I think a lot of people will remember where they were at 11PM on November 4th, 2008. Whether you agree with his politics or not, it was a historic moment when Senator Barack Obama became the President Elect, 44th to hold the highest office in the United States. The first non-white man to become president, Obama hopefully represents a new age in race relations in America. It was a big step in unified equality in the US. Or was it?
As California’s results came in to secure Obama’s victory, the populous of the state also passed Proposition 8, banning gay marriage. So as non-whites (or perhaps only African Americans) took a step forward, gays took a step back. Gay couples still retain rights as a couple, so what does marriage matter? Now note, I’m not from the Sunshine State, so any “facts” are from conversation and research. To me the answer is simple: denying a couple marriage says they are not the same, puts them apart. It says gay people do not deserve the same things, or do not deserve the same choices the rest of us have. At one point, non-white, non-men could not vote, and over time, as Americans we stood up against this discrimination. At one point, an African American had to give up their seat on a bus to a white American, and as Americans, we stood up against this discrimination. Now gays are being denied the right to marry, and as Americans, we’re the ones denying them this right. How is it not discrimination?
It seems one of the biggest pushes was a campaign that didn’t want homosexual marriage taught in schools. I came across the site for Protect Marriage – Vote Yes on 8. I watched some of the videos on the site, and the only thought I had was, are you kidding me? Two parents were upset because their child read a book about a prince marrying another prince… and this is a problem why? Should a gay couple be up in arms every time a story is read in class about a prince marrying a princess? Kids don’t pull these fascinating conclusions out of simple fairy or folk tales that we adults do. The reason a story about a prince marrying a prince stands out so much to them is because its ingrained everywhere else in our world that marriage is between a man and a woman. The parents from Massachusetts said they thought the school would at least wait till the kids had been through sex ed. What in the world does gay marriage have to do with sex ed? Perhaps all discussion on straight marriage should be banned until kids go though sex ed. To say the two are connected is absolute bull.
A majority of objection to gay marriage comes from the religious crowd, who clamor that marriage should only be between a man and a woman. They say the sanctity of marriage needs to be protected. Where is the sanctity of marriage upheld in Vegas side-street chapels, with the ceremony behind conducted by an Elvis look-alike, with a drunken bride and groom? Where the sanctity of marriage being preserved with the divorce rate in America on the rise? Oh, right. Its protected as long as it follows their religious beliefs. Which are up to their interpretation, but never correctly analyzed by non-believers. I’ve done a bit of research, and I really think I need to read the Bible myself, because as far as I can tell, the evidence condemning homosexuality is circumstantial at least, up for interpretation at best. And yet that same book is very clear on other facts, like not judging others.
To me, this was a great move to show that while as a people we can accept non-Caucasians in America, or again maybe just African Americans, that’s pretty much the extent of our understanding (as an Indian, I still get discriminated against). We still think certain people don’t deserve rights, simply because we don’t agree with them. But in a sense, the 5th was also an ending step of discrimination in America. Its been gone on the surface for a while, but its the first sign that its really dying as a whole. Now that one battle is over, the next can begin.