A Victory for Equal Rights

Prop 8 Ruling

This is a victory.

It’s not my victory.  To be brutally honest, I didn’t campaign or protest the dismissal of Proposition 8 or argue why DOMA is just freaking ignorant.  But for all those out there who did, this is definitely a victory.  And I’m proud of all the people who went into action and stood against an infringement of rights.  Gay marriage can resume in California, and I’m happy that this is the case.

I know not everyone feels this way.  But let me tell you why I do:

When it looked like the American colonies were going to war with England, there were a lot of groups who saw this as an unprecedented opportunity to do something really revolutionary.  Women were one of those groups.  Another were slaves.  In fact, Abigail Adams wrote to her husband and said, “…And by way in the new Code of Laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make I desire you would Remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favourable to them than your ancestors.” [1]

Do you know what John Adams, one of our celebrated Founding Fathers, did?  He wrote back and essentially mocked her, called her “saucy,” and then completely dismissed her request for women’s rights.

A petition was put forth by a “Great Number of Blackes detained in a State of slavery,” which submitted to a general court assembled in Massachusetts Bay the plea that all men have in common the natural and inalienable right to freedom. [2]

A war was fought over that one, but until almost 100 years later.  And even at its completion, the fight for equality for black Americans was not over.

So why do I support legalization of gay marriage?  It’s not because I don’t understand the moral arguments that certain religious groups have against it.  I’m perfectly capable of understanding their arguments.  I just don’t agree.  In our country, we have a history of suppressing the rights of anyone who does not fall into the category of ‘white male.’  And in a country that has long lauded freedom and equality for all, there is absolutely no place for that.

We claim to be a nation built upon the principles of freedom and equality.  But every time we have a chance to prove it, we fail.  Utterly and completely.  We cannot look an adult in the eye and say, “It is illegal for you unite with the person that you’re in love with.”  Some people may consider it immoral.  Some people may consider it a sin against God, or a sin against nature.  Some may think of it as a sort of disorder or disease.  But the fact of the matter is, it does not cause physical harm or in any way block or infringe upon the rights of any other Americans.

So today is a victory.  It is not a personal victory, but a victory for the principles which we’ve all learned are what make America so different, and so wonderful.  That is worth celebrating.

[1] Abigail Adams, “Abigail and John Adams Debate Women’s Rights, 1776,” in Major Problems in American History Volume 1: To 1877, ed. Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman (Boston: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning 2012), 109.

[2] “African Americans Petition for Freedom, 1777,” in Major Problems in American History Volume 1: To 1877, ed. Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman (Boston: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning 2012), 112-113.