48 More Hours of Gay Marriage in CA?


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In 48 hours, a California minority group may lose an important civil right at the ballot box. Almost sounds Machiavellian. Certainly it sounds un-American. In an election that by all indications looks as if it will be historic in elevating the first African American to the presidency, mean-spirited and biased California voters can still show that all prejudice is not dead by voting Yes on Proposition 8 to eliminate gay marriage. Or a majority of California voters, led by their better angels, can uphold the California Supreme Court decision approving gay marriage and sweep aside homophobia along with racism.

 

As the November 4th election looms, same-sex couples in California are rushing to town and city halls to get marriage licenses and marry. California courts have determined that couples married before (or if) their civil rights are voted away will still be legally married. Another class of Californians will be created, gays who once had the civil right to marry as opposed to those who weren’t born at the right time, or in love at the right time, or . . ..

 

Approximately 16,000 couples have married in four and a half months.

What a mind-boggling situation these couples are thrust into because they are part of an apparently despised minority. Some folks like Focus on the Family, the Catholic Knights of Columbus, the Mormon Church, and clusters of other right-wing ideological groups have raised millions of dollars to convince Californians that some people do not deserve full civil rights. They are urging a Yes vote on Proposition 8.

 

In perhaps their most despicable moment, these Yes on Proposition 8 folks just sent a targeted mailing to African American voters indicating that Barack Obama and Joe Biden are also for Yes on Proposition 8. In response to the duplicitous direct-mail piece, Obama campaign spokesman Ben Bolt released this statement: “Senator Obama has already announced that the Obama-Biden ticket opposes Proposition 8 and similar discriminatory constitutional amendments that could roll back the civil rights he and Senator Biden strongly believe should be afforded to all Americans.”

 

What Obama and Biden have never said is that they are for marriage equality. Of course, that’s the stickler. They’ve said that they are for civil unions. Californians had that separate but equal solution and their high court said that it was not enough—just as Connecticut’s high court said a few weeks ago. There’s a lesson here about being for full equality—unequivocally. Nonetheless in this last minute showdown the Obama campaign has said it “opposes Proposition 8.”

 

Meanwhile gay and lesbian couples in California are rushing to marry while they still have that civil right. Let’s hope this last ditch ad by NO on Prop 8 helps. It says all the right things but I just wish that some of the political heroes had the guts to really be for marriage equality.

 

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