The power of listening

Rally at SF City Hall Nov 5th

Rally at SF City Hall Nov 5th

With the passage of Prop 8 now admitted by all parties – the margin is considered great enough despite the considerable votes uncounted – we are beginning the aftermath.  Anger as well as despair are the emotions that I am going through right now.

I’m angry that more than half of voters do not think gays and lesbians deserve the same consideration they get from California laws.

I’m angry that tax exempt churches preached intolerance and foster the very attitudes and practices that their Founder preached against.

I’m despairing that my marriage of just three months may be over.  And I hadn’t even gotten used to having in-laws yet!

But what are our next steps going to be?  Well, the marches and vigils are aready underway.  As a friend of mine said, who was at the one at City Hall on Wednesday, these can be a good way to channel anger.  But that begs the question of what the most constructive next steps are for the LGBT civil rights movement.  A movement whose leaders, or at least the leaders of the major organizations such as HRC, never wanted to pursue marriage equality.  Never wanted to pursue it, because of the opposition, but in the end were forced to by the grassroots – individuals who sued in Hawaii, Vermont, Caifornia and other jurisdictions.

The results of the Prop 8 vote tell us that more than 52% of voters do not favor same-sex marriage.  Lawsuits are already underway to challenge Prop 8 in court, and they may succeed.  But if not, it’s going to take a massive effort on our parts to change minds.  A lot of them.  And we are not going to do it unless we go out and make sure we listen to the reasons people voted for Prop 8.

What do religious leaders understand about LGBTQ people and issues?  Where do they get their information?

What are they teaching their congregations?

What common ground do they see between their religion and the struggle for LGBTQ civil rights?

These are just a few of the questions we need to be canvassing a cross-section of religious leaders about.  Both from the denominations that supported Prop 8 and opposed it.  Because without understanding the opposing views, we can’t succeeed at changing minds.

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