While the Obama believers were partying their brains out Tuesday night, asserting America's readiness for change, the state of California demonstrated that some things remain the same.
Voters there voted in favour of Proposition 8, effectively banning gay marriage in that state. It's a major blow to the pro gay marriage campaign, but I can't say that I'm shocked.
Many believed Hollywood's influence would help to smash Proposition 8. Can you say fantasy time? Superstars like Brad Pitt came out in support of gay marriage but nothing can replace the impact of people - including Hollywood bigshots - coming out all over America.
The new film Milk (opening November 26), by Gus Van Sant, tracks the political rise of San Fransisco out and proud Superivisor Harvey Milk before he was assassinated in 1978. As the film - and reality attest - Proposition 6, aka The Briggs Amendment, designed to ban gays from teaching in schools, was defeated in 1978, in large measure because Milk encouraged gays everywhere in California to come out of the closet. People would support Briggs and continue to hate gay people, he said, unless they knew who gays and lesbians are, that we are sisters, brothers, lawyers, doctors, working stiffs - even soldiers - and that we are everywhere.
That hasn't happened in America and it certainly hasn't happened in Hollywood. Where was the, oh-excuse-me-I-can't-mention-her-name actor director, the one with the two Oscars and the initals JF, when we needed her? Or how about that women who used to be on Laugh-In? You know who I'm talking about. The one who likes to be in the Robert Altman movies. And there still does not exist a single major male movie star who's out of the closet - Grey's Anatomy's T.J. Knight doesn't totally qualify.
Speaking of Grey's Anatomy, no sooner do we get a lesbian subplot with Callie and Hahn then the producers decide to scrap the whole thing - including the character of Hahn, played by Brooke Smith. While some of us were cheering this tiny bit of girl on girl content, ABC couldn't wait to give it the boot. Not hot enough, says creator Shonda Rhimes. Says who? Rhimes claim they'll keep Calli on as a lesbian but last time I checked in, she was banging Dr. Sloan and was looking pretty bi to me.
Credit Ellen Degeneres, one of a handful of famous lesbians in America, for coming out strong and hard against Proposition 8. She even invited John McCain on her daytime show to talk about gay marriage. McCain said that they needed to agree to disagree but Ellen fought right back. "Supporting civil unions only is like saying you can sit here but you can't sit there," she said. "What you're saying is hurtful to me." When McCain insisted he wished her well, she shot back with, "Does that mean you'll be walking me down the aisle?"
Curiously, she did not invite Barack Obama on to the show to have the same conversation. You will recall that when the two major presidential candidates were asked at one of the debates to express their positions on gay marriage they both looked directly into the camera and said exactly the same thing: for civil unions, against gay marriage.
So all of you people who are baffled by the fact that California could go so strongly in favour of Obama - America's so-called hope for change - and yet support a ban on gay marriage, look no further than the president elect.
He's definitely let down all of queer America. Not a good start, if you ask me. Hope for change? Yes, but for whom?