Kundalini Splendor

Kundalini Splendor <$BlogRSDURL$>

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Proposition 8 (poem) 

Proposition 8

(In November, 2008, the majority of voters in California voted for an amendment of the constitution which would take away the right of same sex couples to be married. The Catholic church as well as the Mormon church poured millions of dollars into the state to support the passage of this proposed amendment, known as Proposition 8.)

The first thing they did
was to take away
our identity.
They told us we
did not, could not,
would not exist.
Not in their world.
Not negotiable.

So we went underground,
made ourselves invisible,
never told anyone
or said the wrong thing.

It was fairly easy.
We became old maid schoolteachers
or the career woman who
had no time for love.
Somehow we found one another,
kept the blinds closed,
planted tall hedges
in the yard
so as not to disturb.

Again and again they asked,
“Why is it a nice girl like you
never married?”
and we replied,
“Oh, I’m just waiting for Mr. Right
to come along.”
Sometimes we gave up
and married him,
only to discover that he was,
in fact, Mr. Wrong.
We got out as best we could,
often ended up with a low paying job
and two kids to support,
no alimony or help.

As the years went by,
things got a bit better.
Theoretically, they could no longer
fire us from our jobs
just because they didn’t like
they let us come into
the room
when our partners were dying.
We could even buy
houses together.
They didn’t stone us
in the street,
though they still whispered
a lot
behind our backs.

We were, in fact,
“that way,”
meaning we based our alliances
on love
rather than on anatomy,
which is what they insisted on.

Finally, we made it
all the way to the altar,
to sanctify
what was already sacred
in our view.
But “they “ rose up
once more to oppose us,
insisting we did not have
the right to choose
the ones to spend
our lives with as a blessing
rather than a contract.

The most vocal ones
came from an institution
that for centuries
had allowed its representatives
the privilege of taking
whatever boys they chose
and using them
for their own purposes, while
the hierarchy turned
a blind eye.
They did not seem to notice
the contradiction,
and perhaps thought
that by pointing the finger
at us they would distract
attention from their own
They seemed to forget
that not many years before
their group had been called
the “Great Beast”
by the tent preachers,
and even the Klan
had marched against it.
Their ally was a church
which itself had been
persecuted in its beginnings,
driven across the land,
and seen as reprehensible
for its practices.
Their definition of marriage
had not been
one man
and one woman,
but one man
and as many women
as he could muster
around him,
much like a rooster
and his hens.
Neither institution, of course,
allowed women
to become part
of the hierarchy,
since that too
would violate God’s plan.
Women could instead
bear many children
and make cloths for the services
or serve food at the social
The once oppressed thus
became the oppressors,
insisting, like the Taliban,
that their definitions
were the only right ones
and that everyone else
must follow,
ignoring the fact
that love doesn’t
obey their laws
but has its own unpredictable ways.

And so they won another time,
but we did not stop.
We had tasted freedom,
and we demanded our right
to be acknowledged
and seen
as equal, since ours
is a society
based on civil law
and not the premises
of a theocratic state.
Once a people
raises it head
and says, “Look,
here I am,
I am real,
I exist,”
you can’t stuff them
back in their cages again.

We will not stop midway.
We will continue
to struggle ahead.
We will take back
the dark night
in which you have
so long placed us.
We too will, at last,
be free.

Dorothy Walters
November 13, 2008
(The photo is one I took at the Gay Pride march in San Francisco last June. There was much jubiliation at the time, for gays and lesbians had been given the right to get married at city hall and many were doing so, some after long years of waiting. Proposition 8 would deny such rights to same sex couples, even those who had spent decades of their lives together.)

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?