November 12, 2008

Welcome to the back of the bus

This is an editorial I wrote for this week's Link, Concordia's student newspaper

California’s Prop 8 makes gays second-class citizens

by Anthony Di Domizio

Last Tuesday saw the election of the United States’ first black president. It was a momentous occasion for an America whose history of racism and discrimination is not too far behind.
Despite the significance of Obama’s victory, Nov. 4 will also be remembered as a day when America almost, but didn’t quite, leave its historical baggage trailing in the dust. As American civil rights leapt forward, they took a step back due to the passing of Proposition 8, banning same-sex marriage in California.

Exit polls showed an alarming trend in the outcome of Prop. 8 as the state of California was split down the middle. Whites narrowly voted against it, 51 to 49 per cent; Latinos voted narrowly in favor 53 to 47 per cent; Blacks, who turned out in record numbers to elect Obama, voted 70 to 30 per cent in favour.

Prop. 8 was the most watched ballot measure in the 2008 election and the result has all but officially relegated gays to the back of the civil rights bus. The irony saddens me.

California was the second state to recognize same-sex marriage and has weathered a history of ballot measures to remove the right. If the battle for gay marriage ever needed a victory, it was in “liberal” California.

Gays hoped that a victory in California would turn the tide against state referendum after state referendum denying their legal right to form a committed relationship before the law. However, Prop. 8’s supporters also knew how important it was to stop the parade in its tracks.

Over $74 million was spent in the Prop. 8 campaign, mostly by gay-rights groups campaigning against it and religious groups warning about the moral destruction that two dudes getting hitched would cause to their fragile little lives.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who has a problem with Mormons campaigning against gay marriage. This is the biggest hypocrisy I have ever seen. Mormons can have 15 wives, including teenagers, and I am not allowed to have one husband?

What gives these people a right to interfere in other people’s lives? One of Jesus’ most prolific teachings is that people shouldn’t judge one another. This goes well beyond that. Why deny two people the right to love each other? Why deny them the right to promise themselves to one another for the rest of their lives?

When gay marriage was passed in Canada, Jean Chretien proudly said that he could never see the Constitution used to deny rights to other people. San Francisco’s mayor, Gavin Newsome, echoed that sentiment last week.

Some asked me why it mattered what California voters did. After all I’m Canadian and I can get married here. For the same reason Canadians recognized the importance of the U.S. electing a black president, gay rights activists argue that once the U.S. passes a law on same-sex couple rights, the path to equality will become a lot smoother.

As the history of last Tuesday begins to wear off and the real work to fix the American economy gets underway, a lesson must be learned; that nobody needs to be left behind. This is a time for leadership. It’s time we get off this bus once and for all.

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1 Commentaires:

Blogger Leny Vilekoskytch a dit...

Not to take away from the main point of your article, but how does a fundamentalist Mormon (in contrast with the non-polygamous mainstream variety) get to have 15 wives as opposed to 15 "wives?"

11/12/2008 4:13 PM  

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