Friday, November 07, 2008

Just a reminder of what is at stake.

I know that a lot of people get it, but there are people who don't.
The passing of Prop 8 is a failure on a many levels. It's a failure from start to finish.

That a modern society should even question the right of same-sex couples to enter into a marriage is a failure.

That a modern society should vote to prohibit same-sex marriages is a failure.

That a modern society would even think that it's legitimate to vote on other people's rights is a failure.

Our rights should not be subject to the whims and passing fancy of other people. Our rights should not be up for popular vote. The rights of a minority should not be subjected to tyranny of the majority.

We should have the reasonable expectation that our rights be honored by those around us, whether they like us or agree with us. I'm profoundly disappointed by the fact that Prop 8 and others like it succeeded, but I'm just as profoundly disappointed and saddened that so many people consider it right to have voted on the issue at all. That we, in 2008, still think that popular vote is a fair and right way to determine whether someone should be allowed access to his/her rights... is disturbing.

Would we accept, in this day and age, a ballot initiative to prohibit women from owning property? Would we accept the notion that it is fair and right to vote on whether Asian people should be allowed to register to vote? Would most people just accept it if someone suggested we should vote on a reinstating slavery?

People should not be denied their rights because the majority takes a vote.

Already, on some of the forums I visit, people are saying "but, gays could have civil unions! What's the problem?"

The problem are the over 1,000 benefits that are associated with marriage, most of which do not come with civil unions. The problem is in pretending that seperate is equal. The problem is in telling one group of citizens that their rights and their relationships are less valuable and less "real" than others.

There are over a thousand laws associated with marriage, many of which provide benefits and privileges to married couples. It's a long list, but worth looking at.

Someday, history will vindicate. The best I can do, sometimes, is take solace in the fact that history will prove us right, and we'll eventually recognize that institutional bigotry is wrong. But, I know that doesn't help people in the here-and-now, and that doesn't help the people who are actually hurt by these sorts of laws. I can only hope that history comes soon.


Nick said...

Excellent points. We can't vote on human rights any more than we can decide by a vote when life begins (see Proposition 48 in Colorado). As someone who worked against Prop 22 in 2000 (when I lived in California), I had hoped that there would be a different outcome this time around. Sadly, I was wrong.

Sarah said...

Really well said.

Anonymous said...

I hadn't thought of that angle before. Why does the majority get to vote on the rights of a minority? Why doesn't a court ruling, based on the Constitution that everyone likes to trot out when it's convenient, stand up to popular opinion?

Of course, the more I think about it, the more I'm uncomfortable with voters deciding much of anything aside from who should represent them.

Tangent: I followed your comment from Sociological Images, now I think I'll stick around and read your blog.