Proposition 8 Overturned; Lockport, La. Reacts

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


READ ALSO: MoJo’s Josh Harkinson on San Francisco’s family night and Celia Perry on why she’s been waiting for this ruling since the third grade. Plus: Does Judge Walker’s personal life matter?

Outside Lockport, Louisiana—As you’ve probably heard, a federal court in California just overturned the state’s ban on gay marriage. It’s a pretty big win for progressives and human decency (read MoJo‘s Celia Perry’s personal take here), but how is the news being received in the more conservative parts of the country? I spent an hour today outside a grocery store in Lockport, an hour southwest of New Orleans on Bayou Lafourche, talking to everyone who came in and out to get their take on Prop 8 and gay marriage: Do they know any gay people? How do they feel about gay marriage? Is it really the government’s role to ban marriage?

“They need to make up their minds and leave people to live their lives,” says Darlene Verdin of Lockport. “If it’s alright with your religion and everything—this is America! Leave ’em alone. It’s not something I would choose, but it’s a choice.”

Darlene’s is a common refrain. “I think if gay people want to get married, they should get married,” says Sandra Moore of Lockport. “The world’s changed a lot, and I think you should change with the world. I’ve had a gay friend since I was in high school. I have nothing against gay people. They’re normal people like anyone.” And here’s Kissie Landry of nearby Gaines: “I guess it should be allowed. It doesn’t really matter to me. People can do what they wanna do.”

Gary Benoit of Lockport (he’s moving to Thibodaux, though) pays the bills by capturing live reptiles and amphibians—snakes, alligators, you name it—and sells them to zoos and pet stores. “It’s not as exotic as it sounds,” he says. “I don’t think the government should be involved,” he says of gay marriage. He knows a few gay people, a lesbian couple—”and they’re extremely dysfunctional. This pair is very dysfunctional.” But then again, he notes, aren’t a lot of couples? “I’ve stayed pretty open-minded.”

Only one man I speak with, in a “United We Stand” t-shirt and a “Speak the Language” straw hat (the language in question is Cajun French, I think), seems adamantly opposed, but even then there’s some nuance. I ask him if he’s been following the case, and he says “No, I ain’t been paying to attention anything.” His friend Earl seconds this: “He doesn’t even know if he’s alive or dead!” “I’m just like you, Earl. Just like you.” Here’s how he explains his position: “I just can’t see that. There are too many women on the street, bro! Any man can get a woman; it ain’t that hard.” 

Clearly, he’s never listened to any country music. But does he know any gays? “My brother-in-law is gay.” So do you think he should be able to get married? “I don’t care what he does. Like I said, I don’t deal with him, he don’t deal with me, man. Alright, I gotta go now.”

And so he does. He’s the exception, though, although nearly everyone else I talk to seems to think they’re nonetheless in the minority (“There are a lot of old-timers here,” as one woman, herself something of an old-timer, explains to me). Either way, it’s encouraging to drop into a rural, conservative town on the bayou and find a tacit endorsement of San Francisco values.

WE'LL BE BLUNT

It is astonishingly hard keeping a newsroom afloat these days, and we need to raise $253,000 in online donations quickly, by October 7.

The short of it: Last year, we had to cut $1 million from our budget so we could have any chance of breaking even by the time our fiscal year ended in June. And despite a huge rally from so many of you leading up to the deadline, we still came up a bit short on the whole. We can’t let that happen again. We have no wiggle room to begin with, and now we have a hole to dig out of.

Readers also told us to just give it to you straight when we need to ask for your support, and seeing how matter-of-factly explaining our inner workings, our challenges and finances, can bring more of you in has been a real silver lining. So our online membership lead, Brian, lays it all out for you in his personal, insider account (that literally puts his skin in the game!) of how urgent things are right now.

The upshot: Being able to rally $253,000 in donations over these next few weeks is vitally important simply because it is the number that keeps us right on track, helping make sure we don't end up with a bigger gap than can be filled again, helping us avoid any significant (and knowable) cash-flow crunches for now. We used to be more nonchalant about coming up short this time of year, thinking we can make it by the time June rolls around. Not anymore.

Because the in-depth journalism on underreported beats and unique perspectives on the daily news you turn to Mother Jones for is only possible because readers fund us. Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism we exist to do. The only investors who won’t let independent, investigative journalism down are the people who actually care about its future—you.

And we need readers to show up for us big time—again.

Getting just 10 percent of the people who care enough about our work to be reading this blurb to part with a few bucks would be utterly transformative for us, and that's very much what we need to keep charging hard in this financially uncertain, high-stakes year.

If you can right now, please support the journalism you get from Mother Jones with a donation at whatever amount works for you. And please do it now, before you move on to whatever you're about to do next and think maybe you'll get to it later, because every gift matters and we really need to see a strong response if we're going to raise the $253,000 we need in less than three weeks.

payment methods

WE'LL BE BLUNT

It is astonishingly hard keeping a newsroom afloat these days, and we need to raise $253,000 in online donations quickly, by October 7.

The short of it: Last year, we had to cut $1 million from our budget so we could have any chance of breaking even by the time our fiscal year ended in June. And despite a huge rally from so many of you leading up to the deadline, we still came up a bit short on the whole. We can’t let that happen again. We have no wiggle room to begin with, and now we have a hole to dig out of.

Readers also told us to just give it to you straight when we need to ask for your support, and seeing how matter-of-factly explaining our inner workings, our challenges and finances, can bring more of you in has been a real silver lining. So our online membership lead, Brian, lays it all out for you in his personal, insider account (that literally puts his skin in the game!) of how urgent things are right now.

The upshot: Being able to rally $253,000 in donations over these next few weeks is vitally important simply because it is the number that keeps us right on track, helping make sure we don't end up with a bigger gap than can be filled again, helping us avoid any significant (and knowable) cash-flow crunches for now. We used to be more nonchalant about coming up short this time of year, thinking we can make it by the time June rolls around. Not anymore.

Because the in-depth journalism on underreported beats and unique perspectives on the daily news you turn to Mother Jones for is only possible because readers fund us. Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism we exist to do. The only investors who won’t let independent, investigative journalism down are the people who actually care about its future—you.

And we need readers to show up for us big time—again.

Getting just 10 percent of the people who care enough about our work to be reading this blurb to part with a few bucks would be utterly transformative for us, and that's very much what we need to keep charging hard in this financially uncertain, high-stakes year.

If you can right now, please support the journalism you get from Mother Jones with a donation at whatever amount works for you. And please do it now, before you move on to whatever you're about to do next and think maybe you'll get to it later, because every gift matters and we really need to see a strong response if we're going to raise the $253,000 we need in less than three weeks.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate