Friday, November 7, 2008

Somebody Please Tell Me Why This Is OK!?

A lot has happened in the past few days. In case you've been living under a rock I'll give you the highlights. First, the United States (and the world in spirit) elected Barack Obama for president. Historical for so many reasons. Besides the obvious one being that we elected the first African American as president, this election also produced the largest voter turn-out in history. The 'young voters' can finally shake off their reputation for civic apathy due to the fact that they increased their participation by almost 20% over the 2004 election. But I digress.

The second event that took place occurred on the same day as Election Day and for that reason I feel went unnoticed by many. In California, a little thing called Proposition 8 was also on the ballot. Let me clarify, the ballot title of Proposition 8 was Eliminates Rights of Same Sex Couples to Marry. Eliminates Rights... Seriously? California voted and California decided that same-sex couples were not in fact entitled to the same rights as hetero couples. Seriously folks, what century are we living in?? Other than dividing Liberal minded voters, it was surprising to consider that the Latino and Black communities - with their own histories of oppression - were also split on this decision.

Even Obama, for as many of his policies and beliefs that I agree with and thus voted on, there remain a small handful that are hard to swallow. This is one of them. Even he does not support rights for same-sex couples. For all the strides that we as a nation have overcome to ensure equal rights for all, I lament the passing of Proposition 8. It claws at the foundation of our fundamental freedoms and takes us back in recent history to a time when the blacks found themselves segregated against in extreme ways. Where the majority of the American (white) population were steadfast in their beliefs that blacks were not allowed the same privileges as whites. That they shouldn't be allowed to go to school with or even drink from the same water fountains.
We can look at images like these and maybe shake our heads in shame. Or chuckle at the ridiculousness of it all. I can only hope and pray that one day we will look back on times like these, and find things like Proposition 8 ridiculousness as well.

To add insult to injury, a ban on unmarried couples to adopt or foster children also passed in Arkansas. In their quest to preemptively bar same-sex couples from raising today's youth, The Arkansas Family Council ha also made it impossible for next of kin to take guardianship of minors in cases where both parents become deceased. Well done Arkansas. In a world where so many children are left unwanted and unloved, individuals who may be able to afford and provide the best possible care and instruction for those children, will not be allowed to. In a country where the divorce rate is at a staggering 38%, we won't allow same-sex couple who may have been together for 10, 20 or 30+ years an opportunity to make their commitment legal and binding, and to be afforded the same opportunities as those who marry and divorce after only a few years.

Again, somebody please tell me why this is ok?


Eric said...

If you haven't already, go rent GUESS WHO'S COMING TO DINNER. Pay particular attention to Spencer Tracy's speech at the end of the movie. Get through it without tearing up...I dare you.

Now, what if John Prentiss and Joey Drayton were, well, John Prentiss and Joey Drayton.

Also, check out the Special Comment by Keith Olbermann on Countdown (11/10/08).

Rob said...

It's not okay, it won't ever be okay. I can only take comfort in the hope that some day not too far off, the ignorance will dissipate and give way to enlightenment.

Interesting fact: of all the candidates in the Democratic primaries, Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gravel were the only ones who explicitly and outwardly supported gay marriage. Kucinich didn't make it on the Texas ballot for the primaries, or he would have gotten my vote.

nekisia said...

one day, we will all look back and laugh at how absurd the whole country was. i promise.

Firelance said...

The precedent that it would set worries me. Look at how out of control the handling of this bailout money has gotten. So we re-define marriage this once, and then what? What do I do when the men from NAAMBLA want to legally pursue my boys? Sounds ridiculous, but seriously? Will the line really stop with gays marrying? I doubt it.

Schovillova said...

Firelance -

I'm confused by the bailout comparison, and I don't see how the campaign for gay and lesbian equality is the same as age-of-consent laws.
NAMBLA campaigns to loosen the laws involving same-sex adults and minors. Adults and minors. I wouldn't condone an organization that was fighting to change the age of consent for hetero adults and minors either. Saying that a line from same sex marriage could lead to a change in age-consent laws is extreme. Thus, it's unfair to insinuate that NAMBLA's mission is an issue related to gay and lesbian civil rights.

And, is the ban on gay marriage not unlike earlier bans on interracial marriage? What kind of 'precedent' did the lifting of those set? It made clear that we are all entitled to the same rights. That race and ethnicity are not factors in who people get to spend the rest of their lives with. That interracial couples can count on federal benefits like social security and immigration. That interracial couples have just as much of a chance to raise healthy functioning families as same-race couples. I don't know about you but I look back at laws like those and I can't believe how ridiculous it all was.

Firelance said...

good points, all of them, esp the interracial marriage bans. Maybe NAMBLA was extreme. But what about the Mormons and Muslims in our country who want to legally pursue their belief in polygamy? I mean, don't you see how they too could attempt to re-define "one man-one woman" to "one man-one man" to "one man-many women"? Please don't interpret my comments as disdain for homosexuals themselves.

You're right, bailout comparison was unclear and weak. I just meant that the money was given for one thing, used for another, and now more companies feel entitled to be saved out of their failure. Because of the precedent of the ridiculous amount of money given in the first place. There always seems to be this growing sense of entitlement among us.

Schovillova said...

You're right, more doors could be opened. What then? I'm choosing my battles this morning.

Don't you see that until we allow homosexuals the same rights as heteros, we're sending a message to our youth that there's something wrong with homosexuals? That they're to be treated differently because they're somehow a sub-class of society? I worry about the youth who themselves might have inclinations for the same-sex but are receiving those messages and are being made to feel that they are flawed. That's the precedent that worries me.

I agree about the bailout. Our government has done well to foster that entitlement which is present in so many facets of society and it kills me. Yet another mixed message to our youth. I could go on (imagine that) but I'll spare you.

So, truce.