All Men Are Created Equal (Unless You're Gay)
(Editorial) By Siya Green
In 2008 Proposition 8, the proposition to ban gay marriage, was surrounded by controversy. It was a close race of 52.24% for it and 47.26% against it. However, people who voted for Prop 8 didn’t understand the damage that would come along with it. A lot of people couldn’t understand why gays were fighting so hard for marriage when a civil union is the same thing. In other words, is the title the only difference? The answer is no. A civil union is very different from a marriage because the union only allows homosexuals half of the rights that a married couple would receive. Homosexuals and heterosexual both go to work and school, and pay their benefits into the government as well as being someone’s mother, father, family, friend and child. The United States Constitution states that all men are created equal, so for that reason it’s time to start recognizing homosexuals as first class citizens and giving them the rights that they are entitled to.
“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. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new guards for their future security.” See, it says that when a form of government becomes destructive to the rights to life, liberty, or the pursuit of happiness, it is the right of the people to abolish or change it! And certainly discrimination is this country and around the world against gays could easily be described as “a long train of abuses and usurpations...to reduce them under absolute Despotism”
Most Americans believe that all people deserve equal rights regardless of their religion, race, age, or gender, but when it comes to sexual orientation, those beliefs start to fade. Vermont became the first state to make civil unions legal; however, these unions are not recognized in all states due to the Defense of Marriage act (D.O.M.A), which was signed into law in 1996 by President Bill Clinton. D.O.M.A defines marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman. The Federal government adopted the act after Hawaii constitution legalized same sex marriage and they believe that Hawaii’s decision would affect other states. However same sex marriage is not legal in Hawaii; they offer domestic partnerships, which are legal and personal relationships that are not recognized as a “marriage” or “civil union” and only allow homosexual couples some benefits of heterosexual marriage.
President George Bush tried to pass an amendment to prohibit gay marriage in the year 2004 that failed twice. Bush states that “Marriage cannot be severed from its culture, religious and natural roots without weakening the good influence of society”. Recusemamarriage.com [is it rescuemarriage.com?] is a website made by Christian and activist John Marcotte, who believes that Prop 8 didn’t go far enough and that divorce should be banned as well. Because “God doesn’t like gays or divorce”; however, the first amendment states that we have freedom of religion, meaning that we are not force to follow ones religion and political rights shouldn’t be based off of religion. [Extend your refutation of Marcotte’s religious argument against gay marriage; it’s one of the more widely accepted justifications]
The United States Constitution states that all men are created equal; it doesn’t have in fine print “unless you’re gay”. A civil union only allows same sex couples a few of the rights that they would of received if their married. Thanks to the D.O.M.A act, any state is not allowed to grant even those few rights. On April 11th 2010, the Gay and Lesbian task force joined by the Gay and Lesbian Center marched down Hollywood Blvd. to demand equal Social Security benefits. At the rally Rep. Linda T. Sanchez, who is a member of the House subcommittee on Social Security, announced “right now same sex couples pay equally into the system that they don’t receive equal benefits from in return”. Sanchez’s bill calls for the Social Security Administration to recognize those civil unions or domestic partnerships as valid relationships for the purpose of disbursing survivor that heterosexual couples with marriage certificate now receive. [State the reaction so far to this proposal ot at least indicate indicate your support of it]
April 16, 2010 Obama sent out a memo that order hospitals who are receiving Medicare and Medical in the country to grant the same visitation rights to gay and lesbian partners that they do to married heterosexual couples. According to President Obama, “Doctors and nurses do not always have the best information about patients’ medication and medical histories and that friends and certain family members are unable to …help communicate patients’ needs” [add in-text citation]. The order was inspired by the case of Janice Langbehn, who was kept from seeing her partner Lisa Pond as she died alone in a hospital room. Hospitals who are receiving government money must allow visitations rights to same sex couples, but what about the private hospital? Are members of these hospitals forced to suffer?
Supporters’’ of Prop 8 claimed that the proposition protects marriage and our children. They supported their claim with scare tactics such as if gay marriage is legal it will be taught to in schools. But according to the Education Code 51933, “If a school implements sex education they most teach it without bias and respect for a committed relationship and marriage”. Supporters also claim that children are better raised by a mother and a father. However 56% of American children are brought up in single parent homes. Throughout the supporters whole campaign, they state that voting yes on 8 does not take away homosexual rights because gays will still be entitled to a domestic partnership. Sadly, a domestic partnership or a civil union does not grant homosexuals hospital visitation, joint child adoption, social security benefits, or the ability to make medical decisions for their partner. As I was standing in the line to vote, I heard people state, “What is prop 8? I don’t know!” Then someone would reply, “It’s to protect our children.” Another thing I heard while standing in the line was, “I don’t have anything against gay people, but I don’t want my kids to be taught their lifestyles.” Prop 8 passed by a few percent due to that fact that a lot of people who voted for Prop 8 did not know the damage it could cause.
People against Prop 8 spent just as much money on advertisement as the supporters of Prop 8, and even though their campaign was more fashionable, their main focus was “Vote no on 8 because it’s wrong and unfair” [cite source]. Even though this was a good slogan, they didn’t do the best job at proving what was unfair and wrong. The ads against prop 8 should have been more detailed about what would happen if prop 8 was to pass. They should have used their ads to address the claims that the supporters of 8 were making. [Maybe summarize the issues here: state what the ads needed to have said].
Gay Activists came together after Prop 8 was passed to canvass, protest, and rally. Canvassing is really effective because activists pick an area to go door to door to talk to voters who voted yes on 8; this process helps inform voters of the discrimination that comes along with the law. Canvassing also plays an important part in finding out the reasons people are against it so they can address those reasons in future campaigns. [what was discovered during this lastcanvass?] Protest and rallies are equally important because not only are they a place to get people to canvass, it’s also a peaceful way for gays to express to the public these effects of Prop 8. This efforts are good ones to overturn Prop 8; however, if the no on 8 campaign party would have taken this step beforehand, there wouldn’t be anything to overturn.
Proposition 8 lost a close race in 2008, but the battle has been going on for years. People argue that gays shouldn’t be married because a marriage is a union that’s between one man and one woman. However that definition comes from the Bible and the First Amendment states that Americans have freedom of religion. Even with that being said, not everyone follows the same religious beliefs. It’s not ok to judge someone’s right based off of your own personal religious background. Supporters of Prop 8 are fighting so hard against same sex marriage because they’re not ready for change. Allowing homosexuals to marry will only chang the definition of marriage to a civil union between two adults, which is politically correct to not discriminate on someone because of their sexual origin. When two people deeply love each other and want to further their relationship, their next step is usually marriage not to mention wanting to received the benefits of marriage as well as protecting themselves, such as being able to receive social security if their partner dies.
The United States of America prides itself on being the land of the free, so I ask you, where is the freedom and justice for all?