I just read Elizabeth Esther’s post, Apologizing to my gay neighbors, which is about her apologizing to her gay neighbors for her vocal support for Proposition 8 in California, which was anti-gay marriage.
I have never studied the history of the gay rights movement, but I wonder if Proposition 8 marks a significant development in its history. Before Proposition 8, the impression that I got from homosexual or liberal acquaintances was that they were basically resigned to society’s disapproval of gay marriage. They didn’t like it, but what could they do? One person told me that he was hurt that state after state was passing bans on gay marriage—and that often these measures were approved by 70 per cent or more of voters. This was in 2004. I was once in a classroom in which the students were predominantly liberal, and someone sarcastically asked, “Is there any place in America where gay marriage is legal?” This was in 2006.
But, in 2008, after Proposition 8 was passed, I saw on television and I read about homosexuals who vocally expressed their outrage. It was like they were mad as hell, and they weren’t going to take it anymore! They were not resigned to society’s stance against gay marriage, but they were sick of it, and they were letting people know that they were sick of it.
What sparked the change? Was it that homosexuality was becoming more and more accepted in American society, and so gay activists felt that they now had a fighting chance?