History was made last night. Here in Atlanta, the cars were honking their horns, people were screaming in the streets, waving Obama signs until almost 2:30 in the morning. It was unbelievable, and I have never seen anything like it. Watching tear-stained faced chant, "Yes, we can!" as President-elect Obama gave his victory speech last night was a moving sight to behold, and yet, I found that in my elation, worry was still nagging at me. In my eyes, the election wasn't over – I was still very concerned about the results for Proposition 8 in California.
"ELIMINATES RIGHT OF SAME-SEX COUPLES TO MARRY. INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT. Changes the California Constitution to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry in California. Provides that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California. Fiscal Impact: Over next few years, potential revenue loss, mainly sales taxes, totaling in the several tens of millions of dollars, to state and local governments. In the long run, likely little fiscal impact on state and local governments."
So far, it looks as if a majority of people voted in California today to ELIMINATE civil rights. They looked at their ballot, read what was above, and voted "Yes".
So, it looks as if, no, I can't.
I know that there are larger issues at stake here, and I know that there are so, so many reasons to rejoice.
The fact remains that it looks like I am losing civil rights in the state of California (a state where Jeremy will be almost half the year this season) due to a measure that was well-supported supported financially nationwide in an election with record-breaking voter turnout (82% of registered voters voted in Los Angeles County – a county in which Prop 8 passed quite comfortably and also the county where we got married a month ago). Seeing that anti-gay marriage proposals also passed in Florida and Arizona is, while unsurprising, adding insult to the injury. I try hold out hope that as the final votes are counted in California that the tides will turn, but in the face of these numbers, it is hard to maintain that glimmer.
So, to my eye, not much has changed. Sure, there is some progress. We have elected a President into the White House who is partially black and who is opposed to my marriage, and instead supports a separate-but-equal policy towards my civil rights. While I can appreciate that it is a step forward from where we were, the irony of the situation is not lost on me, and I am left feeling skeptical of his promise of "yes, we can".
As a citizen, I can rejoice for a great many things today, but a second-class citizen I remain, nonetheless.