The Passage of Proposition 8
This year's election is one that will most certainly go down in history. We have seen the closest that a woman has come to receiving the Democratic nomination for the office of President of the United States in Hillary Clinton.
We have seen the second woman to run for the office of Vice President of the United States in Sarah Palin. And we have seen, for the first time in American history an African American man nominated to represent a major party in the race for President, as well as that same African American man elected to the position of President of the United States in Barack Obama.
But here in California, we have also seen for the first time in American history a statewide ballot proposition that, rather than giving rights to the people, takes rights away from the people. The proposition mentioned is, of course, Proposition 8.
The official ballot title of Proposition 8 as it appeared on California ballots was "Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry." $35.8 million was spent campaigning for Proposition 8, while $37.6 million was spent campaigning against it, creating a grand total of $73.4 million being spent on campaigning regarding this proposition.
This is the most money that America has spent for any political campaign, save presidential campaigns.
This fact illustrates the importance that Americans nationwide on both sides of the issue placed on this proposition. One would think that a state like California, as liberal as it is, would shoot down a ballot proposition like this one. But no, as all of you surely know by now, Proposition 8 did in fact pass, overturning the ruling made in May of this year by the California Supreme Court that allowed same sex couples to marry.
We at the Corsair find the outcome of Proposition 8 to be mortifying; truly a regression of our society's moral standards and integrity. Additionally, we find it utterly sickening that California voters gave priority of importance to farm animals over homosexuals with the passing of Propositions 2 and 8.
How, California, did you allow this to happen? Is our culture so morally bankrupt that we would give chickens in cages more freedom while simultaneously taking basic rights from fellow human beings?
The Declaration of Independence, drafted by Thomas Jefferson in 1776 and signed by the founding fathers of this great nation, says in its opening paragraph: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."
Proposition 8 makes a mockery of this profound assertion that embodies the basis of our country's foundations, contradicting three of the four statements that gave Americans the position of pioneers in creating a free world. In other words, by allowing Proposition 8 to pass we have allowed an enormous group of people to be robbed of their "unalienable rights," which in turn takes from every American the ability to think of themselves as truly free.
The main supporters of this proposition are mostly the religious right, who argue that marriage is a sacred institution that can exist only between a man and a woman, according to the Bible. It is these people who campaigned for Proposition 8 that used dirty tactics to manipulate the public into voting in favor of the proposition; tactics such as misleading campaign signs that read "Protect the American Family" and deceitful commercials that confused voters into believing that the rejection of Proposition 8 would mean that gay marriage would be taught in public schools.
Moreover, the way the proposition was presented to the public was fairly confusing, making it difficult for voters to distinguish what exactly a "yes" or a "no" vote meant.
However, in the end we have no one but ourselves to blame for the loss of a basic civil right.
One of the greatest facets of American government is the guaranteed equal treatment of every person in the country. We have unions and labor laws to protect workers from being treated unfairly by their employers. Undocumented immigrants are granted the same safeguards as natural born citizens by the laws of our nation. Even psychopathic serial killers are guaranteed legal counsel and a fair trial.
And what makes this equal protection so wonderful is the fact that it shields minorities from unjust treatment. This is to say that, just because the majority may not like the practices of a minority group, the rights of that minority group will not be infringed. Applied mainly to the freedom of religion, this concept shields all individuals from persecution by the mainstream.
Perhaps if homosexuality had an official church or practice, it would be considered a religion and therefore protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution. This concept is the only thing that prevents religious groups from being able to put a proposition on the California ballot that would illegalize the practice of, say, Islam.
In conclusion, we as a staff here at the Corsair believe that justice is yet to be served. Hope was another strong theme of this year's election, and hope is what we cling to. The closing lines of the Pledge of Allegiance illustrate best what we hope for: "liberty and justice for all."
Liberty to say, do and practice whatever you believe in. Justice for the hordes of people that were treated as less than human by the mere existence of Proposition 8 on a state's ballot. This issue is far from resolved, and we stand in solidarity with the men and women who were cheated out of a basic civil right as fellow believers in freedom, as fellow Americans and as fellow human beings.