Prop 8 and the NOH8 Campaign
If you’re looking for a post from me stating my opinion on gay marriage, this is not that post. Rather, this post is about political maneuvering and the emotional shill game that often fuels debate in our society, especially when it comes to “equality” and “minority” issues.
Proposition 8 is a an amendment to California’s state constitution, officially banning gay marriage. It was voted on and passed into law on November 4, 2008, by a margin of 52.24% in favor and 47.76% against. (Read Wikipedia’s Proposition 8 page here.)
Gay marriage is a politically loaded topic in our society right now, and it has largely been pushed by gay rights groups and liberal organizations. After Prop 8 passed, numerous groups protested the law, using both the court system and the court of public opinion. There were nationwide protests. There was a film made, entitled 8: The Mormon Proposition, which was played at Sundance.
NOH8 is probably the most famous campaign in favor of overturning the law. It’s official web page can be found here.
Before I tell you what I don’t like about NOH8, let me tell you what I do like. I do like that this is a private, citizen-based, grassroots organization. It’s not a government sanctioned or supported effort to force gay marriage on us. It’s a group of private citizens using their talents to promote something they believe in. This is how things should be done in the US. If I said anything different, I’d be a hypocrite. After all, the Tea Party is similar in composition, if not political ideology.
That aside, here’s what I don’t like.
First off, I think the name perpetrates a political and social lie. The idea: that anyone who doesn’t want to extend marriage contract law to include same-sex couples is a de facto homophobe or gay “hater” is ridiculous. Gay marriage is a complex issue precisely because marriage law in the US (and many other countries) is a combination of religious and secular laws and customs. To marginalize the majority of US citizens, who do not currently support “marriage equality,” seems ridiculous. But, I respect the group’s right to do it. After all, I have no problem labeling Helen Thomas and people who stand against Israel as anti-semites.
Still, this campaign is a huge steamroller, all based on the idea that, “if you’re not 100% for every item on our agenda, you must hate gay people. You’re not a bigot, are you?”
The other reason I don’t like NOH8 is because of it’s perpetuation of the homosexual as victim. NOH8 features pictures of people with duct tape over their mouths, “symbolizing their voices being silenced by Prop 8 and similar legislation around the world, with “NOH8″ painted on one cheek in protest.” (NOH8)
I hate, hate, hate this sentence. Not only does it play at my emotionality by telling me I must be a victim and am silenced, but it clearly misrepresents the facts. The gay rights movement has been one of the most vocal – and successfully so – civil rights movements in all of history. It has hardly been silent.
June is officially LGBT Pride month by Presidential proclamation. Hundreds of cities have parades and festivals. With regards to Proposition 8, both sides of the issue engaged in record-breaking promotion and fund raising involving church groups, political groups and private businesses. According to NOH8’s own About page:
“Nearly one year since its inception, the NOH8 Campaign has grown to over 2,000 faces and continues to grow at an exponential rate. The campaign began with portraits of everyday Californians from all walks of life and soon rose to include politicians, military personnel, newlyweds, law enforcement, artists, celebrities, and many more.
The NOH8 Campaign has received overwhelming support from around the world, appearing on various local and national news programs and publications. The images are currently being used on various social networking sites to spread the message of equality, predominantly Facebook and Twitter. Eventually the images are expected to be compiled for a large-scale media campaign.”
This is hardly representative of voices who have been silenced.
It is estimated that roughly 10% of the population is gay. And, since gay people don’t propagate (gay people do reproduce, but their offspring are no more likely to be gay than anyone else’s), that population segment is hardly likely to rise significantly.
On the other hand, according to Wikipedia (my favorite go-to source for conservative statistics since they have a decidedly liberal bent) claims 78% of the population in the United States identifies as Christian. Yet, I would argue that gay people have a much more vocal presence in American society, and particularly in the media, than Christians.
Faith, and articles of faith, are the leading reason I can see why people are against gay marriage. Not homophobia, but belief and tradition. For good or bad. And yet we can openly talk about the gay agenda and gay marriage, but not about God.
If you ask me, if there were someone whose picture should be taken with a piece of tape over his mouth, it’s Jesus.