Melanie Pang" />
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Wednesday, September 27, 2023


Prop 8 vote a setback for everyone

The public giveth, and it taketh away. In 2000, Proposition 22 was approved by 61 percent of California voters, which stated: "only marriage between a man and a woman is valid and recognized in California." Then, on May 15, 2008, the California Supreme Court ruled 4-3 to allow the "right to marry" the person of one’s choice, and gender restrictions violate the state Constitution’s equal protection guarantee. Now, marriage for same-sex couples will soon be invalid, as 52 percent of California voters voted "yes" on Proposition 8.

Marriage for gay and lesbian couples was granted in California, and approximately 18,000 marriages will now feel the ripping of the bandage coming off the wound created by Proposition 22. Lawsuits are being filed, and the issue is being taken back to the state Supreme Court, with potential to reach the U.S. Supreme Court. But even with the issue being taken to the courts, the biggest battle ought to be with ourselves – we ought to feel ashamed.

We can exchange all the rings and promises we would like, but the promise to be protected and recognized by the government that we elect was the promise we sought and failed to receive.

It wasn’t just California who let the LGBT community down; Arizona and Florida approved gay marriage ban amendments. Arkansas voters approved a measure banning unmarried couples from adopting children or serving as foster parents. The right to be acknowledged as an equal part of the society in which we contribute as people was what was at stake.

The website quoted president-elect Barack Obama from a letter to the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club prior to the election:

"As the Democratic nominee for President, I am proud to join with and support the LGBT community in an effort to set our nation on a course that recognizes LGBT Americans with full equality under the law. And that is why I oppose the divisive and discriminatory efforts to amend the California Constitution, and similar efforts to amend the U.S. Constitution or those of other states."

No one should be able to relate to this discrimination better than the other minorities of this country. However, the same crowd that helped elect Obama was the same group of voters that passed Proposition 8. As reported by "If exit polls are to be believed, some 70 percent of African-Americans voted yes on 8, as did 53 percent of Latinos and 49 percent of Asians; each of these demographics went heavily for Obama; blacks by a 94-to-6 margin. Los Angeles County, heavily minority, went 50-50 on Prop 8."

In a letter for immediate release when Proposition 8 passed, Rick Oculto wrote, "When Prop. 22 was passed, we lost by an overwhelming 70 percent and now Prop 8 is teetering on slightly over 50 percent. Civil rights takes time … but more so it takes action."

Interracial marriage was not allowed in the country until 1967. Just like race, sexual orientation is not a choice. So how is prohibiting same-sex marriage any different? And just like how we view intermarriage, I can only hope years from now we’ll look back and wonder what took us so long.

It’s alarming how far-removed the general public seems to feel about the "anti-gay-marriage bans." It transcends neglecting the issue because a person is heterosexual: if you are a woman, you should have voted no; if you are a racial minority, you should have voted no; and if you care at all about equality in this country, you should have voted no. If there is no hope in California, then who or what will protect us in Texas or the rest of the nation?†

Pang, a communication senior, can be reached via [email protected]

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