It’s a Setback — Not a Defeat
“It is better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness.”
As the election returns were pouring in, one of my friends from college asked me last night what I thought about the anti-marriage amendment passing here in California and “what this means” for us.
We may have lost the battle, but we’ve won the greater war by electing Barack Obama president.
I know that California Attorney General Jerry Brown has said that our unions will stand, but in reality, the passage of Proposition 8 likely means that the California Supreme Court will eventually have to decide on the fate of the 18,000+ couples who wed while they had the right to marry. I’ve also heard there’s a possibility that the state high court could repeal the amendment as incongruous with the “equality clause” in the California constitution.
The bigger picture here is that we now have a president-elect who believes in change, and holds that “equality is a moral imperative” for gays and lesbians saying: “I oppose the divisive and discriminatory efforts to amend the U.S. Constitution or those of other states.” Obama supports both the Matthew Shepard Act and Employment Non Discrimination Act, indicating he will sign them both into law. He advocates the complete repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) because “federal law should not discriminate in any way against gay and lesbian couples, which is precisely what DOMA does.” Most importantly, Obama will appoint justices to the Supreme Court who will stand for human rights.
Yes—it’s a huge setback for gays and lesbians in the U.S., but I refuse to allow my anger over defeat to cause me to despair. Before this election, I’d never protested or picketed anything. There was a palpable benefit from standing in the median of a busy Los Angeles street in front of the Mormon Temple and holding that giant sign. Barack Obama (and my friends Eric, Darin and Molly) inspired me to do it, and I’ll always be grateful to them for that.
I encourage you to get involved, too. We can’t just sit back and “hope” our rights will be served up on a silver platter. We didn’t lose by much. Our opportunity is to channel that energy somewhere productive, namely to get involved in the process. I plan to take our new president-elect’s words to heart and get involved in changing our country.