“It is never too late to give up your prejudices. ~Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)
The CA Supreme Court decision today upholding Proposition 8, the Gay Marriage Intuitive was disappointing. In fact, as a native Californian, the vote last November was surprising. The majority of the people I know are in favor of allowing gay marriage. But what I believe, and many of the people I have discussed this with believe, it passed by a narrow margin in November (approximately 525,000 votes) because the political/religious advertising was filled with untruths and stirred fear.
I heard on the radio today that older people are the ones who are responsible for Prop 8 passing and outlawing gay marriage, and the woman said that the younger generation will make the difference in the near feature and it will be allowed. I disagree that older people are against gay marriage. I only know one older person (in her 80s who voted for Prop 8). All the rest of the older people I know, male and female, in their 50s, 60s, 70s, 80’s and even 90 years of age, are for gay marriage. And they are all heterosexual. I also know younger people, teenagers and young adults, who see no problem with gay marriage.
Thankfully the Court upheld the 18,000 marriages that occurred prior to this ruling today.
In the past California was often said to be open, and progressive. It was here that one might believe that equality was available, equality in all areas of life. It was here in California that people came to enjoy a life of more equality and freedom of choice that was not, or even may not, be available elsewhere right here in our own country. California is a diverse area, so it has been surprising that other states are steps ahead of California in allowing equality for all their citizens. States such as Iowa, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, and hopefully soon, New Hampshire, have all moved ahead in allowing their citizens the right to marry no matter their sexual identity.
I recently had a conversation with a friend about our surprise that Iowa was forward thinking. But I discovered it was not unusual for Iowa to be liberal in their laws and interest in civil rights. In doing research on divorce laws in Iowa for my novel on the Civil War period, I learned that in 1851 Iowa considered it lawful to end marriage when the “parties could not live in peace and harmony together.” That was on their law books before the Civil War! But it was not until 1969-1970 that California put in place ‘no-fault” divorce. Instead of treating marriage as an institution that should be preserved at all costs, no-fault divorce viewed it as a voluntary union between two equals that could be dissolved at will. A spouse who wanted a divorce no longer had to prove wrongdoing in an adversarial setting, such as adultery or desertion. "Irreconcilable differences" made divorce possible. Other states quickly followed. And apparently today some form of no-fault divorce is available in all fifty states.
I guess my thought is let’s hope it does not take more than 158 years for California to come around to accepting gay unions. I still cannot figure out why it should matter to anyone that a couple, straight, or gay, want to marry. Hey, it’s all about love. And it seems childish that someone can force their beliefs in denying marriage to another.
I also still believe the real objection is being veiled, and the federal government not wanting to give up an Income Tax category of a single taxpayer (single straight, widowed, single gay or lesbian) to the lesser tax rate of a married couple. So the government may be very happy to have the religious interference and objections taking place, and in turn saving them from giving up billions in Income Tax revenue.
Isn’t it about fear? It takes courage and love for those who not only are out of the closet but wanting equal rights. Gays and lesbians deserve equal rights, just as any straight person does, just as someone of a different race or nationality does, or as someone of a different religion does. Woman have fought a long time for equality, for property rights, for voting rights, for equal pay (not quite there yet), and the same is true of Blacks and minorities fighting for equality, voting rights, civil rights. This is the 21st century and about time we got over it and treat everyone with dignity and respect.
This is really about freedom. Change is coming.
And as singer/songwriter Melissa Etheridge said today, “I am hopeful as I see more and more states turn to the inevitable future of equality, California will get there. Change takes time."
“I leave you, hoping that the lamp of liberty will burn in your bosoms
until there shall no longer be a doubt that all men are created free and equal.”
~Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)