Tuesday, March 3, 2009

"they won" november 2008

"they won" steff aiello-november 2008
fabric, mason jars, cake topper, dictionary and bible cut-outs.

artist statement:

Mason jars signify preservation. This piece is about the recent unfortunate passing of Proposition 8 in California, which bans same-sex marriage (which was passed and legal earlier this year). Religious groups and homophobes are very concerned with preserving the “sanctity of marriage”. This discriminatory act takes away basic human rights from a deserving group in society.

A mounted shelf covered with a hand sewn, multi pattern gay pride flag, seemingly floating. On the shelf sit 3 mason jars. In the first is the dictionary definition of “Married” circled, the next contains a bride and groom wedding cake topper, and in the last jar is a passage from the bible denouncing homosexual relationships. The positioning of the jars over the flag is to signify defeat. The preservation of the sanctity of marriage has won, hence the title, They won. “They” being the other; homophobes.

In May of 2008 the Supreme Court in California voted on Proposition 22 which stated that limitations of marriage between a man and a woman violated the equal protection clause in the California constitution. Making it legal for same-sex couples to marry. Proposition 8 came along and was on the ballot for the Presidential Election, which restricted the definition of marriage to only a man and a woman, which overturned Prop 22.

Not everyone that gets married is getting married in a church, and not everyone that’s getting married is religious, or follows the outdated teachings of the bible. Hopefully one day the separation of church and state will be a reality. Over 20,000 same-sex couples got married within the 6 months that is was legal, and now their marriages are null and void.

This is a civil right issue, to say that only certain groups of people can have all of the benefits that a marriage entails is discriminatory. The definition of marriage and passages from the bible are often quoted by those in favor of this gay marriage ban. The definition of marriage is clearly outdated.

Through researching electoral polls I found that 7 in 10 African Americans voted yes on prop 8. This strikes me as odd because in 1967 interracial couples could not get married in 16 states. And during the time of slavery, African American slave couple could not get married either. This group of people should dig into their own history and have some sympathy for yet again another minority group’s rights being taken away.

Marriage has a 50/50 chance of surviving; same-sex couples just want the chance to beat those odds. I wish I had the means to travel to the states and participate in the anti-prop 8 rallies that are happening across the country.

In 2005 legislation passed that same-sex couples could marry in Canada, and the country hasn’t had any problems with this yet. This just allowed couples that have been together for 20+ years to finally have the same rights that a heterosexual couples has. Many people ask, “Why are you so concerned with what is happening in a country you don’t even live in?”, my response is, that as a gay person, and someone who believes in equality, this issue affects me as well. As America’s hat, many Canadians are concerned not only with their own countries’ government and civil rights, but with that of the country in which we share North America with.

Marriage is about love, and those in love should have the same rights as heterosexual couples in love to make that lifelong commitment. A married gay couple doesn’t affect the marriages of heterosexual couples. So why are they so concerned with what others in love are doing? It doesn’t make their marriage any less of one.

On November 4th, 2008 as the first African American president was voted into office, a huge step in the right direction to equality. The country took a huge step back, as it became illegal for same-sex couples to marry in California.

(please don't steal these images of my work.)


  1. You're amazing and I love you and miss your sweet self.

  2. This is such a great installation Steff, I've always wanted to lurk the installation critiques. Seems to be some really great work.