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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Every so often, something like this comes up, be it gays, or abortion, or whatever, and I feel the need to ask these self-ordained Christian crusaders: WHY DO YOU EVEN CARE?!?! HOW DO YOU JUSTIFY IT?

When one of them explains that to me, I might have more sympathy for what they do. Maybe they think they're doing something 'right', but - the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. Argh.
By cb72  Nov 06, 2008
it was a bittersweet election. i attended my best friends' commitment ceremony at the gl festival in la years ago and their marriage ceremony in city hall last june.

it is a very sad irony. obama's parents would not have been legally allowed to marry, in many states, as recently as the 70s.

blacks were motivated to vote in much greater numbers for this election and as a generalization, they are liberal, but conservative about gay rights, especially in the older generations

civil rights are civil rights

i know the passage of prop 8 is being challenged already. i've heard it said that the voters can not change the constitution

my jubilation and hope has been tempered by this raw disappointment
i thought obama's message was unity
By Mags815  Nov 06, 2008
I want to say that I feel this is wrong as well. I am LDS, but I do not think that anyone is wrong or bad who decides to marry a person of the same sex. It is not something I would do, but I can totally understand for those that do. I too think that it does not affect me, so why should I impose MY beliefs on someone else?!?! j355cox said it well:

"I just don't get it. Why do they care if two people that love each other want to marry? What does it do to them? Does it make their marriage any less? Will their God judge them differently in the end if they are married to the opposite sex and we are not? Why are these "christians" filled with so much hate and judgement?"
By squeaker87  Nov 06, 2008
Prop 8 became a nation wide issue. It amazed me how many people were talking about it here in Utah. We are surrounded here by LDS people who want to keep marriage between a man and woman. I listened to people, I read articles and I watched them raise over $20 million for prop 8. They were asking church members to donate their money and time to calling people to support it. They became obsessed... and outraged.

I just don't get it. Why do they care if two people that love eachother want to marry? What does it do to them? Does it make their marriage any less? Will their God judge them differently in the end if they are married to the opposite sex and we are not? Why are these "christians" filled with so much hate and judgement?

I can't imaging how liberating it must have felt when Californians were allowed to marry.... only to have the right taken away months later.
By j355cox  Nov 06, 2008
A similar one passed here in Arizona. I expected that given the conservative leanings here. What I didn't expect was how I would feel after realizing my own father voted against my right to marry. The pain and the struggle continue.
By FLUBBERT  Nov 06, 2008
I absolutely agree with you. I can't believe this measure passed. I think many people were mis-informed or deceived about the measure, especially about teaching it in schools. I was never taught about marriage in school, so why would they start?!

I feel sorry for homosexuals in this country. I wish so many people could go about their day and not interfere or condemn homosexuals, and allow them to be happy, and most of all to MARRY!
By JJ660  Nov 06, 2008
I am heterosexual, and married. Proposition 8 is an appalling injustice. It represents the religious right "reaching" and trying to shape laws based on their narrow religious principles. This violates the principle of separation of church and state that America was founded on.

Prop 8 won because the Pro-8 campaign used half-truths to scare many people into thinking that gay marriage would somehow affect teaching in the schools, (it won't) and force all churches, even those opposed, to perform these marriages or face lawsuits (it won't.) But the real agenda of Prop 8's religious backers was to shape the law in accordance with their reading of the Bible. THIS IS WRONG.

Prop 8 supporters are free to live in whatever way they deem "righteous." They are not free to force the laws of our land to be based on religion, and to use lies and half-truths as coercion.

Prop 8 will eventually be found unconstitutional. Just because a majority voted for it does not mean it will hold up in court. Please know that many, many heterosexuals also opposed, and are sickened by, this horrible miscarriage of justice.
By eb207  Nov 06, 2008
I am not gay, but I was sad to see it conclude like that. I thought we finally had grown as a nation and we were able to respect each other. It is sad, but we should not give up.
By nazy  Nov 06, 2008
I am bisexual, but even before I discovered my sexuality (i thought i was straight for many many years) I have always, always supported gay rights (which may mostly be because I'm also not Christian and so I reject the Christian meaning of marriage which is what this ban is based on) and I was horrified and disgusted to see that proposition 8 passed. We can only hope that as Obama changes the country for the better, he also helps to open up minds and hearts and that, eventually (and hopefully soon) gay marriage will be passed federally. It wouldn't effect me personally since I'm married already, but it would be a great day for human rights.
By hlks  Nov 06, 2008
Difficult to say I personally know how u feel, But I sort of understand and sympathiz. We have family members in the gay life, but love is love is love, in a world filled with hate, hate , hate!!!
xoxoxo deeeee
By deeee  Nov 06, 2008
What kills me is that this is NOT a gay marriage ban. It is an affirmation of what the people of California had voted on years ago..that marriage between one man and one woman is the only one that will be recognized. If some rogue judges had not decided to overrun and bulldoze the will of the people of California by overturning what had already been agreed upon, there would have been no subsequent invalid ceremonies and there would have been no use for Prop 8. Also, don't give me all that "equal rights" jazz when unborn babies are simply cut, burned, and vacuumed out of a woman's womb when they are at no fault and human rights don't apply to them. BTW, no one ever said GL's were less than human and can't marry. You are allowed to marry anyone of the opposite sex.
By cablebabe  Nov 06, 2008
By nadine62  Nov 06, 2008
I live in Northern Calif and just 2 weeks ago attended the wedding of some gay friends. They have been a committed couple for 14 yrs. Nov 4th was a conflicted day for me, I was proud of my country to elect a black man as prez but very disappointed in my state for passing Prop Hate. It saddens me that Californians seem to have more compassion for chickens than for people, so many important props were defeated that would have had far reaching positive social implications. I can only hope Prop Hate is eventually over turned and the laws changed to require a 2/3 majority to amend our constitution. It is NOT the govt's job to define marriage or family.
By wannabewell  Nov 06, 2008

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