Long-term gay couple talks about Proposition 8 passage

Gays and lesbians across the state are not sitting easily with the passage of Proposition 8 last week. California voters passed it 52 to 48 percent. Ken Pflueger and Sid Schwarz were among more than 12,000 people who showed up to a protest in Silver Lake during the weekend. The couple traveled from Simi Valley and spoke with KPCC's Frank Stoltze.

Ken Pflueger: Well, it's a pretty conservative community. When I got home, I didn't even want to go out, because you were assaulted by Yes on 8 people everywhere you went.

They had young children standing the corners with signs saying "Yes on 8" and that kind of thing, and it just, almost more than one could take, knowing that these are people you live with and, you know, you can contribute to the community as much as they do. And that they could sort of, almost depersonalize it.

Sid Schwarz: I think one of the main disturbing things for lots of us, as gay people, in lots of communities has been, all of the sudden we're finding out that our neighbors are pretty, you know, hostile to us. (chuckles)

Frank Stoltze: What's your reaction to African-Americans overwhelmingly voting for Proposition 8?

Pflueger: Disappointing, because I sort of feel as if I, and throughout my whole life, I mean, I'm almost 60, so I've seen the civil rights and all of that, and felt like I fought for their rights. And to sort of have them not stand up hits hard, really.

Schwarz: I'm perfectly willing to say that some injustices in terms of their longevity, and their horror inflicted – you know, whether you're talking African-American experience, or Native American, or Jewish experience – are, in detail, much more grim than what has happened to gay people. But there's a whole other dimension of, you know, psychological oppression.

Stoltze: Where do you think this sort of leaves the gay rights movement?

Pflueger: I'm kind of hopeful that, especially as we've seen these rallies, that it's actually perhaps going to breathe some new life into it. Because I think there's been sort of, kind of, almost a complacency that's come over the gay community, and maybe just the country in general, that we take, all of us take our rights kind of for granted.

Schwarz: We just got married, and we've been together for 26 years now, and so we feel kind of personally insulted. (laughs) But, in spite of the disappointment, we're pretty confident that, in the long run, the people of California will come around to a more just way of thinking.