Friday, November 7, 2008

Prop 8 in California - What Next?

Election Day is a few days past us now, and most are glad to have Obama as our President-Elect.

In California and nationwide, many are still sad that Prop 8 passed in California, as well as similar anti-gay marriage laws in Arizona and Florida, to pass constitutional bans for anti-gay marriages. Soon after the election, an article on explains that the surge in voting for these bans likely came from a large turnout of African-American voters who showed up to vote for Obama, but also greatly voted against same-sex marriages. It seems ironical that one population that has triumphed overcoming racial discrimination with our nation's first African-American president, still does not yet feel similar equality with another group of people facing similar discrimination challenges.

My friend Jennifer Donnelly this week wrote a nice article for - reminding us of all the great things about marriage - whether gay or straight.

Surely there will be continued debates and lawsuits about same-sex marriage in California and in other states. Facebook groups have already started gathering supporters to continue the challenge.

The dangerous and sad thing about banning same-sex marriage is that our legal system has given power to the majority to legalize discrimination. Eventually, this will go away when future generations become the majority and laws are redecided. Throughout history, we've gone through many cycles where new ways of thinking were declared heresy and against common law, and people being different were often persecuted, ostracized, and oppressed. Whether it was believing the earth not being the center of the universe, believing the sun not being the center of the universe, believing the earth to be round, treating people of color equally, treating people of different genders equally, treating people of different sexual orientation equally, etc. - people believing in these new ideas always suffered to pave the way for future generations.

What if the world applied the thinking of banning anti-gay marriages to other similar situations? Here's what might happen (written with a large dose of sarcasm and cynicism):

- Because (only) a man and woman are intended to marry to create a family, maybe we'll have laws or taxes on couples if they do not intend to have children. After all, a marriage is intended to create a family and children, right? That would be crime not to have children, if one person didn't want children and the other did. It would take one eligible person away from the potential parent pool - what a shame.

- Maybe we'll have laws or taxes on parents who cannot have children for medical reasons? If you can't have children, too bad. Survival of the fittest. Why enable people to have children via technology if they can't create children in the first place. Should a natural (meaning naturally capable?) man and woman who are unable to create a family be granted the right to be or stay married? (by wording of Prop 8 - those who not natural marriage candidates should have their marriage rights removed)

- Maybe adoption should no longer be allowed - against the law. If you can't have children yourself, too bad. Adopting children is not natural.

Maybe there will be new laws extending to other groups of people...

- Maybe someone will propose a law or constitutional amendment to say that the U.S. President cannot be a woman - because men have always been president, and that model has always worked in our history and we're used to it. So it doesn't make sense to have a woman as president because of her gender. The world would not be used to it.

- Maybe someone will propose a law or constitutional amendment to say that women should not be CEO's of companies or have the right to work as (name any position) in a company - because historically that was the standard for a LONG time, and let's go back to that standard.

- Maybe someone will propose a law or constitutional amendment to say that people of a certain race or color should be treated differently, because they are different - because the world was that way for a long time, and let's go back to that standard.

In a global world of diversity now, it's sad to see so many are still living in homogeneous communities and still unaware of diverse people, and hence still scared of people different than themselves, or the stereotypical accepted images and profiles that they're trying to live up to themselves but sometimes are not.

Still, progress is being made and the right model will come through eventually.
In 2000 California voters voted 61% to ban gay marriages.
This year in 2008 it was only 52% that voted the same way. This shows that many heterosexuals are now supporting the gay equality movement.
Maybe the next time we vote for the same issue, more will be thinking with an open mind.
Good luck to everyone for a more equal and understanding world.