The Ugly Threat of Proposition 8

My eye is drawn overseas today. The US Declaration of Independence says:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
I can see no greater threat to those principles than Proposition 8, the plebiscite in California which did not simply make sex-sex marriage illegal but explicitly banned it under the state constitution.
This narrow vote is currently being challenged by gay activists in the California Supreme Court but the prospects of success seem to be slim.
There is progress in other states, Vermont, Massachusetts, Maine, Connecticut and remarkably Iowa have all allowed gay marriage in recent times.
Washington DC, Rhode Island and New York also recognise gay marriages in other states.

However the real success depends upon recognition at a federal level so that these marriages can truly be regarded as equal and not just a luxury to be enjoyed within certain liberal states.
The fact is that same-sex marriage harms nobody. It does not infringe on anyone else’s rights. It will not force churches to marry same-sex couples. As far as I know, it has not led to higher rates of divorce in countries such as Spain, Canada and South Africa where it is legal. It simply allows everyone, including gays and lesbians, the same rights as everyone else. Most importantly it is an expression of love and commitment which are surely the universal values that unite us all and should be available to all of us.
President Obama spoke much about hope in his campaign. So did the San Francisco gay rights campaigner Harvey Milk back in the seventies.
“The only thing they [young gay people] have to look forward to is hope. And you have to give them hope. Hope for a better world, hope for a better tomorrow, hope for a better place to come to if the pressures at home are too great. Hope that all will be all right. Without hope, not only gays, but the blacks, the seniors, the handicapped, the us’es, the us’es will give up.”
What gay people in America have now is hope and there is hope with the victories we are seeing in state after state, but until every citizen has that same hope, we will remain stuck on the arc of history without the full equality and the pursuit of happiness spoken of by those who wrote the Declaration of Independence.
Keith Olbermann, the MSNBC commentator who is straight and does not claim to have a gay family member or best friend, put it best after the passing of Proposition 8. It’s a question of love.


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