Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Prop. 8 passed in California on November 4th. The same day that swept Barack Obama into office also saw the first constitutional amendment to California's state constitution that eliminated a civil right already accorded to California citizens. As you probably already know, Prop 8 amended California's constitution to outlaw same-sex marriage, and was a reaction to a May 2008 state supreme court decision that legalized marriage equality.
What's an equity-minded sociologist to do? The Pacific Sociological Association and the American Sociological Association both have their annual meetings scheduled in California. The National Communication Association just announced that 300+ members are boycotting their annual meetings because they are being held in a San Diego conference hotel whose owner contributed big bucks to a Yes on Prop 8 organization. (Read more about this here: http://chronicle.com/news/article/5510/scholars-boycott-annual-meeting-of-national-communication-association ). I'm tempted to suggest that PSA and ASA move their meetings away from California, in effect to boycott the state. Several years ago, a tourism boycott of Alaska successfully put pressure on state officials who advocated in favor of aerial wolf extermination. In the past, the ASA has moved the meeting in support of workers. What about in support of marriage equality?
I am not a big proponent of marriage. In fact, I disagree with the assumption that tax, inheritance, and health benefits should in any way be distributed according to marital status. But the fact is that the California supreme court in May 2008 legalized marriage equality, and thousands of people got married. Then a bare majority--52.5% at last count--voted away this civil right. As far as I know, this is the first time in California history that the state's electorate voted away a civil right.
I find it notable that rightwing religious organizations were the primary money and energy resource for Prop 8. I have read several articles that say that most of the money for the Yes on 8 movement originated outside of California. So, obviously, this means that Californians can be swayed by outsiders. So I think that a boycott of California might work. After all, money talks, eh?
Photo of anti-Prop 8 protest from http://xml.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-me-prop816-2008nov16,1,2339869.story?page=1