Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Election of Barack Obama in Relation to the California Ban Against Same Sex Marriage

The election of Barack Obama signifies a great step forward in the cultural history of United States of America, as well as a tremendous improvement for our cultural standing as a leader in the world community. For many Americans this election is seen in part as a victory for the progression of civil rights. As we embrace this momentous occasion we should not see this only as a close on the disgraceful chapter of racial inequality in this nation, but rather as the first paragraph for a new chapter of increased inclusion for all groups in the cultural melting-pot we call America.

At this juncture in the evolution of our nation we should all be proud of the growth and maturity the people of the United States have shown by casting aside some of the divisions that held us back from striving for the realization of our better selves. However, there is still much to be done. Bigotry still survives like a colony of cockroaches in the cracks and recesses of our cultural fabric. It is unfortunate, and terribly sobering to realize that the stink of bigotry still lingers, not only in terms of race, but also in terms of gender and gender preference, as well as religious and/or philosophical credo.

The United States of America was founded on the principles of equality and inclusion. But in its founding, this nation was saddled with blind spots in its understanding of those principles. Throughout our history, we the people, in order to form a more perfect union, have striven to expand our vision by improving our embrace of our fellow citizenry and all of our humanity. We have striven and achieved a degree of political inclusion and representation for people of a myriad of faiths (Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Atheists, etc.), inclusion and representation for people of a myriad of ethnic backgrounds (Jews, Irish, Italians, Latino, African American, Asian American, etc.), inclusion and representation for women, and yet we still fail as a nation to comprehend the civil rights travesty we impose by restricting the rights of Gay Americans. We will never be able to say that we live up to the name of our country until we have chosen to dispatch ALL bigotry to the locked crypt of history.

The duty of government is to protect the civil liberties of its people. Any time government acts to infringe upon the civil liberties of some its people, it infringes upon the civil liberties of its entire populace. The California vote to create a law banning same sex marriage constitutes just such an attack upon the spirit of this nation. We are all minorities in the United States of America and we must act to protect each other from government infringement against all of our civil liberties.

There is no legal justification for a ban against same sex marriage. Many may point to their own moral belief, based upon long held religious convictions, that same sex marriage is wrong. As Americans it is their right to hold and profess these beliefs. However, it is not the right of any American to impose their beliefs upon any other American. Furthermore, the Bill of Rights prohibits government from enacting any law on the basis of religion. If the only reason for enacting legislation against same sex marriage rests with religious convictions and/or “feelings” without regard to supportable evidence, than government has no right to enact such legislation. Any such act on behalf of exclusion towards any citizen of the United States should be seen as a travesty towards the American ideal. If the United States of America aspires to promote itself as a nation worthy of its name, than it must always stand up for the unification of its people under the law.

Philosopher and novelist Ayn Rand held that when faced with a philosophical contradiction one should always check their premises. The ban against same sex marriage is just such a contradiction against the principles upon which this nation was founded. And we are arriving at this contradiction because we as a nation are asking the wrong question. The question should not be whether or not to ban same sex marriage. The question should be whether or not we as a nation believe that homosexuals are entitled to equal protection under the law. In this context, I believe that the better nature of most Americans would affirm this right.

With the election of Barack Obama to the United States presidency, we the people of the United States of America have begun driving the automobile of Hope down the highway of positive Change. Now is the time to be inspired for what we can become. Now is the time to put the pedal to the metal and drive towards a better America, a more inclusive America, and America where every human being has a voice and a legal right towards the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness under the law.

President elect Obama has said that “We are not a red America and a blue America… We are not a black America and a white America…” To carry this ideal along its logical progression, we must also acknowledge that we are also not a gay America and a straight America… We are not a non-religious America and a religious America… We are not an America of divisions… We are not an America of exclusion….

We are an America whose strength is reinforced every time we stand up in favor of our common humanity. We are One America, and we should strive to Remember and Fight for that in every aspect of our Union.

1 comment:

Art Lister said...

Hear, hear! Well said and said well.