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Column: Prop. 8 Proponents Must Be Held Accountable For Bigotry

This story was written by Indira Dammu, Indiana Daily Student


Last week, on a rather cold and bleary Saturday, around 250 Indiana University students and community members gathered at the downtown square to protest the passage of Proposition 8, a California initiative that redefines marriage as between a woman and man. I was one of them.

Im not gay, and I dont have a personal stake in equal marriage rights, but it felt good to support my gay and lesbian friends. It also seemed important to make my presence known after the recent bad blood between the GLBT and minority communities. Specifically, Californias exit polls indicate that about 70 percent of blacks voted for the proposition.

This disappointing number shocked many in the GLBT community, since they thought one marginalized group would stand in solidarity with another. After all, it was not too long ago that archaic notions of marriage and bigotry prevented blacks from marrying whites. However, this was not to be.

Instead, blame was heaped on No on Proposition 8 activists for failing to do outreach among black churches and other minority outlets. For the record, no group should have to beg another group for equal rights, particularly when one of those groups knows exactly what it means to be a second-class citizen. Nobody should have to justify their love or commitment to the rest of society. To suggest otherwise is ridiculous.

This anger, while palpable at the rally, can only aid us for so long. At some point, we have to move beyond all the challenges and look forward. Court battles will be waged and articles bemoaning Proposition 8 will be written. This isnt enough.

The GLBT community is afforded a unique opportunity to demonstrate that they arent faceless entities leading unproductive lives. Strength is in numbers and protesting constructively is necessary. I recommend taking a page out of the Mormons play book. Since August, the Mormon community has contributed more than $17.67 million to protecting marriage, according to an Oct. 22 article from advocate.com, the online version ofthe GLBT newsmagazine.

The influence that money wields is powerful and various gay activists are proposing a boycott of businesses that gave political contributions to the passage of Proposition 8. Several online databases list political contributions by state and others list more gay-friendly businesses.

There are some conservatives, particularly Christians, who will argue that targeting local businesses for political donations reeks of McCarthyism. The reasoning here is that businesses should not be punished for supporting a cause dear to them. Of course, these same people conveniently forget their boycott of national businesses like McDonalds, Ford Motor Co. and P&G for their promotion of the homosexual agenda.

But there is a larger issue here. People who actively choose to deny equal marriage rights arent just espousing a political view. Indeed, such individuals are supporting bigotry and they must be held accountable.

To be sure, this isnt about retribution or exacting revenge. Businesses should act responsibly and when they refuse to acknowledge customer equality, we can just take our money elsewhere.

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