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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Oh my word!! I just read down this page and am shocked at what I read. Really. I find myself speechless...which if any of you knew me, would find it unbelievable.
Aren't we all supposed to be "children of God"? I don't attend church because early on I learned that organized religious people are scary. Religion isn't but a whole lot of the groups are...and that is what this is ignorance producing group hate. Not what I learned and believe God represents. So how can this even become a discussion of religion? It is and always will be a question of rights. Let God decide who is right or's not our call. What is our responsibility is to make this world of ours a safe, caring, productive place..where hate and bigotry has no place. Where war and bloodshed no longer exists. Where we all have the right to live in peace.
You may argue, those of you who think marriage and family means parents of different gender, that you have the right to disagree with those who are the same gender and want the same rights as other married people. You know, you are right. You do have the right to voice your objections. But not to enforce your way of life or thinking on anyone. We all have the right to live and if really lucky, to love.
To SAN500, I hope you love your children, no matter who they turn out to be as adults. Your writing scares me that you won't.
btw, neither of my children are gay, but they are my life and should they have been gay, there is no way I could ever not love them with everything that is in me. And in my last post I said that we raised our kids to not see the color of a person but their heart, it was never necessary to teach them to not bias against gay people. Because they already knew that the heart of a person was who they were by the time they noticed sexual differences. oh..did I mention that I was raised by the most bigoted, hating, fighting parents ever? I did not decide to not hate just to go against their beliefs...I just never saw the sense of hating a person just because they were not just like what a boring world this would be if we were all the's the differences in us all that makes this world interesting. Just need to stop hating, stop segregating, stop imposing such heavy restrictions on everyone who is not you.
I really must say that I am glad to be a woman in this country, even if it took it's toll on my ancestors to get us to where we are now....because to be a woman in some of the other countries of oppression is way more than I can fathom. Don't let our country continue down the road of oppression. Let our country show the way that it is meant to do...the way to freedom....
By chatnoir  Nov 09, 2008
i am a Californian, and I am not gay. What I am is ashamed of my fellow Californian's that voted prop 8 into existence. It is as you say, a matter of rights. Nothing more, nothing less. And yet because a lot of money was spent on advertising a complete lie regarding what prop 8 actually meant, it passed and yet again human rights were completely swept under the rug. I am a married woman with 2 grown children & a grandson. Both my children voted this year, the first time for one. Both my children understood the truth in prop 8...that it was a matter of human rights. Both voted it down. None of us can believe it passed.
I too sat watching tv, when President Elect Obama made his speech, chilled and thrilled to the bone, remembering John Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy, and most of all Dr. Martin Luther King and all the other human rights activists and thinking how proud they must all be...and how proud I was of my countrymen to finally see with their minds and not with stupid bias and hate as they elected the right person for our country. Did I mention I am white? So it wasn't even the race thing that made me proud .. we have raised our kids to not see color but to see the heart of a person. and then the decision on prop 8...we were all stunned. So, no you are not alone, we can't be the only "straight" (whatever that really means) people who voted for your human right to marry whom you pleased. We will get it there someday, we just can't give up. Ever.
By chatnoir  Nov 09, 2008
I am so sorry this happened. Mob rule has no place setting an agenda to deny any US citizen their rights. This happened when inter - racial marriage was banned, and it is happening again.
What happened in CA is unconstitutional, and it will not stand. The ACLU has filed a lawsuit to repeal this,and I believe this will eventually end up as a Supreme Court case.
Sending you lots of love and support from an old mom
You will win this, you WILL win this.
By mari3333  Nov 09, 2008
you know what is funny? folks who are "convinced" that they know what "God intended it to be". it is also funny that people consider themselves children of god and assume that others are not his children. this is a very hard thread to read because it just seems that the ones who are so "loved by god" are so very entrenched in hatred of others simply because they are not alike. i remember reading in class about how the slave owners in the united states used various passages in the bible to justify their decision to refused to give blacks rights. they also used it to prove that slavery was righteous and from god. they too believed them selves to be children about whom god cared and the black people to be not exactly human. i am glad that at some point these ideas were properly challenged and now most people in the united states no longer believe that blacks are animals and worth nothing.
i also fear for the children of these folks who are so adamant about same sex issues cuz these will be the ones who will either take their own lives out of fear of rejection, get married and live the life of a lie and will still end up not pleasing god cuz they will be violating their conscience on a daily basis. or perhaps they will follow the life of the DL homosexual..they will "step out" and have sex with the person they feel more comfortable with instead and pray that no one ever notices. i just really wish that folks would understand what real damage they cause when the cling to tightly to their "high moral standards" on this issue. i wonder if these folks have as much conviction in all of the other areas of their lives like looking after orphans and widows, or not even looking a someone lustfully cuz in doing so you commit adultery in your heart? and what about divorce? you cant get one nor can you marry someone who has had one. the bible calls you to keep yourself unstained or from becoming polluted by the world not to clean the world up. but just my thoughts.
By lookeehere  Nov 08, 2008
Thank you so much for your post. It lifted my spirits. As a single lesbian mother, I sometimes feel overwhelmed by it all. Reading your words brough me comfort and reminded me I am not alone in this fight. And that it is not a linear process...two steps forward and one step back, as they say. Until one day, we'll have a lesbian in the oval office ;)
By Autumn  Nov 08, 2008
Divorce would decrease greatly if we banned...divorce! I'm sure less people would enter into marriage on momentary feelings if they knew that it really is "until death do you part".
By MercuryRayne  Nov 08, 2008
guypaul- I never proposed to impose my views on Judaism or Christianity on anyone. On the contrary, I stated that anyone that is joined for any reasons beyond their religious beliefs, need not be married- it's otherwise pointless. Look at the number of divorces- most of these are due to the fact that they weren't the sanctified ceremonies that they should have been, but two people deciding they wanted to be together for some reason or another then changed their minds.

Divorce, adultery, etc would decrease greatly if people only married because of their faiths (and true love)and not momentary feelings. Don't get me wrong, Christians are nowhere near perfect, but when God is included in the relationship- the whole dynamic changes and those that step out of line will have their own judgements to deal with.

Now if you want me to share my own beliefs- I do not believe that anyone is born with a sexuality- we're born with sexual organs. Those organs don't even have the juice to power them until we are old enough that we should have learned what it means to be a man and what it means to be a woman. Prior to the hormones making the organs actually work, any sexual feelings are just mental. They are what a person thinks they want, what a person thinks is good, not what that person's body is drawing them to. At the point in which they do work, the things a person has learned and experienced, will direct that person to whom they want to be with, same sex or opposite.
By kandyland2001  Nov 08, 2008

In response to your response, you may have missed the point. It is not that I believe that gays andlesbians should not have the same rights. If you read on to my other blogs you would see that I specifically said they should, but not under the sanctity of marraige- rather under revisions of other rules imposed by corporations- which discriminate against them. I myself cannot support the lifestyle, but I don't wish to make them second class citizens either. If that was the point of your post- then I can say, yes I've been discriminated against from the time I was a little child, to gaining honor roll throughout school, earning a bachelor's and after years of rejection entering my career, I still experience everyday. However, to draw a comparison is totally wrong. The discrimination that is spoke of here, has to do with rights, such as joint benefits, etc... Things that they won't deal with until they are ready to settle down. I've dealt with this crap from day one. There is no way, if I wanted to, to disquise my race- it won't happen. If a gay man wanted to appear and be percieved as straight, he could.

Based on my beliefs in Christ, I cannot say that I would support anything that Christ opposes. One of my favorite cousins is gay, he wants to be a girl. I love him to death, I hold no hatred towards him, but I can't stand his lifestyle. I know someone else that sells drugs for a living. I love him, too, to death, and also, I detest his lifestyle.

I don't think marraige should be tampered with. As I said before, if two people of the same or opposite sex want to unite in any other form than this sacred form- good for them. Let them have at it. If they want to unite in a form that I have to vote on, and my vote would dishonor my God, it's not going to happen. I can't speak for all African Americans/Blacks (as lookeehere can, apparently this person had polled all Black people), just for myself and those that I know. This sentiment runs through many of my friends, family, and collegues, this may be why the proposition, in it's form, had the problems it had.
By kandyland2001  Nov 08, 2008
I am so appalled by prop 8 passing in California and amendment 2 passing in Florida. If there are two things that I think is no ones business but the persons involved its gay marriage and abortion. In my opinion these matters shouldn't be up for debate amongst the American people. I believe that when a person falls in love they fall in love with a persons soul and the soul has no gender. We are more than just our body parts and you can't help who you fall in love with. This is the human way though if we aren't hating one minority we are hating on another. Change is a progression and I do fell like this too shall change...hopefully sooner than later! Its really ridiculous though that this is up for debate among the American people. I believe in the choice and freedom to run your own life! If you want to have the same rights as a heterosexual couple I believe you should have it! No questions asked in my book!
And as for homosexual adopting...I mean come on are people still scared that if a homosexual adopts a child that child will end up gay just for being raised by one?!?! Are we still that ignorant. There are statistics that show that you are no more likely to be gay whether you are being raised by hetero or homosexual parents. In fact, everyone that I know that was raised by a homosexual parent ended up straight and all my gay friends were raised by heterosexual families. A family is not just a mother and father.
By LavenderLove  Nov 08, 2008
Quite honestly, I don't see the need for Gay or Lesbians to marry, in order to gain the same "rights" as heterosexual couples, when there are Guardianship laws, that provide them the "right" to speak on each other's behalf. There are laws for purchasing property "together" (right of survivorship) and joint bank accounts, same as married couples.
To be "accepted" is a poor excuse for wanting to change Society's view of Marriage. If "acceptance" in a heterosexual World is that important, then why not become "heterosexual" with a sex change for one of you? Seems fairly simple, to me?
If someone took responsibility, to be either a man or a woman, this entire situation would be moot. It's common sense, and for there to be a Gay Pride parade, is defeating your needs, because it sends a message of "instability" to the World, rebellion to what is considered "normal" and an afront to those who are "straight", living in a "straight" world.
I have friends who are gay, decent, loving people, but unless one of them assumes the role of "husband" and the other "wife", then they will never fit in society as it is. I am glad that Proposition 8, and 2 passed throughout the Nation. There never should have been a question, in anyone's mind, WHO marriage was is a "sacrament" in many Churches, and it is for the "procreation" of Life, which Gay and Lesbian couples cannot do. I consider it the same as wearing Halloween costume, to celebrate Christmas!
There is a much more important issue to debate, and that is the "murdering" of the Unborn, partial term abortions, and blatant use of abortion as a means of birth control. That, is an issue your heart should be heavy about. Our tax dollars should never be spent, to pay for the assasination of the innocent babies that are aborted every day.
By NoMoreAbuse  Nov 08, 2008

I am a straight woman, but here in Florida we had our own Prop 8. I think ours was Prop 2. I voted in favor of gay/lesbian marriage. As in California, Prop 2 passed here as well. Oddly enough, I am a Consertive Republican. I have a good friend who is gay. I talked to him about gay/lesbian marriage. I asked him how he felt about it and what he thought about the vote. To be honest, I was taught while growing up that being gay/lesbian was wrong. After entering the "real" world, my feelings changed. I found that it didn't matter to me if someone I knew was gay/lesbian. The person mattered. True friends are few and far between. To judge a person on this one issue is wrong.

I don't mean to be stereotypical. But I do listen to the news. When you hear about child abuse, child murder, molestation, it occurs in what the media would label as "straight" environments. I have yet to hear of children of gay couple's being murdered by the people that are supposed to care for them and protect them. I hear about the man that kills his girlfriend's baby because of his crying, or soiling of his diaper.

Don't give up in your fight and know that there are those of us in the straight community that feel your pain as well.
By NoraKay  Nov 08, 2008
a few words:

first as an african american let me say that african americans, in my opinion, are far too selfish and homophobic a group to see the need for them to help another group. they have to have the corner on oppression or they will not have an identity. that attitude is one of the things that is going to help bring about its downfall. if you do not start to just accept your children as they are and stop trying to "change" them you will have seriously damaged adults in much greater moments. if you do not also begin to "give back" as it is given to you while you struggle for change karma is gonna kick you in the ass and it is not going to go well for us. and yes, from birth children who are gay are constantly discriminated against and mistreated not by the world but by those who are suppose to love and protect them. they are often pushed to think, act and feel in ways that do not conform with their internal processes so i do think that they can compare their struggle to those of blacks, perhaps not completely put to a degree.

this is what my initial response was to the various hateful votes that were cast on tuesday:

self-righteous, pushy, know it all, corner on the market of what is good and constantly telling people that you are better than they are, quick with the tongue so called god people. not to all but a goodly amount, odd how these and other really bad habits tend to permeate how you portray yourself to people and in no way reflect what jesus christ did or said in his ministry. you have taken the life and actions of jesus and used them as a weapon of hate and bigotry. shame, shame, shame on you. the ones who say, "abortion is wrong" but dont shed a tear when someone blows up an abortion clinic or kills someone in the name of anti-abortion. the ones who "live with their beaus" for years before they decided to marry them or get knocked up and run to get married (sex outside of marriage hmmm) but have the gall to tell someone else that their choice of partner is "more sinful" and should be abolished. those who claim that marriage is such a sanctified and holy union even while it fails at such a high rate. you refuse to be honest with yourselves about the fact that "marriage" is just a legality that you refuse to share with some. i mean, really, how very small is your god that you have decided to do his job for him? your job is to get the message out not to force people to do what you want them to do. god can handle that part of the deal. im just sayin that it would be really good if yall would let us "sinners" get there on our own cuz no matter how hard you push for us to follow your path unless we do it willingly its a waste of time. peace folks this is truly my opinion and has been stuck in my heart and head all day long so i had to spit it out. thanks for reading.

i am saddened and sickened by not only the response on tuesday but also with some of the responses on here a well. i think that folks forget that we are discussing actual living, breathing, thinking human beings.
By lookeehere  Nov 07, 2008
How odd to read some of these comments. There's on person who doesn't want to have to think differently, one who presumes to impose their own interpretation of Judaism and Christianity on ... everybody?, and one who thinks discrimination cannot exist unless the individual being discriminated against was identified at birth as being something other than a heterosexual Caucasian.
Nobody can intelligibly explain what is being taken away from heterosexuals if gays are granted marriage except their own practice of bigotry and victimization. Their reasoning seems to suggest that there is a limited amount of happiness available in the world and they want to make sure they keep it all to themselves. These Christians would do well to remember what Jesus had to say to the Pharisees.
By guypaul  Nov 07, 2008

You wrote:"To say that African Americans should be sympathetic to gays is just plain ignorant."

Why is that ignorant? That's what I'm trying to understand. Why would one minority (african americans),who understands better than anyone what it's like to be discriminated against, impose a discrimination on another group of minorities (homosexuals)? If indeed that is what happened here. I find it hard to believe myself, I thought it was a highly unlikely occurence. I was asking if anyone else thought the national news was right to speculate that. I thought it was rather irresponsible of them to assume that without doing more research. I was not trying to be inflammatory and compare the amount of discrimination one group may have experienced versus another. The fact is, any intolerance and hate for anyone, regardless of who they are is unacceptable. I hope you do not think I am belittling anyone, that was not my intention.
By emeraldskye  Nov 07, 2008
I admire your forthrightness in your anger and frustration. I also applaud your efforts to fight for equal rights for your partner and your loved ones. These are times that try one's soul and I am asking you to keep up the fight. I think that things will turn around, should turn around and give you the rights you seek. I unfortunately choose not to vote in California since I live in another nearby state and I voted there. But my friends who are LGBTQ are livid and are ready to fight for you here by staging protests or whatever you need. Those of us who are heteros--such as myself, we are appalled, why? People need the freedom to love and marry. Keep up the passion and fight...
By AKAMonet  Nov 07, 2008
I am younge but for many years as a little girl i dreamed of getting maried in my white dress out side with a wonderful person. I wantted to adopt as well from my home town an live a big city life. Naive right. Since Prop H8 and the band on gays adopting in Arkansas its like my bubble burst....
I always said that the day my love for my girlfriend stop a straight womens child from breathing i run back in the closet. Hasnt happen yet. The point is when is it going to stop. When will they ever realized that faith and laws are seprate that they arent to be rule by one another. I want to have my white dress fairy tale an not be afraid someone is going to take it away.
By Christy88  Nov 07, 2008
RALLY IN THE VALLEY, to protest Prop 8, Woodland Hills California, November 8, 4 pm, corner of DeSoto & Oxnard. Please come, everyone!
By MontgomeryRats  Nov 07, 2008
I am very saddened and angry about the passing of Pro 8. I came here to read this fantastic article and saw lots of ignorant, hateful comments from "Christians" who just want GLB people to go back into the closet, stay away from their children, and stay out of "their society." GLB persons are human. And we are a part of this country too. We are a part of your family. We are mothers, sisters, children, aunts, uncles, fathers, brothers... We are Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Atheists, Jewish.. We are not trying to take anyone's rights away. Same sex relationships are just as valid as opposite sex relationships. We have no agenda; we just want to have the CHOICE to marry the person we love and want to be in a committed, loving relationship for the rest of our lives. . for our children to have married parents if we choose. We want to be able to stand in front of our friends and family and declare our love and have a legal document that helps us work as a couple; raise children, buy homes, care for one another...
By KES79  Nov 07, 2008
I am not gay and I am a Christian. I know what Scripture says but I can also stand back and see that we are small ignorant humans. I can't imagine what it is like to be discrininated at the level a gay person receives. I do believe that many people thought voting Yes, meant voting Yes for Gays to be married. I had to keep going back to the proposition to remind myself what Yes meant. Also, I heard on the radio that volunteers for the Obama campaign, made calls tageting two specific ethnic groups (I am not in either group). The first question: "Can we count on your vote?" Then, the next question: "Can we also count on you voting Yes on Prop 8?". This could have been taken that Obama was endorsing Yes on Prop 8. So there could have been people who just voted Yes on prop 8 because these two questions were on the same phone call. I wouldn't discount this as an effective polical tactic by some volunter leaders (most likely without Obama's knowledge). Of course, I did not get this phone call, so this info is second hand info. I also heard on the radio that allowing gay marriages in another state allowed a second grade class to attend a gay marriage; hence you should vote Yes to ban gay marriage or expect your child to be influenced in this type of life style. My response to that is - what is a teacher doing taking her classroom to any marriage (gay or not gay)? I don't think it was the intention of gay people to rewrite the text books and teach children their way of life. This isn't about evangelism. It is about discrimination. In the end, life is short and if we can have happy people in our society, raising happy families, our society would be better for it. And that includes families that consist of a group of people that are loving and caring. Sometimes a family is a grandmother and a child. Sometimes an adopted child. Maybe, even two adults of the same sex who love themselves and the children around them. Compare that to a perfect family with one adult male and one adult female that fights and regrets having their children. I suspect in 50 years, future generations will look back on this time in history and wonder what we were thinking just like we look back at the time when women were not allowed to vote or slavery existed. It won't be an issue and people will just shake their heads in disbelief that people used religion and/or politics to define what makes a family. Of course, that won't help the people that are hurting currently, but they can be proud to be the "Rosa Parks" of this era. On the other hand, there are always some people in a community that are extremists that make that community look odd (e.g., the gay parades). And I think any group that has extremists make some of the public associate that behavior with the community. That probably doesn't help the majority that want to be seen as normal like the rest of us (just good ole plain sinners!) :) To those of you who are saddened by the results of Prop 8, try to loose the anger, it only hurts you and your health. Live longer and use the time to make changes.
By magwil01  Nov 07, 2008
I am just amazed tha these so call "religious people" spent so much time, energy and of course money in this hateful proposition. I am not gay, but I do believe that one can love a person regardless of their sex, love is much more than just sex, as far as children are concerned people still have the obligation of teaching their own principle and if you do it right right they should not "fear" what other people do or think, I believe they just trying to justify their hate and lack of tolerance behind their kids, but then again the worst crimes and war in history have always been "in the name of religion" and they always have had a "good" justification. CCS said that gays are just pushing their own AGENDA, but aren't religious people doing the same by pushing what "their" book says is a sin? The same book that teaches not to judge other other people and moreover to love everyone including the "sinners"
By jomalo  Nov 07, 2008

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