Proposition 8

This piece of work focuses on the drama surrounding the draft law Proposition 8 in California, which came into force after a popular vote. The proposition suggests that same-sex marriages should be illegal in the state and was voted on after four months of legalized marriage for homosexual couples. The Californian people voted in favor of the proposition – and therefore against same-sex marriages. Though the law was decommissioned in 2010 because it didn’t comport with the state’s constitution, it is the drama around the vote, the campaigns during the time before and the results of the vote that we are interested in and have focused on in this report.

We started our work from a specific point of view, a thesis; we claimed that religious values were the most important factors for the result of the Proposition 8 vote in 2008. This is a thesis that we have come to revalue during our work. Through both comparative and culture specific research methods, we have found that political opinions were the factors that had most impact on the vote. We have looked closer on the campaigns for and against Proposition 8, and found that the campaign for the proposition probably was a little bit more efficient than the one against. This is despite the fact that huge companies such as Apple and Google and some of the most famous celebrities in Hollywood joined the campaign “No to Prop 8”. Also, we have widened the perspective and compared homosexuals’ situation in different societies around the world. Compared to Uganda, where homosexuality is punished by death, the USA seems extremely gay-friendly – no matter which state you look at.

A relatively new phenomenon related to homosexuality and homophobia, which we have also investigated more closely, is the expression “no homo”. It has occurred within the rap and hip hop world and is used when a rapper expresses something that can suggest that he is gay. If one raps a line that suggests something like it, it is often followed by the words “no homo”. The expression justifies that a man claims to love another man – as a rapper. It is used to eliminate any kind of doubts on the rapper’s sexual orientation that could possibly damage his reputation. As the rapper Method Man said in American media: “You can’t be fuckin’ people in the ass and say you’re gangsta”. It is obvious that this expression contributes to increasing the homophobia wherever it occurs.

Our work has aroused a lot of questions. We have not been able to answer them all, and many of them have created new thoughts that has shaped our work a bit differently than what we first had in mind. We have thought a lot about prejudices and stereotypes and what it is like to live as gay in different places in the world. In the discussion part we also reflect on the result of the vote from the 4th of November in 2008; why different society groups voted differently from one another and what cultural tendencies their values come from. A positive aspect on gay-acceptance in the Californian community that we have seen is that it increases with time. The younger the voter is, the more gay-accepting the person is. This attitude provides hope for the future and will hopefully spread across the rest of the world as well.

We want to thank our American colleagues, especially Jennifer, for your help with this report! Both your information on California today according this subject, and for helping us narrow down the subject. Thank you!

/Jenny, Nastaran and Serafina

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