California, Prop. 8 disregard equality in marriage debate

By Monica Reida 2009

On May 15, 2008, the Supreme Court of California ruled 4-3 that laws making marriage strictly between a man and a woman was a violation of equal protection under California State Law. This historic ruling enabled same-sex couples throughout the state of California the right to marry their partners. On June 17, same-sex marriages began occurring in the state of California. An estimate given by UCLA said that about 18,000 same-sex couples were married from June 17 until Nov. 5.

On June 2, Proposition 8 was put on the November general election ballot before same-sex couples were even started to get married. The purpose of Proposition 8 was to repeal the Supreme Court’s ruling.

On Nov. 4, voters in California went in to the polling places to not only elect the next President of the United States, but to also vote either Yes or No on Proposition 8. On Nov. 4, the people of America elected Barack Obama to be the first African-American President breaking down racial barriers. But 52.3 percent of voters in the state of California also voted for Proposition 8, a bill that may make 18,000 marriages illegal.
T
he unofficial passing of Proposition 8 means that same-sex couples may not be allowed equal rights as heterosexual couples in the state of California. They might no longer be allowed the ability to share health benefits, adopt a child or file a tax return jointly.
T
he passing of Proposition 8 is not official yet. The California Secretary of State will publish the official results on Dec. 9. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has urged those against Proposition 8 to not give up the fight and has been a strong opponent of the Proposition. In addition, all six Episcopalian bishops in California, the Board of Rabbis of Southern California, the Anti-Defamation League, Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education and Jack O’Connell (the California Superintendent of Schools) opposed Proposition 8. O’Connell even appeared in an ad against Proposition 8 that ran in California.

And their opposition is logical. Proposition 8 is nothing short of discrimination. What the passing of Proposition 8 tells the nation is that not every Californian is equal. It tells the n ation is that it is perfectly OK to allow same-sex couples the ability to be treated as an equal to their heterosexual counterparts, but then yank that equality away from them.

Equality is what this comes down to. These people want to be treated as equals, and yet the people of California haven’t supported their wishes because it is supposedly redefining marriage and the Bible condemns homosexuality. Yes, the book of Leviticus defines homosexual acts as a sin, but the Bible also commands us to love our neighbor and to do unto others as we would want others to do to us. How would these people feel if gays yanked away their right to marry?

Another statistic involving Proposition 8 is that about 70 percent of African-American voters in California voted for the bill. In the past 150 years made outstanding progress towards rights for African-Americans, who at various points in history didn’t have equal rights for marriage. While slavery was still legal in some states, they were not able to get married legally because they were viewed as property. With the abolishment of slavery, this granted all African-Americans the ability to marry, but in several states it was only to another person of their color. It wasn’t until 1967 that interracial marriages were legalized in all 50 states after the Supreme Court’s ruling in Loving v. Virginia. We’ve made so much progress in giving people the ability to marry whomever they want to, why can’t we continue this progress?

What these same-sex couples want to show is their love for one another. More than 40 percent of first marriages in the United States end in divorce. If these people who love each other more than anything in the world and have been together for maybe a long time want to get married, why should we stop them? Because it’s weird and it’s different than something we are used to?

They want to show that they love each other and raise a family. These couples want to be treated as equals and be given the same benefits and rights as others in this country. Isn’t this the American dream? To get married, have a family and live a good life. By passing laws such as Proposition 8, we the people are redefining the American dream.

Harvey Milk, who was the first openly gay elected official in California, once said, “I know that you can’t live on hope alone, but without it, life is not worth living”. Proposition 8 has taken hope away from same-sex couples in California and other states. Can hope really exist in a world where the right to show that you love some is taken away because the couple is composed of two men or two women? It seems that it may exist, but it will be very dim.

On Nov. 4, I thought that by electing Barack Obama as the next President of the United States, we had finally overcome our prejudices. The next day, I realized that we still have a long way to go.

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