by David Watters
Feb 24, 2009
I think that this is worth reading, as a historical document, because it shows that even if progress appears to be painfully or woefully slow, progress IS being made.
Unfortunately the link to this full article has gone, but I did just want to look back at an early piece of writing that I had published and which has spurred me on to use my voice to comment on social inequality – online, in print or, if you’re anywhere in the vicinity, in person!
It would be great to hear your thoughts on the article and on the social change that has occurred since first publication in 2009.
The recent amendment to the State Constitution of California, Proposition 8, and a similar amendment in Florida, Proposition 2, are seen by LGBT civil rights activists and straight allies as a denial of the American promise of liberty, equality and the pursuit of happiness. There are others, including Malcolm Lazin (Executive Director, Equality Forum), who see this as merely a temporary setback.
Many have claimed that the public were misled and that a large proportion of voters believed that a “YES” vote was a pro-gay vote. It is also well known that the Catholic Church of California asked the Mormon Church of Salt Lake to support their campaign and that millions of dollars were spent by these religious groups to orchestrate a national media campaign.
In May 2008, the Californian Supreme Court ruled that Proposition 22 (March 2000), which specified that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid in California, violated the equal protection clause of the California Constitution. As a result of this ruling, marriage between individuals of the same gender became recognised and valid in the state.
In 2006, President George W. Bush, criticized the judges who had overturned this state law in a speech where he stated that, “Marriage is the most fundamental institution of civilization, and it should not be redefined by activist judges.” In the same speech Bush made further comment on the threat to traditional marriage, “Our policies should aim to strengthen families, not undermine them. And changing the definition of marriage would undermine the family structure.” Bush urged that the issue of same-sex marriage should be put “back where it belongs: in the hands of the American people.”
And so it was that this initiative measure, Proposition 8, or the “California Marriage Protection Act”, was submitted, in accordance with the provisions of Article II, Section 8, of the California Constitution, to the electorate.
The Last Frontier Of Freedom
Daniel Leary, Executive Director of The Committed to Equality Initiative told me that, “The battle for gay rights in the US has been a complicated and surprising one, especially in the past few months. While Proposition 8 was a devastating blow, it has had several positive repercussions. The story of Proposition 6 portrayed in “Milk” is indeed similar, but only in location, genre and struggle. The truth is, the actual propositions were quite different. Proposition 8 is about the right to marry, something some might consider a final frontier in gay rights, whereas Proposition 6 was about outing homosexuals so that they could be removed from their employment. In fact, we have come a long way. An idea like Proposition 6 wouldn’t have a leg to stand on in today’s climate in California, and Proposition 8 was repealing rights that California had already granted, and it very nearly failed”.
In a 1973 speech, during his first unsuccessful run for supervisor, Harvey Milk said, “It takes no compromising to give people their rights. It takes no money to respect the individual. It takes no survey to remove repressions.”
Stuart Milk says of his uncle, “My uncle was not the first openly LGBT person elected to public office in the US but he was the first to a substantial office and the first to actively proclaim his sexuality and not back up from it. I am very proud of my Uncle both as a dear Uncle whom I lost as a teenager and as a worldwide civil rights visionary!”
I think our equality as Americans has come a long way with race, gender, and religious beliefs; however, I believe sexual orientation is the last frontier of freedom for ALL Americans. Gay American couples are not treated with equality or respect in most states to date. Dr. John R. Shafer, Indianapolis, IN
UNFORTUNATELY, YOU CANT READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE:
BUT…I MAY HAVE IT SOMEWHERE…IF… YOU’RE INTERESTED…