Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Silver Lining to Prop 8?

The topic of California's upholding of Proposition 8 has a lot of folks talking - and a lot of folks feeling discouraged. I'm an ardent proponent of gay rights and found myself hollering at the radio in my car when I heard the news yesterday. But I am an unflagging optimist by nature, and I'd like to take a moment to step back and get some perspective.

An article in the Huffington Post yesterday caught my eye with its unusual title, "Why the California Court's Decision is Good for Gay Marriage" "Um, what?" I thought. But the gist of the article is that the Court's ruling was not that gay marriage was bad, but that the voters have spoken and the proposition was valid...thus placing the responsibility squarely with the people. From the article:

"By upholding Proposition 8, the California Court effectively tossed the ball back to the voters of the Golden State. The Court thereby ensured the long-term outcome of gay marriage: Given the strong support of younger voters, gay marriage will be approved in California by ballot initiative, perhaps quite soon. Moreover, when gay marriage is approved by popular vote, conservatives will not be able to blame a "judicial activist" court for their loss."

Frankly, I find it objectionable that the state constitution can be changed on a whim by a simple majority vote...and personally, I disagree with the decision. Gay marriage is a civil rights issue, and the court is deferring to the voters' right to choose a discriminatory law to restrict the civil rights of a group. (Would they have upheld the voters' right to reinstate segregation by majority vote?) But the decision is made, and the point in the article has some merit. Times aren't changing as quickly as we'd like, but they are changing, and the younger generations are picking up the cause.

We went from the Emancipation Proclamation to the Civil Rights Act in just over 100 years...and less than 50 years after that, we elected a black president. Breathtaking.

We now have five states - 10 percent of the states in the Union - who allow gay marriage, and D.C. has just passed a law to recognize those marriages. Most of these were approved just within the past few months, and more are in the works...look to New York and New Jersey within the year. Breathtaking.

For all the times I want to weep over this, there are a lot of reasons to smile as well. Chins up, folks, and blessed be.

No comments:

Post a Comment