There are so many hot-button words and phrases connected to Marriage Equality (notice I do not use the phrase "Gay Marriage", I'm trying to avoid labels here in keeping with the soon to be written mission statement of the American Party) that it will take a bit of creative writing or generalization to explain what (to me) is the plain truth of the issue.
I think it would be safe to say that in one way or another most people have experienced or at least witnessed some form of discrimination. I have yet in all my years of traveling the world to meet a person who liked it, let alone a person who wanted their "Rights" taken away. If the word "Rights" is a hot button for you, comment and we can discuss it in depth in another post.
Lets review a couple of key dates in the history of American Equality: (My apologies to any who feel I have missed some, I tried to hit the major wickets, feel free to educate me in your comments)
+ January 31, 1865: Lincoln signs the 13th Amendment to the Constitution officially ending slavery.
+ August 18, 1920: The 19th Amendment to the Constitution gives women the right to vote.
- February 19, 1942: Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 ordering over 120,000 people of Japanese decent taken from their homes and placed in "internment camps". Two thirds were American citizens, and half of them children. Note: Only ten people in the US were convicted of spying during WWII, all were Caucasian. I wont even touch the violation of Habeas Corpus...
= December 1944: Public Proclamation number 21, which became effective in January 1945, allowed internees to return to their homes. (no plus or minus here I just cant assign a positive attribute to it, and yes, I recognize it in no way made things "Right")
+ May 17, 1954: the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously outlaws segregation in public schools in Brown v. Board of Education.
+ Aug. 29, 1957: Civil Rights Act of 1957 aims to increase black turnout at the polls by making it a crime to obstruct voter registration.
+July 2, 1964: Civil Rights Bill of 1964 bans segregation in the workplace and public accommodations.April 10, 1968: Civil Rights Bill bans discrimination in housing.
+ June 12, 1967: the U.S. Supreme Court said that Mildred Jeter, a black woman and Richard Loving, a white man, could marry. In order to change the law and allow such a marriage, the court relied on the fourteenth amendment.
Let's take a quick break. We all agree that the minuses were bad and the pluses were good right? And we can at least agree that equals sign was at least the right thing to do; Agreed? Good! Can we all also agree that none of the victims (hot button word, I know) had a choice as to whether or not they were part of the group being discriminated against, right?
The Declaration of Independence states the following; We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
I know. Not a legal or constitutional document, more of a Mission Statement... and a damn good one at that.
The Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution (Section 1) says All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
This however, is a legal and constitutional document. Given that all Sodomy laws that effectively outlawed Homosexuality were repealed or struck down in 2003 it is not a crime to be or Homosexual or engage in sexual acts between to consenting adults regardless of gender.
You might say; "But Homosexuals choose to be that way!" Ok. How about a little experiment. Why don't you choose to be homosexual for one day. What? Cant do it? Doesn't feel right? But I'm not gay? Oh... hmmm... yeah. I'll go out on a limb here and say that for most Homosexuals, the converse hold true as well.
Now, I know I have simplified this. I know there are numerous hot-button issues like religion, morals, etc... I wont get into those. This is about equality or the lack their of. Sanctity, Morals etc. have not a thing to do with it.
An adult U.S. Citizen who is of homosexual orientation has the same rights afforded any other non-felon Adult U.S. citizen, right? The constitution says so.
Wrong. They are not afforded the same rights. So, in my simple and general way, this subject needs no more discussion. Proposition 8 is illegal and discriminatory. Period.
We, the People of California (and the United States) talk a good game... but we are no better than the Slave Owners, Segregationists and Fear Mongers we so despise. It is that simple.