Friday, May 16, 2008


As I'm sure you've all heard, the California Supreme Court decided yesterday that gay men and lesbians cannot legally be denied the right to marry. It was close, a 4-3 vote, but four's enough.

Their decision overturned a 2000 voter-approved ballot measure, in which 61 percent of Californians agreed that "only marriage between a man and a woman (should be) valid and recognized in California."

In San Francisco, a short 80 miles from here, people took to the streets in celebration. Back home in Manteca, where the streets were silent and swelteringly hot, I was glued to the news.

Have you seen the pictures? Incredible. I'm in love with the screams and the hugging. I'm in love with the kissing on the courthouse steps. I am in love with yesterday - oh, to have been in San Francisco yesterday.

Still, there's this knot in my stomach. It's the knot that warns me about getting too hopeful, about setting myself up for a big fall. I hate this knot. It's a shitty, stupid knot, but it has a point.

As much as I want to bury myself in yesterday and never come out, I know most places aren't San Francisco, and most people aren't kissing at the courthouse. Sixty-one percent of people didn't want this - that's a lot of percent. This could all be undone.

So I thought it was important to see how people in Manteca feel about the fact that gay couples can now marry in their state. I asked 10 of them today, with my poker face on, outside the Manteca Post Office. (Responses are real; names and photos are not.)

Todd Binghamton:
"Personally? I think it sucks. I don't condone homosexuality, so I really don't condone them having legal status."

Slick Jackson:
"(Yelled angrily over his shoulder as he walked away) It was crazy enough for our kids before. Now they're really going to be confused."

Paul Wildeyes:
"I have no problem with that whatsoever. I have no reason why anybody who wants to be married shouldn't be married."

Mary Smith:
"I have no opinion on that. It doesn't really affect my life."

Jerry Sternman:
"I am against gay marriage. They should have some rights, I guess, like Social Security, but marriage doesn't have to be in the picture. (Do you disagree with the gay lifestyle?) It's unnatural. The Bible does say it's a major sin."

Trudy Rougher:
"It doesn't really matter to me because it's up to the individual. But I don't think god sees it very well, let's put it that way."

Jill Wishawasher:
"I don't really mind it. I'm OK about it. (Would you say you are happy about the decision?) It doesn't really bother me. I have gay friends, but they had a ceremony a long time ago."

Penny Pinch:
"(Scoff) I think it's wrong, definitely."

Enrique Jones:
"The bottom line is, marriage is a religious thing. If you want to just do the paperwork or whatever, do unions. Why you want to go into a church and do it? That's what they're trying to do, is change our religion."

Rachel Martinez:
"I'm torn on that issue, because I know morally and ethically, the way I was brought up as a Christian, it is totally wrong. But torn, because I have a gay brother, so how can I not love him? ... It's very hard to explain to your children. (me: What do you tell them?) I try to explain to my children that everybody has their sins and our sins are different. But I tell them that we have to love everybody anyway."

So, as we might have thought, they're not dancing in the streets in Manteca. But honestly, I expected stronger anti-gay sentiment from the people of "The Family City." Well, let's just hope things stays civil. Let's hope it doesn't come to this.

1 comment:

Eden From Sweden said...

Oh, man. You ended a triumphant piece on gay marriage with a link to an article on a gay beating? You're worse than an HRC fundraising letter!
Just kidding. Kisses, HRC. You're still fabulous.