Amidst all of the excitement, enthusiasm and hope at the election of Barack Obama and all that it says about our progress as a nation and a people, some things happened on Tuesday that should remind us of how far we still have to go, as measures that would deny the basic rights of American citizens passed in several states.
In California it's called Prop 8 and it provides a constitutional amendment banning gay men and women from marrying, a right that already existed and is now going to be cruelly, intolerably and unnecessarily taken away. How anyone could vote for such abject discrimination is beyond my comprehension.
I watched on my television as the Prop 8 supporters -- the ones who creepily spent their time and money restricting the rights of their fellow citizens -- cheered and hugged each other at their victory party. Victory over what? How are their lives changed? If these revelers were married before the proposition passed, I assume they are still married. If they weren't married, I assume they'll still have just as much trouble finding love for their loveless hearts. So what did they gain?
The dirty secret among these people is that their precious definition of marriage, as that which occurs between a man and a woman, doesn't actually strengthen a single union. The only thing it does is marginalize, ostracize and villainize human beings whose only crime is that they want to be treated equally in a country that declares for its citizens that very equality in its founding document.
It's easy for many of us to simply move on now because it doesn't affect us. Well, I don't want to move on, because this law that aims to define marriage doesn't have anything to do with marriage at all. This law actually and only aims to define some of us as something less than the rest of us. And that kind of law diminishes everyone.