Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Living vicariously through CA and FL

On November 4th, citizens in both California and Florida will head to the polls not just to voice their preference for president, but also to help decide whether their states will write discrimination into their constitutions by banning gay marriage.

In California, this comes just seven months after the state's supreme court ruled that it was unconstitutional to deny marriage and all its legal benefits to same-sex couples. Outraged that the whole "equal rights under the law" thing was actually being upheld, opponents of gay marriage rallied and put Proposition 8 onto the November ballot. Proposition 8, as I'm sure most of you already know, would re-ban homosexual couples from marrying and annul all of the same-sex marriages that have already taken place.
ELIMINATES RIGHT OF SAME-SEX COUPLES TO MARRY. INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT. Changes the California Constitution to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry in California. Provides that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California. Fiscal Impact: Over next few years, potential revenue loss, mainly sales taxes, totaling in the several tens of millions of dollars, to state and local governments. In the long run, likely little fiscal impact on state and local governments.
Down in Florida, a similar ballot measure will be voted on come Nov. 4th - and it's eerily reminiscent of the one Wisconsin voted into law back in 2006. Though gay marriage is already illegal in Florida, Amendment 2 would "enshrine the prohibition in the Florida Constitution, making it nearly impossible for a judge to overturn." It would likely apply to domestic partnerships as well, which effects both straight and gay couples.

I still don't understand why some folks are so hell-bent on writing discrimination into the law. But America has spent every day since its inception fighting to make good on the original promises of the Declaration, Constitution, and Bill of Rights. I guess, then, I shouldn't be surprised that the struggle continues, but since I'm an idealist at heart, it still makes me sad.

Take, for example, one of my favorite bands, the Ditty Bops. The dynamic duo at the band's center, Amanda Barrett and Abby DeWald, have been a couple for ten years and were just recently finally able to get married (they live in California). Now, I want you to watch this video and tell me why you want to strip these two of their rights and how on earth you could possibly disapprove of their relationship.

But you know what? It shouldn't matter whether or not they're the most adorable and talented couple ever (because they pretty much are), because no one seems to have as much of a problem with the many perfectly wacky straight folks who get married every day.

Because it shouldn't matter.

If two consenting, not immediately related to one another adults wish to enter into a legally binding relationship, with all of the federal benefits it entails, then it should absolutely be their right to do so. You don't get to decide for them. Period.

Unfortunately, a narrow majority of my fellow Wisconsinites were misguided enough to pass our blight of an amendment to do just that. And so I am left to fervently hope that California especially and Florida, too, do better.

If you live in either of those states, please, vote no. Donate money. Talk to your friends and neighbors who might disagree and be thinking of voting yes, and do so with compassion and logic. The struggle continues.

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