Monday, November 10, 2008

4 Nov. wasn't the end but, the beginning of the battle.

In 1976 I exercised my right to vote for the very first time. In the subsequent decades which have followed, sometimes the individuals and propositions I voted for won, sometimes they lost. After each election, win or lose, life continued. Everyone went back to their jobs and families and we went forward as a society. This time, something different is happening. Those who supported "yes" on Proposition 8 are asking why we don't simply accept the election results and "move on."

The answer is rather simple. This was not about a political party wining or losing. This was not about a position on taxes, redistricting, or a school board bond issue. This was a referendum issue which REMOVED, TOOK AWAY, A CIVIL RIGHT FROM A MINORITY IN OUR SOCIETY. This has a pejorative, direct, and personal effect on a large swath of our state's citizens and on the lives of their children, family members and friends. This issue is not simply going to go away because, we are not simply going to go away.

It was heartening to see the Governor come out so supportive for us in the Los Angeles Times article. He has encouraged us not to give up, to keep on fighting. In an interview Sunday on CNN, he stated: "I think that we will again maybe undo that, if the court is willing to do that, and then move forward from there and again lead in that area." He has let us know that we will prevail.

Upon losing to the Labour Party in 1945 Winston Churchill was comforted with the words: "This is a blessing in disguise." He quipped: "Then, it is very well disguised indeed." The blessing in disguise here, is that we have discovered who our real friends are in the battle for equality and justice. Our enemies have unmasked themselves and for all of their polished words, and feigned concern, we now clearly see them for what they truly are and their malicious intent is now clearly evident.

This referendum also served as a wake up call for same sex couples, the whole gay and lesbian community, and for our families and friends. Had we won on Tuesday, we might have slipped into a comfortable and self satisfied mentality that California was our "safe zone." Having lost, we realize that until equality comes in all fifty states, we are all of us at risk. The very forces that gathered to attack us here must be confronted and defeated nationally. That means, that the battle for California is only the first of many battle yet to be fought.


Kimmers said...

As some one who lives in Fresno, I wish that the No on Prop 8 people had had more advertisement. I can count on two fingers the number of tv ads that I saw in the Fresno area. We were blanketed with No ads. All I can say is that we didn't have an opposing voice that was as loud as the Yes people. I wish we had.

We will continue with the fight. I have family I have to fight for.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Geoff and others .. I hope that it's okay that I share this link to a segment watched on this evenings Keith Olberman's Countdown show. At first this loss on November 4th looked so hopeless and painful, however things are happening .. GOOD things, and leading voices are speaking up in our favor. Seems like God sends angels our way in many guises ..


ThomCA said...

Geoff, I was just thinking about you this past week and did not know about all that was going on in your life currently. I am glad you are making a significant difference and taking an important stand on this issue. I know it took a lot of courage and I support your efforts. Please drop me a line at my email.

James said...

Fr., I think it was much more than a wake up call to the GLBT community. I think it is a wake up call for everyone -- if these quasi religious groups can do this to the "gays," they can and will do it to everyone. This is only the beginning for these people and their coalition of bigotry. They intend to have a biblical sharia in the United States.

Anonymous said...

The Governor being on our side has made this easier to bear. We will prevail. In the history of this country bigotry has never lasted, and it won't last now.

I find comfort also in Keith Olbermann's choked-up appeal to human compassion and love.

They cling to hate because they have lost the meaning of love.

Father, I hope you join us again in the nationwide protest for marriage equality on Saturday. Your presence blessed us last Sunday here in Fresno, which currently feels like a very, very dark place.

Anonymous said...

Father Farrow: Thank you, thank you for speaking out and writing this blog. My partner of 13 years and I ran to the courthouse the moment it looked like the NO side was losing. It felt like an edict against our very existence had been issued. Thankfully, we got our license turned in before the edict was issued to stop handing out the licenses to same sex couples. WE SHALL OVERCOME, WE SHALL OVERCOME!

Luis said...

I love that whole "get over it" mentality. Like we lost a game of Scrabble.

I am so happy to see so many people taking to the streets, I have been to more protests this week than I have been in probably my entire life.

I see now the blessing you are talking about Father. If you had told me that on Wednesday morning I probably would not have been very nice. The energy in this state is amazing, and I don't think people are going to forget about this anytime soon.

What else is funny? The Mormon church feels like they are being "unfairly singled out."

....I can't even begin to ....

Fr. Marty Kurylowicz said...

You have got it!!!

Truth cannot be put under a bushel basket it just pushes its’ way forward. You met some wonderful people and they met you, I believe and equally surprised and valued meeting for all involved.

Isn’t it sad that the work you are doing is not by “the blind leading the blind” considered the real priestly work? Putting your life on the line for the lives of innocent people, who are being unjustly treated, isn't that what Christ was doing and wants us to do. God bless you for it!

You gave me new courage when you spoke out in defense of LGBT people on, October 5, 2008. I came out in 1997, because of harm done to children as young as 4 and 5 years of age, who grow up to be gay, because it was morally wrong. As you stated it would, also, be morally wrong not to speak up in their defense, especially as a priest. I felt the same way, but felt that I was alone. However, when you stood up too, I felt I am not the only one who sees how wrong it is to remain silent.

You could see the harm done to LGBT people who wanted to marry and be treated with the same human dignity that heterosexual people are when they decide to marry. Our focuses related to the LGBT community are different but they are both about the basic fundamental principle of human respect for every human being. We are simply never allowed to hurt anyone, ever!

Hope you have good people around you and who support you. Stay safe and alive.

Anonymous said...

Father Farrow, I don't know how I overlooked your story until now, but I'm glad I finally found it. Thanks for being a voice of faith against Prop 8; I know your efforts came at great personal cost. I'm a UCC member attending a reconciling Methodist church, and it's been difficult to see the Yes campaign set my two families-- my Christian family and my LBGTQ family-- against each other.

Carol Makes It Up said...

Father Farrow, I want to thank you for honoring your Truth and for sharing your Truth with the world. Please keep doing God's work.

I also want to bring to everyone's attention that there will be a national prop 8 protest this Saturday, Nov. 15th at a city hall near you. I will be attending the Fresno protest at 10:30am. I plan to stand up for LOVE and for EQUALITY. I urge people all over the nation to take this stand with me.

For more information and protest locations, go to

Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Father, I am wondering if we can go to the various institutions of faith and engage them in dialogue. What you did with that sermon was truly inspiring and came at a great cost, and should be done more often. If we all had the courage like you, perhaps we can change the hearts and minds of those who truly thought that they were not denying gay couples any legal and civil rights. I encountered many of those on the streets who truly did not know what they were doing other than to think that they were protecting their parishes, churches, temples, etc. Perhaps if we can go to their places of worship to educate them about separation of church and state and how it is supposed to also protect the churches from government coercion, we can go a long way in promoting civil rights for all.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't surprise me that the Vatican is using this tactic; it's been used before, in attempts to create or redirect fear. I hope that someday they will remember Jesus's attitude toward children, and his admonishments to care for them, as well as his stance on honesty and responsibility.

On a brighter note, my husband and I look forward to participating in the protest at the Capitol here in Atlanta, this Saturday, in support of the "No to Prop 8" and equal rights in general. Cities all around the country will see such protests, and I urge everyone to check out to find a protest near you, and add your presence and voice to your local protest.

Equal rights are coming... but only if we work for them; only if we refuse to be silent in the face of discrimination. And please: I know this has hurt many of us... but please do try to follow Dr. King's stance of peaceful protest, even in the face of hatred. We, as they did, will win far more people to our side with peaceful protest than with violent reaction... because peaceful reaction leaves no room for rejective labels in the minds of those watching. Instead, it jabs the consciences of many, as they see people facing hatred and pain with the highest part of themselves, and a refusal to sink to the levels of the opposition.

Our hearts are with you, and we will march on Saturday... and eventually, we will overcome.

Anonymous said...

You are the very finest we can come by. Hopefully, for Fresno's good, we will not lose you. Thank you for your contributions.

May peace be with you on your journey.