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John Ridley Headshot

Obama Wins. And So Does Fear, Hate and Prop 8

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The cheers, the tears, the jubilation over the election of our 44th president. All of it deserved. But some of it overshadowed by the harsh, white light of reality that burned in the west. As Americans -- many of whom have never even had a black man for a boss -- elected a person of color president, a narrow but sharp margin of Californians stole the rights of her citizens. By supporting bailot proposition number 8 they refused gays the right to marry.

Two other gay marriage bans, in Florida and Arizona, also passed. But the egregiousness of Prop 8 is compounded by the fact California had previously allowed for same sex marriages. Rights were not merely denied, they were removed. Citizens stripped of previously granted privileges. "Privileges" which should be protected under the Constitution to begin with.

In the new age of Barack Obama there is perhaps no greater lingering vestige of systemic bigotry than the barring of same sex marriages. The hypocrisy and false piety of the deniers aside, the relationships of gays have no effect on heteros. Especially all the heteros who've done such a marvelous job of debasing marriage on their own all these many years. Politicians on the left and right love to expatiate on the need to defend "traditional" marriage. Usually just prior to engaging in some extra-marital affair with a paramour or boy toy or just an old fashioned hooker. And fine. Have at it. I'm no moralist. Do as you please as long as you balance the budget. But until politicos take a true stand in defense of marriage by proposing an anti-adultry amendment to the Constitution, stop demonizing gays and lesbians when the one debasing your marriage is the individual in the mirror.

Why is it that the very people who have fought so hard and so long for the simple entitlement to love whom they choose to love are the very ones denied that right by those who routinely take their vows for granted?

And the specious arguments about protecting the sanctity of marriage?

May I remind you of the words of Congressman Seaborn Roddenbery of Georgia on non-traditional relationships:

"It is contrary and averse to every sentiment of pure American spirit. It is contrary and averse to the very principles of a pure Saxon government. It is subversive of social peace. No more voracious parasite ever sucked at the heart of pure society and moral status."

Congressman Roddenbery spoke those words back in 1912 when he tried to introduce an amendment to the Constitution banning interracial marriage.

Nobody remembers Seaborn Roddenbery.

Today a biracial man is president elect.

Gay marriage will be universally accepted in time. But if I may be so bold as to say to gays and lesbians, don't wait for that time to arrive. Just as my father and his generation did not "wait" for their civil rights, nor should you. The toothpaste ain't going back in the tube. The tide has turned. Don't let anyone tell you to calm down, sit quiet and be patient. Don't let politicians beguile you with their sophistry and semantics on how civil unions will do just fine. Through the power of the courts and the will of instinct and moral authority fight this.

Fight it.

For all the bromides about "left coast" politics, as goes California so goes the nation. The 18,000 same sex couples in our state who are already married deserve not only clarity on their status, but surety. Surety that not only will their status NOT change, but that their ranks will be enhanced.

For those who believe in change, "yes, we can" is already yesterday's catch phrase. Today it is: "now, we must."

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