UPDATE: I now realize that my real problem with Prop 8 and the whole “marriage equality” argument is that it’s all well and fine for those queer couples that have wealth and for whom existing economic systems work well.

What I mean by that is, it’s all well and good for those (largely gay white men) who have well-paying jobs with health benefits that their partner can take advantage of.

But what about us queers that are poor?

Why should I care about whether my girlfriend and I can marry and pass on wealth when I don’t have any wealth?

What about us queers that are targeted by the police state? How does being married help when all that’ll give us is the ability to have conjugal visits? (and probably be raped in the process, don’t get me started on police.)

What about us queers that aren’t legally allowed to be the gender we know ourselves to be? What about those of us who live outside the heterosexual-defined gender binary?

To paraphrase Michael Jackson, “they don’t really care about us.”

For too many months I’ve been thinking about Proposition 8 – how I feel about it and where that squares with my gayness.

This makes me feel like a traitor in some ways, or perhaps like I’m still very young and don’t get the nuances, but frankly, I don’t care whether we call it marriage, all I want is the right to take care of my partner when she’s sick and for her to be able to inherit my wealth and take care of our kids if I die.

I don’t understand why some people want more than a civil union to give them those rights.

And as a writer, I concede that the word “marriage” carries emotional weight, but like Juliet said “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

And let’s be honest, marriage ain’t all that sweet, y’all. Ever since it was invented, marriage has been more about property (woman as property, children as property, property all belonging to a man) and abuse (of a girl’s right to choose who to marry, of a man’s right to choose who to marry, of either person’s right to choose when to have children and when to have sex) than anything holy and sanctified.

Marriage and love did not equate until very recently. In many parts of the world, the two are still mutually exclusive.

As long as I can publicly declare my love for my girlfriend or wife, I’m happy.

Second point: quite honestly, I think American gays are getting a little too hung up on their fight for “marriage equality” and are losing sight of the fight for EQUALITY that is still going on all over the world for gays and lesbians.

We’re getting a little ahead of ourselves, is what I’m saying. Worldwide, we haven’t won the fight for gays to remain alive after coming out or being publicly outed. Matthew Shepherd wasn’t that long ago. Don’t even think about what’s going on in Iraq, Jordan and Jamaica.

People are being killed, murdered, put to death because there is a rumor they are gay. Come on, people! Write up a contract, fight for the legality of that contract, and have a nice ceremony with your family and friends and have it be over. Let the bigots have their “marriage.” Let’s work on the fact that in most places in this country and the world, there are people who want to kill us!

That said, I found this comment on The New York Times‘ article about today’s demonstrations and decisions in San Francisco quite interesting, from a legal standpoint.

March 05, 2009 2:33 pmLink
This issue shouldn’t be about whether gay marriage is right or wrong, it should be whether an initiative can overturn a statute by the California constitution. I think the key point noted in the article is that if a 52% vote can deny the right for gays to marry, which was affirmed by the courts, then a majority of the vote can force any other group in the state to adhere to whatever laws the majority determines. This is classic tyranny of the majority and was a constant worry for the founding fathers of the US constitution.

And mark, pheonix – I am not well versed in law but i believe this ruling by the state supreme court can not be appealed to the U.S. supreme court because they do not have jurisdiction over state constitutions. Whatever happens with this ruling will be the final decision. I believe in order to take a state law to the US supreme court you need to show that that law violates your rights under the US constitution. I am not sure any such law would in this case.

— Brian, Seattle

Emphasis mine.
I shudder to think what our country would look like right now if we had allowed a majority vote on ending slavery, or a majority vote on ending McCarthyism, or a majority vote on miscegenation that became ENSHRINED INTO THE CONSTITUTION. *shudder*
On an un-PC and side note, I do find it ironic and kind of deserved that Proposition 8 passed, given that it’s openly acknowledged that a primary cause of its passing was that over 70% of black people in California voted for Prop 8. Historically, the gay movement (like the women’s rights movement) has been overrepresented by white gays and lesbians. Everybody knows this, yet the gay groups once again failed to do enough outreach into the black communities and probably also the Hispanic communities in California to gain support to knock down Prop 8. Should teach them something. As a black gay woman, these were my first thoughts after Prop 8 passed – HRC et. al. didn’t do enough work and assumed Prop 8 would fail, and like usual, they “made an ass out of u and me.”