Prop. 8 Took Too Long to Repeal

There was a poster, quite some time ago, that circulated around the Internet in support of marriage equality that depicted exactly how this issue should be treated. In a nutshell, it asserted that gay marriage shouldn’t be referred to as “gay” marriage — it’s just marriage. Because, you know, you park your car. You don’t gay park it.

On Feb. 7, a three-judge panel in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Proposition 8 to be unconstitutional under the Equal Protection Clause, located within the 14th Amendment of the national Constitution. This is, more or less, the “all men are created equal” part, gendered noun aside.

We at the New University support the mission of the LGBT community in seeking equal rights on all fronts, especially with the issue of marriage equality which has become front and center in the minds of many Californians and Americans in other states alike. There are still barriers that need to be broken and other issues that will surely need to be addressed over the months and years to come, but for now, each victory is monumental in its own right.

In the end, who are the people of a nation founded on the principles of liberty and the pursuit of happiness to prevent one person from marrying the one they love, regardless of their sex? Love is love, people. Many would do well to remember this simple fact and remind themselves that allowing for gay people to marry is not in any way changing their own ability to marry or somehow infringing upon any of their own rights.

That being said, it seems ludicrous that it has taken four years (then-Sen. Barack Obama was still running for the Democratic nomination in the 2008 election) for what seems to be have been a no-brainer decision to be made. Just look at the name of the court that appealed it: the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Ninth.

Sure, there are the pros and cons of having a system of courts to make sure each ruling is being held to the utmost standard according to the Constitution. However, it’s unnerving that it has taken such a long time for California to come to the conclusion that Proposition 8 is a basic infringement on the civil rights of the LGBT community in their quest for marriage equality.

This, in turn, calls into question the state of affairs with partisan politics in Congress at the national level. With the huge rift widening between the aisles, compromises between the GOP and the Democrats seem to be few and far between, with each side contesting to get either all or nothing.

Is America losing sight of the great compromises of its history? Looking back, the Great Compromise of 1787 is what created the current bicameral system of Congress to begin with. Both parties should do well to remember that this country was founded on the willingness to cooperate with one another and not endlessly dog one another for power in the legislation while the economic crisis continues its downward spiral.

This shouldn’t be any different for marriage equality. It’s almost as if the issue had been shrugged aside and pulled up through the courts on the back burners of everything else that has been going on. Four years is simply an unacceptable amount of time for the civil rights of an entire community to be restored in the modern era. Granted, the Civil Rights Movement in the U.S. lasted much longer than that (1955-1968), but doesn’t that mean that this country should know better by now?

We can only hope that for the future, this process should be treated in a much more timely and effective manner in order to ensure the protection of the civil liberties of the LGBT community and other oppressed communities as well. It shouldn’t stop at marriage, either — it’s hard to believe that sodomy laws persisted into the last decade, mostly across the southern states.

It remains a challenge for many Americans to come to terms with the LGBT community and accept their presence in modern American society. This can be seen in the current race for the GOP nomination (everyone remember the Savage-Santorum debacle? It ended with Savage making Santorum’s name into a slang term … just Google it), and it doesn’t stop there. We all remember when Prop 8 was passed via popular vote in California.

Even if you do believe in the sanctity of marriage being between a man and a woman, we challenge you to consider the basic values on which this country was founded. While equal opportunity may never be realized perfectly, it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try. Stand for equal rights of every person in the United States. And, perhaps more importantly, stand for the love between two people of this country, same sex or otherwise.

 

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