Proposition 8 fallout: civil rights left trampled in the dust

Stephanie Silverman

Another obstacle in the fight for gay marriage occurred March 5. The Supreme Court is apparently leaning towards upholding Proposition 8, the appalling measure that was passed in this last election to take away basic civil right to marriage for Californians, based on their sexual orientation.

The current Supreme Court stand seems to be founded on the notion that they do not have the right to overturn the will of the voters, but more than a 52 percent majority should be required to take away the rights of a minority.

Last May, the Court ruled California’s ban on same sex marriage unconstitutional because it denied gay couples the equal right to wed. After this ruling, about 18,000 same sex marriages occurred. Now all of these marriages are now in jeopardy of being nullified.

No final decision has been made; the Supreme Court still has ninety days to determine the fate of Prop 8.

We have recently elected our first African-American president, so you might think Americans have moved past our history of discrimination. With the controversy surrounding gay marriage, this is clearly not true; we’ve simply found another minority to persecute.

Given the well-known statistic of 50 percent of heterosexual marriages ending in divorce, we obviously haven’t gotten this lifetime-monogamous-relationship-thing down. However, we’re still so reluctant to let gay couples give it a shot.

In support of Prop 8, the religiously oppressive and extreme conservatives have been standing on street corners holding signs that preach “Restore Marriage” or “Protect Marriage” and depict a supposedly perfect loving family: a mom, a dad, and two kids. Driving past this people, I can’t help but laugh. Restore marriage? This must be a joke. What’s the sanctity in half of all marriages ending in divorce? If this is in fact a joke, I’m not getting it.

People oppose gay marriage for mostly religious reasons, so I guess the idea of “separation of church and state” means nothing to them. I respect their right to their own religious beliefs, but they have no right to impose them on anyone else.

It’s true that we are a predominately Christian nation, but if we followed the word of the Bible exactly, we would be stoning to death our disobedient children and buying a wife with 200 male foreskins. If this is what it means to be a good Christian, God-fearing country, I don’t know too many people who would want to be a part of it.

Prop 8 supporters hide behind their façade of “tolerance” and say that the domestic partnerships offered for gay couples in place of marriage are equal. Well, separate but equal sounds eerily familiar. The separate but equal facilities created for African-Americans in the past have proved that separate but equal is never really equal.

Those in favor of the measure also spread lies, or believed the misinformation, that Prop 8 would affect schools. This is entirely untrue, but making people fear for their children’s well-being definitely helped bring in some votes.

This is not only about the rights of homosexuals: if we allow the rights of one group of people to be taken away, who’s next?

As the “No on 8” campaign states, “equality should not be up for a popular vote.”

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