states.
- I can be denied housing simply for being gay in 36 states.
- I can enter into a loving, legally recognized relationship in only 11 states, and of those states, only two guarantee full equality.
- I am not protected from Hate Crimes, simply for being gay, in 19 states.
- Gay kids in school are not protected from anti-gay bullying in 38 states.
One day I’d like to return home to California with the person I love to officially tie the knot so that we can enjoy the same rights and responsibilities as our married friends, family and co-workers. On May 15, 2008 California became one of only two states to grant equal protection and equal rights to same-sex couples – those rights are now in SERIOUS jeopardy.
There’s growing recognition that – like freedom of religion and freedom of speech — the freedom to marry is fundamental to our society. No one can tell you which church to attend, or what you can and cannot say. And no one should be able to tell you whom you can love and marry. Marriage allows couples to express a lifetime commitment to each other, and gives spouses the responsibility for crucial medical decisions in an emergency. Why should we deny same-sex couples that same security, dignity and respect? Marriage equality in California does not force churches to change their beliefs – it doesn’t even require them to believe in equality for gay men and women. It simply says the State will treat all people with equality and respect.
I’m sure you’ve heard about “Domestic Partnerships” and “Civil Unions” but the truth is, neither provides same-sex couples with ALL of the important legal protections and responsibilities as marriage.
Weeks ago, it looked like Proposition 8 was going down in flames and that marriage equality would prevail. Over the past month though, supporters of Proposition 8 have raised nearly twice as much money from all over the country – nearly $30 million – as those supporting marriage equality. Supporters of Proposition 8 are now running deceptive ads all over the state to convince people to vote against marriage equality and it seems to be working. The polls have gotten awfully close – too close.
While money is important, PERSONAL CONTACT is vital.
That is why I’m contacting you.
If you aren’t from California, I’m sure you know people in California. If you are from California – well, I guess you must know other Californians. It’s time to reach out to your friends.
If you know people who probably won’t support Proposition 8, please check in with them and personally remind them to vote NO and encourage them to find five of their friends to vote NO.
If you know people who will probably support Proposition 8 – thus ending marriage equality in California – please contact them and make a personal appeal. If you are gay, make your case in personal terms that your friend will have trouble ignoring. If you are straight and have gay relatives or friends, make it personal on their behalf.
Studies show that real one-on-one communication, friend-to-friend, neighbor-to-neighbor, is infinity more effective than the endless loop of television ads and mailers used to push voters one way or the other.
Here are five other ways you can help…
- TELL YOUR FRIENDS: Like I said above, reach out to your friends personally by phone, email, or by using this form: http://eqfed.org/campaign/vow/forward
- CONTRIBUTE: Help the No On Proposition 8 campaign spread their message throughout California with a contribution: https://secure.ga4.org/01/equalityforall
- CALL VOTERS: You can call voters throughout California and encourage them to vote NO on Proposition 8: http://noonprop8.com/page/?id=0047
- HOST A PARTY: Invite your friends and family into your home and encourage them to vote NO and get involved: http://www.noonprop8.com/page/?id=0002
- REGISTER TO VOTE: Make sure you are registered to vote and that your friends, family and co-workers are registered to vote so they can help defeat Proposition 8 on Election Day: http://www.sos.ca.gov/nvrc/fedform/
It’s worth noting that civil rights groups, religious leaders, and elected officials from throughout California – and beyond – are all opposing Proposition 8. Senator Barack Obama and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger don’t agree on much, but they both oppose Proposition 8. They’ve both come to the conclusion that regardless of how they feel personally, it’s just plain wrong to single out one group of people and exclude them from enjoying the same rights and responsibilities as other citizens.
At a time when many political questions seem to divide us, it’s inspiring to see people united around the fundamental things that matter — equality, freedom and fairness for all.
So, no I’m not getting married, but one day I’d like to – and I’d like you to be there. I hope I can count on your help. My civil rights – the civil rights of millions of Californians are depending on you.
Thank you so much for taking a moment to read this email and please feel free to forward it on to everyone you know.
Karl Frisch http://www.karlfrisch.com
P.S. Help spread the word on Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter. Post this message to your profile or share the following link with a short note on Twitter: http://tinyurl.com/4oal46