26 May 2009

Fighting for Equal Rights requires equal effort

Of course I disagree with this morning's decision by the California Supreme Court to uphold the ban on gay marriage. I, like many people, want the gay community to have the same rights as the rest of us, and think it is unjust otherwise. I am, however, not surprised. I am glad that they allowed the marriages that had already happened to remain unscathed, but in case anyone forgot, there WAS an election in November and California DID vote to ban gay marriage. I didn't think that the courts would go against this public mandate, however disappointing it may be, and they did not.

Here's the thing though: this is a pretty serious equal rights issue. Does anyone recall the civil rights struggles of the 1960's? If not, you can go look at the statues erected of the civil rights leaders and protesters from the 60's to get an idea of how hard they had to fight to convince people that they deserved to be treated equally. Was it right? Of course not. It makes me sick to think that anyone was actually hurt trying to "convince" people that someone of color was equal to a white person.

Well, this is a struggle that reminds me of how the civil rights campaign may have gone in the 1960's. Except the people working the hardest are not the people who want equal rights for the gay community; the pro-Prop 8 people are working harder. Mormons, who we're all aware funded a large portion of the original Prop 8 campaign, actually give up an entire year of their lives to wear suits and nametags and go on missions to spread Mormonism all around the globe. Is anyone surprised by their efforts to defeat gay marriage? They are hard-working and persistent, and if we want equal rights for gays, we must be as well. I'm not suggesting that people who want equal rights for gays should give up a year of their lives to do anything, but this fight is going to require a lot more than strongly-worded Facebook status updates - it's going to require actual action.

Also the blame for this does not squarely lie on the shoulders of the California Supreme Court. They didn't start this and they won't end it. Fix the problem, not the blame, folks.

I mean, I'm trying to fight global warming and I went back to graduate school for two years. Global warming is going down, if I have anything to say about it! I hope for everyone's sake that there is a stronger effort in this struggle for equal rights in the 21st century. Otherwise, we might have to brace ourselves for more disappointments.

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