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VIEWS Hope in the wake of Prop 8
Special to the Online Edition of Windy City Times
by Darrne Main
2008-11-19


In the wake of the Prop 8 vote, it is easy for the LGBT community and those that support us to feel deflated. To focus on the temporary loss rather than the amazing strides we have made since Harvey Milk said, "You cannot live on hope alone—but without it life is not worth living." In spite of this set back, which is admittedly disappointing, we have so much to be hopeful for.

We have a new president who has pledged to give us the same federal rights that straight married couples enjoy. Young people voted overwhelmingly against Prop 8, and while the results of the vote were not what we had wanted, the vote was much closer than the 2000 Knight Initiative.

There's even room for hope when considering the driving force behind the anti gay marriage movement—the Christian vote. According to The Barna Group, a polling organization that specializes in the views of Christians, attitudes are changing ( albeit slowly ) . According to a recent survey, Christians under the age of thirty-five are "much more likely to argue that homosexual relations should be legal; substantially more likely to consider homosexuality an acceptable lifestyle; and notably more likely to approve of clergy conducting or blessing gay marriages."

There is reason for concern, however. This week I learned of plans by some in the LGBT community to protest at the local Mormon Church in response to their financial support of Prop 8. To protest any religion, even those that actively oppose our rights, is counterproductive and harmful to our cause. If we truly want to stand up for our own rights, we can only do so by showing deference toward the rights of others. As much as we might disagree with some people of faith, that doesn't give us the right to disrupt their religious service or suggest that they should not be able to believe what they like, vote how they see fit, and financially support causes in which they feel passionate.

History often casts a long cold shadow on those who oppose the rights of others. Gay rights suffered a blow in the short term, but in the long arc of history, equality always wins. For now, it is my deepest hope that future generations will look back on this time and see those who opposed Prop 8 as dignified and peaceful warriors rather than an angry mob because if we truly want to hasten the day when marriage equality is a reality, we need to demonstrate to the world that we are not angry and deranged the way Mormons and other conservative Christians portray us.

All great social justice movements are rooted in hope, not anger. For Gandhi, King, Milk and, now, Obama, hope is central to their message. They inspire us to strive for our rights without denying others theirs and to earn the respect of others by showing them deference even when they are not yet willing or capable of responding in kind.

Read more story below....

So to my fellow opponents of Prop 8, I hope you will take to the streets and make your voices heard, but never lose sight of the fact that the only way we will lose this fight is if we follow the lead of those whom oppose equal rights by joining them in a shouting match rather than leading the way to a more enlightened future.

Darren Main is the author of Hearts & Minds: Talking to Christians about Homosexuality.

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