Marriage and Family Therapist
Julie Cohen is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist MFT and a Child Mental Health Specialist with a private practice in Los Angeles. Her areas of focus include: depression, anxiety, panic, post-traumatic stress, bipolar…
Prop H8
Posted in Bisexuality by Julie Cohen on Nov 06, 2008


As the world has been fixated on the election so have I and as a result I am well over due for an article.  And although my topics generally focus on mental health when the world literally changes overnight so does my blog!

As I watched it all unfold from my living room in a suburb of Los Angeles, two races were on my mind.  Of course the presidential election being one and the second, the highly controversial, extraordinarily expensive and heated proposition 8 which sought to ban same-sex marriage in California by changing the state's constitution to include discrimination.  Can you tell which side I am on? 

At approximately 8:00 pm (Pacific Time) as the polls closed on the west coast, almost instantly the television news anchor announced "we now project that Barak Obama is the President elect" This historic stunning moment took my breath away and will be one of those moments that I will always remember. 

And at about 8:05 pm the results started coming in on prop 8 and from overwhelming joy I felt a giant punch in my stomach.  Even though the polls were just starting to report, it looked bad.  And as expected, when I woke up this morning prop 8 had passed by a narrow margin.  How could it be that in one moment a racial barrier was shattered and what was right and just in America conquered racism. And literally in the next moment hate reared its ugly head and division and discrimination through homophobia was given new life.    

If you didn't know or hadn't guessed yet, I am a Lesbian.  I am proud of who I am.  I have a loving partner of almost 14 years, a mortgage, a dog, a job, family and basically living what I think is a pretty normal and uneventful life.  I often wonder what have I done to others that I deserve to be treated as less than human.  Why was there more attention paid to the treatment of farm animals (prop. 2) in California than human rights?  (And I do value farm animals...a lot!).

For those of you not following California politics, just a few months back the California Supreme Court ruled in favor of civil rights and that separate is not equal.  And soon after Gay and Lesbians were granted the same rights awarded to every other adult citizen: The right to marry. 

It's an odd feeling when you realize how oppressed you were after that oppression is lifted. As bad as all of this is, the worst part in my opinion was before I was granted the right to marry I could only guess what it might be like to have the choice.  But, when I was granted "the choice," I now owned something tangible and I changed as a result.  I felt accepted by the State of California and for the first time I was no longer less than human.  I cannot put into words what that moment felt like.  But last night at 8:05 I remembered what I used to feel like just a few months back.   It's a demoralizing and alienating feeling to have a right granted to you and then taken away.   

For those of you who feel that loss tonight here in California or in another part of the Country know that it's normal to feel angry or depressed or even hopeless.  But, please know that you are not alone and we feel this together.  I was watching the news yet again tonight and 10,000 protesters marched peacefully on the streets of Los Angeles.  I saw in their faces pain and at the same time hope.  This battle goes on...



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Displaying comments 73-54 of 73
Hehehe, silly heterophobes.
By Daricron  Mar 20, 2011
I'm so tired of folks hurting homosexuals. All they want is just to have civil unions. Blah.
By ekatepnha  Mar 03, 2011
I'm so tired of folks hurting homosexuals. All they want is just to have civil unions. Blah.
By ekatepnha  Mar 03, 2011
here here.why cant gay people mary and live a normal happy life.we are not living in the dark ages any more [or are we ]yes i am a gay female living in england with my gay partner and our 2 children whom we love.we are a happy family.although i am not married [we have been together nearly 5 years now ]at least i have the choice.i think its disgusting that these people can lay down the law and normal people dont get a say.i just dont understand................
By skippie  Nov 10, 2009
The fact that most of these people are say the if your a gay man you should marry a women is appaling. I am a gay women and I adore California for the fact that its a buetiful OPEN MINDED state. How does any one decide it wrong to marry someone you love. I would like to meet someone and marry them. It will be like going Heotrosexuals cant marry. they would protest their rights. we have rights
By sumetimeijustdont  Dec 07, 2008
I am glad that you wrote about this and it definitely is a topic related to mental health. In 2005, I was hospitalized for an eating disorder, but what pushed me to the edge was that I was just informed that my best friend was engaged and I couldn't cope. I had had one for a long time, but this time was the worst and I totally stopped eating and drinking and so in a short time, was in the hospital, for I finally had to confront the issue of marriage and I didn't know how to deal. It is depressing and dehumanizing to know that I cannot get married. And I do not live in the more forward-thinking L.A., but in Bible-belt GA, where even if Proposition 8 was not passed, it would still be illegal for me. Sometimes I do not feel human. I am also a very strong and devoted Christian. I love my God and my country and it is a struggle for me to love them both back when there are people would like to deny me both.
By kcjones  Nov 29, 2008
I hope to continue the battle to support the right for ALL adults who choose to marry, to have the opportunity. It's about damn time.
By Cemetery  Nov 26, 2008
By nadine62  Nov 14, 2008
Dear Amber9999,

How does your Almighty Creator feel about two folks hooking up at a bar in Las Vegas and getting married by an Elvis impersonator? How does your Almighty Creator feel about two teenagers fooling around, getting knocked up and being forced by their parents to enter into a marriage they arenít ready for? How does your Almighty Creator feel when he watches his true believers on their fourth, fifth, sixth sacred blessed unions?

Sacred blessed union indeed. jp
By jpresto205  Nov 12, 2008
Julie, reading through the comments, I think you touched a nerve. :-)
By MontgomeryRats  Nov 11, 2008
I am a straight grandmother who has been married for 45 years. I just do not see how letting two people who love each other marry is going to have a negative effect on my marriage. Indeed the passing of Prop 8 was a dark cloud over an otherwise beautiful day. I live in Iowa. God bless you all and keep fighting. It is not over.
By OmaSusan  Nov 11, 2008
Fantastic point "lookeehere". I would love to see all those who replied with the argument of marriage only being a holy union give their answer to this. Let's hear it.
By emeraldskye  Nov 11, 2008
ok my ignorance is about to show: if marriage is a "holy union" only why do people get better deals on their federal income taxes if they are married and federal recognition as far as benefits are concerned if there is a separation of church and state? perhaps someone can explain this concept to me. why does the religious right get to argues this point from a religious stance? are we now saying that marriage is not a civil thing and if so can we please stop giving married folks government perks just cuz they are married?
By lookeehere  Nov 10, 2008
As you know as a Californian, we overwhelmingly passed Prop 22 just a few years ago and that among other propositions were overturned by the Supreme Court. This is not a government by the people when our votes can be overturned so easily.
I'm sorry that you see the passage of Proposition 8 as hate & homophobic. These are very common buzzwords and mere propoganda. It has nothing to do with hate or the fear of homosexuals for most of us, but a belief that marriage is a sacred union blessed by our Almighty Creator between man and woman only. This does not mean that He wants us to turn our backs and treat others badly, but love and accept them as He does with all of us. Acceptance means loving others despite their differences and true believers do, but at the same time will not vote on something we disagree with.
By Amber9999  Nov 10, 2008
Though I am heterosexual, I very much appreciate your comments about the rights of all gay men and women are human beings that have chosen their own way of life for whatever reason. To have the government overturn and literally change the Constitution due to the PH8 being voted against gay marriage, which was already accepted by the California Supreme Court, warrants a second look as to what is legal and proper in our justice system. So much more is problematic about our society and its beliefs, and as an example, due to the preachings of one's religious leaders who should not be influencing the rights of individuals to think for themselves as opposed to what you are told believe. by MsLibby7406
By libby7406  Nov 10, 2008
mercuryrayne- my point exactly. We wouldn't have as much if people took into consideration that it is until DEATH do you part. There are only a couple of considerations that will allow for divorce (unevenly yoked couple, where the non-believer leavves) and repeated adultery. My pastor is ready to start marrying people in a graveyard so they that really think about the commitment it is.
By kandyland2001  Nov 10, 2008
Thank you for writing about this on these pages. Civil rights and equality are mental health issues too.

I also live in L.A. and I attended that march on Sat. -- I think there were much more than 10,000 people there. I could not see it from beginning to end even when I stepped out and got onto a balcony. It was an extremely vibrant march and people seemed very energized and ready to fight back.

Today I saw an advance screening of the movie "Milk", starring Sean Penn, which is about openly gay San Francisco City Supervisor Harvey Milk. It ends in 1978, 30 years ago, and it is an incredibly topical movie for Californians. In his political speeches Harvey even uses the word "hope" a lot, and also just like Obama, makes sure to recruit people to the campaign in each of his rallies. But also there is a part of the movie about a California ballot initiative at that time to strip gays of their rights called Prop 6. At the screening today the writer spoke afterwards, and he, like others I've heard, feels that the No on Prop 8 campaign made a lot of mistakes this election, and he feels that Milk's political campaigns have a lot to teach about how to wage a successful campaign for gay rights. (They defeated Prop 6 back then.) Hopefully people will indeed go see this movie and get inspired by it, because this isn't over.
By BsDaughter  Nov 09, 2008
I feel sorry for all the many heterosexist people that are on here spreading their ignorance and hate. My family is a family of love, acceptance, kindness, honesty and we believe in human rights for all. Oh and we are a Lesbian run household. I hope those of you who are using religion and ignorance as an excuse to oppress and support hate finally see the truth one day and that you can find some inner peace. The hate you are holding onto is destroying you as much as it is destroying LGBT persons. My God is not a God of hate. You may need to rethink your "values." And if it is about society, we have always been here, and we will always be here. Oppression is wrong.
By KES79  Nov 09, 2008
I am absolutely disgusted at the fact that churches ( especially L.D.S.) were allowed to contribute MILLIONS ( maybe even billions, who really knows? ) to this hateful campaign re: Prop.8 . It's madness, and the ignorant populace was fooled---no one ignorant will ever understand the various aspects of personal identity, much less be integrated enough to even be interested in changing their heinous homophobic behavior. As I listened to the evangelicals spouting nonsense such as "...they'll want to marry dogs next, and this is the start of Armageddon...etc.", it made me ill. Even the most intelligent Christians ( that might be an oxymoron) cannot fathom the simple fact that gay marriage has absolute ZERO effect upon their precious marriages. All the proponents of Prop * had were scare tactics and fear to wage their campaign. I am sad to see California sink to the low depths that it has...i.e., back to the "stone age", ppolitically speaking, for homosexual rights.I began fighting for gay rights in the early '70's in Orange County, CA where we established a "gay community center" and suffered the results from a barrage of hate calls, firebombs, dead animals left on the doorstop, and "Die Queers, Die!" anonymous signs, and graffitti ostensibly written by "Christians" that mentioned that moronic slogan "... God made Adam & Eve not Adam & Steve" , and I see it's still going strong, sadly, in the 21st century. I hope that the smug, self-obsessed, frightened "yes" voters on this are feeling happy to know that their sons, daughters, husbands, wives, aunts, uncles, cousins, neices, nephews, and the neighbor who sits next to them in church---might all be gay or supressing their feelings, as well as their utter anger at the outcome of prop 8! Thanks to all the "hets" who voted against it, let's all keep on trying! The hate-moners must be educated somehow....perhaps Obama can make way in his busy schedule ahead to do something positive for all of us, in every state.
By jeannie7777  Nov 09, 2008
To skye and all others who were against 8..

What I really dislike are liberal buzzwords that are used against those people who disagree with their views. If you don't agree with them, you are filled with "hate" ,you're "ignorant", and you're a "bigot". My God (yes, God with a capital "G" and not some nebulous power floating in the universe.)! I'm laid-back and open-minded. I make myself as knowledgeable as possible regarding different issues. I'm not so centric as to not listen to other views. I am at the stage where I know what I want and I don't want gays to redefine our societal norms. We have them for a reason. For those who are so mad at California and Florida for passing the pro-marriage amendment, there are things called community standards. These people decided that they don't want this in their community. Stop throwing yourselves on the floor and kicking your heels like little spoiled brats and crying foul. It didn't pass. ACCEPT IT (oops, only liberals can say that) and leave the matter alone.

BTW, why do people insist on calling this a gay-marriage ban? IT ISN'T. It is a proposition affirming marriage between one man and one woman. We're also not looking to marry a man and a mule, a woman and a snake, a 50 year old man with a 14 year old girl, or two men with three women and any other variety of "marriage" that liberals want to see happen. With liberals (and the corresponding judges) at the helm, we'll be marrying a boy and his dog in the future.
By cablebabe  Nov 09, 2008

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