Native Texan Del Shores and his partner Jason Dottley weigh in on California’s Prop 8 ruling — and the need to be politically active

A KISS IS STILL A KISS: Dottley and Shores cement their vows at their October 2008 wedding — one of 18,000 still valid in California.

Writer-director Del Shores was born in Winters, Texas, and grew up in Texas; he is a frequent visitor to Dallas, where his plays are often performed. Shores and his partner, actor Jason Dottley, first exchanged vows in a ceremony on Oct. 26, 2003; they were legally wed in California five years later, on Oct. 26, 2008, before passage of Prop 8.

Del Shores: Today is a sad day in our home. Although Jason, my daughters and I are happy that our marriage is still legal, we are furious that once again same-sex marriage has been taken away in California.

And we must take the blame. We didn’t do enough. We thought we had this one. We sat there on our asses — arrogant, confident that our blue state, the most progressive state of all, would vote down discrimination and would uphold our basic equal rights. The polls said we were fine, that we would win by a landslide.

Then once again, the religious right, led by the Mormons, came in spewing their hatred and their lies, spending more money than us, misleading, deceiving and ultimately convincing those who were ignorant — and winning! We scrambled when the polls started shifting, but it was too late. We learned our lesson the hard way.

I live with hope, yes, and I celebrate the progress we have made — we have five states now; that’s 10 percent! — butwe still have more work to do. We must continue to put a face on gay rights, we must be inspired by the great Harvey Milk and show this country that we are not "less than." I marched with my entire family Tuesday and I will no longer take anything for granted. I will fight like hell. I will shout and scream. I will demand equal rights until I die or until we have them!

Join me, please.

Jason Dottley: I was devastated when Prop 8 passed in 2008, but on Tuesday, things turned out exactly as I suspected they would. I take issue with the fact that a religious organization — namely the Mormon church in Utah — was allowed to contribute funds and lies to fight a proposition in another state — mine. How a faith that once allowed a man to have multiple wives can justify its efforts to prevent one man from marrying one other man is beyond my comprehension.

I feel like the passing of Prop 8 was nearly inevitable. A significant portion of Obama’s supporters were against same-sex marriage, and, an even more significant portion of McCain’s supporters were. Math is hard to beat. People voted in this past election who haven’t voted in decades, perhaps in their lifetimes.

I accepted the trade. I would rather have had Obama win and lose Prop 8 than have had McCain in the White House — and still lose Prop 8. In that assessment, I do not feel complacent about where we have landed. I feel outraged by these takers of civil rights. I feel anger every time I pass a "Yes on 8" left-over, sun-faded bumper sticker. I resent my community when I hear lame excuses like, "The measure was confusing. Yes, meant no, and no meant yes." I resent those not educated enough to vote correctly, those not present at the polls, without a sign in his or her lawn, closeted at work, closeted at home, hidden from the minds and eyes of those most in need of understanding our plight.

I also am filled with hope and a sense of accomplishment. We have made enormous progress since Del and I were married in 2003. Each step must be celebrated and used to propel more success. My hero in gay equality, Harvey Milk, would have not taken this lying down, and neither shall I.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition May 29, 2009.
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