Ellen DeGeneres has reacted to the passing of California’s Proposition 8 which bans gay marriage. She’s clearly upset about it, and you can tell she’s very conflicted by the joy she feels over Barack Obama’s election contrasted with the sadness over Prop 8.
The California-voter ban on Tuesday – by some 52 percent – of same-sex marriage has left Ellen DeGeneres “saddened beyond belief,” she says. In a statement posted on her show’s Web site Wednesday, the talk host, who married partner Portia de Rossi in August, said, “This morning, when it was clear that Proposition 8 had passed in California, I can’t explain the feeling I had. I was saddened beyond belief.
“Here we just had a giant step toward equality [with the election of Barack Obama] and then on the very next day, we took a giant step away.” Opponents of same-sex marriage in Florida and Arizona (where, in 2006, such a ban was rejected by voters) were also victorious on Tuesday, and by wider margins than in California. In all, 30 states have enacted bans on same-sex marriages.
Also on Tuesday, the Arkansas electorate passed a measure meant to prohibit gay men and lesbians from adopting children. In her message, DeGeneres, 50, concluded by saying, “I believe one day a ‘ban on gay marriage’ will sound totally ridiculous. In the meantime, I will continue to speak out for equality for all of us.”
I was really shocked that this measure passed. I was also surprised by how quiet celebrities were about it. It didn’t seem like it got any national attention until Brad Pitt donated $100,000 against the proposition. I found it so preposterous – and I thought California was so liberal – that it didn’t occur to me that it could pass.
It’s deeply, deeply saddening that so much progress can be taken away so quickly. We are hopefully at a crossroads, and if we’re lucky a time of great change is ahead of us. That should include equality for everyone. If someone feels two women getting married threatens their own marriage, then I’m sorry their marriage is so easily threatened. But no one else should be denied equality and a happy, legal marriage because of it.
Here’s Ellen and Portia at the Yes! on Prop 2, Stop Animal Cruelty fundraiser in Bel Air on September 28, 2008. Images thanks to Bauer-Griffin.