If you do believe in the 14th Amendment, then unfortunately you can only relate to the minority of the voters of California. The reason being is that Proposition 8 passed with a 52 - 48 percent difference, thus banning gay marriage. As I write this, I am both ashamed and embarrassed to be a California native. It came as no surprise that similar propositions banning gay marriage, in Arizona and Florida passed, but I thought for sure California would pull through. I still shake my head in shock, not understanding how this could happen. The saddest part of it all is that people voting for proposition 8 (that is, voting to ban gay marriage) really have no idea what kind of ramifications it has on the people who are legitimately affected. Those voting for proposition 8 went to bed as normal last night, woke up today as normal, and will continue leading their lives with no change. What would have happened if they voted no on proposition 8, and it actually got rejected? I assume the same conclusion as stated above. But what happens to all the gay and lesbian couples in California? Well, they cry themselves to sleep, feeling betrayed and abandoned by seemingly the most reasonable, forward-thinking state in the Union. What would you feel if 5.4 million of your fellow residents said you are legally beneath them?
In case I have not been clear, and you are wondering which way I voted, here you go:
My guess is that most people are unfamiliar with the 14th Amendment, or simply choose to look past it. I hope the California Supreme Court remembers it, and I hope this ass-backwards proposition gets reversed. For those of you who might be unfamiliar with the language in the 14th Amendment, I have it for you here:
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
In my humble opinion, that is as clear as day: equal protection of the laws. Then I thought to myself, "Self, what if you are getting confused by 'equal'?" That very well may be the case. Perhaps I am just mistaken by my idea of equal; I mean, I was not an English major after all, and I am only human, so perhaps I am making a grave error in judgment. Luckily for me, I have this series of tubes available at my finger tips, which tells me right from wrong, and defines words for me too. So I looked up the definition, and to my surprise, this is what I found:
- as great as; the same as (often followed by to or with)
- like or alike in quantity, degree, value, etc.; of the same rank, ability, merit, etc.
By Jove, I was right all along! So I might be taking this for granted, but I consider marriage a privilege (it could be an immunity, but who uses that word in this context anymore?). If states are not supposed to abridge privileges, and we are all equally protected under the law, then shouldn't the privilege of marriage be unabridged to gay couples, as it is to straight couples? Really, the only sensible thing would be to simply outlaw marriage entirely, or make it legal for everyone, in the same way, regardless of their sexual orientation.
After work, I decided to stop by one of the street corners where people were actively protesting proposition 8. To be honest, I really just wanted to hear what someone for proposition 8 had to say, but since there were a few people out there against it, I decided to chat with them briefly as well. Here is my version of street reporting:
You ask someone if they believe in a law, and they answer with a passage from the Bible. At least I think it is from the Bible, since I have not read the book I can only guess. Not to say that everyone that voted for banning gay marriage is a religious zealot, or that they even care one way or another if gay people can marry; maybe they just saw one of the scare tactic ads, and were driven by emotion.
If you happened to vote yes on proposition 8, and just so happen to stumble upon this little site, I want you to do me a favor. What I want you to do is think about the impact your vote has had on you, and what impact it has had on gay humans in California. Think about how it would feel if the shoe were on the other foot, and people decided that right X, Y, or Z no longer applies to you; not because you are a criminal, an immigrant, or not mentally sound, but simply because you are you.
Remember, they are human before they are gay, before they are citizens, before they are doctors saving your life, before they are teachers educating your kids, before they are actors entertaining you. You just gave several thousand humans the high hat, and told them to fuck off.
At the end of the day, they are humans, just like you and me. What makes you so special?