Gay America Now

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In this Nov. 15, 2008 file photo, demonstrators turn out for marriage equality at Los Angeles City Hall as part of a National Day of Action in response to the recent passage of Proposition 8 which repeals the right of same sex couples to marry in California. (AP)
Supporters of marriage equality demonstrate at Los Angeles City Hall as part of a National Day of Action on Nov. 15, 2008, in response to the passage of Proposition 8, which repeals the right of same-sex couples to marry in California. (AP)

In national politics, an African-American family is headed to the White House, and a civil rights triumph is on parade.

But on the same day Barack Obama was elected president, gay rights were slapped back at the polls in Florida, Arizona, Arkansas and — most of all — California, where gay marriage was banned, rolled back, at the ballot box. Civil rights celebration and stunning sting, all at the same time.

We’re talking today about this moment, with some of those feeling it most acutely.

This hour, On Point: Progress, setback, and this gay moment in America.

You can join the conversation. Listeners, gay listeners, are we headed forward? Or back? What did you make of California's vote? Florida's? Arizona's? Is the gay rights struggle the new — the remaining — civil rights struggle?Guests:

Joining us from London is Bruce Bastian, co-founder and former chairman of WordPerfect Corporation. He serves on the Board of Directors of Human Rights Campaign, the largest gay and lesbian political action committee in the U.S. His philanthropic foundation, the B.W. Bastian Foundation, supports organizations that embrace the principle of equality. He donated $1 million to the effort (unsuccessful) to block California’s Proposition 8. Raised in a conservative Mormon family in Idaho, he is a graduate of Brigham Young University.

Joining us from Northampton, Mass., is Leslea Newman, a poet and author of books for children and adults. She explores themes of contemporary lesbian life, same-sex couples and their children, and growing up Jewish. Among her many books are "Heather Has Two Mommies" (1989), the first children's book to portray lesbian families in a positive way and "A Letter To Harvey Milk," which has been adapted for the stage. Her forthcoming children's books are "Mommy, Mama, and Me" and "Daddy, Papa, and Me." She and her wife, Mary, have been together since 1988. They were legally married in Massachusetts on Sept. 10, 2004.

And from Los Angeles we're joined by Jenny Pizer, senior counsel for Lambda Legal, an organization working for the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, and people with HIV/AIDS. She is helping to lead the constitutional challenge in the courts to California’s Prop 8, in an effort to have it overturne. She was married to her wife in California this past October before the passage of Prop 8.

This program aired on December 3, 2008.


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