Before and shortly after Proposition 8 passed, facebook was my own personal hell because of the awful things my friends at BYU and elsewhere said about the Proposition, about homosexuality, and about marriage. My newsfeed was a charged minefield, so this week when the Proposition was overturned, I braced myself for the onslaught of negative comments, statuses, and notes. It never came.
There was only one note a friend posted that was an unreasonably negative reaction, and it was from someone I don’t know very well who lived in a ward I served in California on my mission. I have since removed him as a facebook contact. Nothing else clogged my newsfeed. There were occasional rebuttals to wall posts celebrating the decision, but nothing like the slew of hatred splattered across the Internet before and after the November 2008 election.
At first I wondered if maybe my friends who oppose gay marriage blocked me from their statuses and notes because I am married and they didn’t want to offend me. I appreciate the consideration if that’s the case, but I don’t think people really think their statuses through that carefully. Perhaps my marriage has actually helped to change their mind on Proposition 8–but I shouldn’t flatter myself.
I don’t think the trend is just on my facebook wall (did anyone else notice a difference?). Rachel Maddow commented last night on the silence from politicians on the right who she expected to react in outrage. The Huffington Post reported an analysis of twitter updates in the wake of Judge Walker’s ruling and found that only 17% of related tweets were negative, the remaining 83% supported or celebrated the decision. Here’s the twitter breakdown:
So why aren’t the conservative majority of Americans or even Californians mourning their loss? I believe it is because they never had anything to lose. Gay people are the only ones who ever had anything at stake in the Prop 8 battle. If Prop 8 proponents had lost in 2008, they would have lost nothing–nothing would have changed for them, but because it passed, gay people suffered great losses. Now that the tables are being reversed (though not yet permanently), gay people are recovering their losses, and the proponents still lose nothing. Nothing will change for them. And that’s why there is no outrage.
In any event, I am glad that facebook is a pleasant place for me this week when I didn’t think it would be.