harsens_rob (harsens_rob) wrote,

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Civil Rights and the Civil Contract

Since she has encouraged sharing, I'll post this link to Susan who has a well-voiced blog entry on why denying us gay-folk the basic right to marry is inherently breaking the social contract.

As everyone knows, several states have managed to pass more "one man-one woman" style Constitutional Amendments.

While, personally, the California decision was especially heart-breaking to me - despite living in Michigan - I find it appalling that changing a state constitution is so easy. Not specifically for these sorts of initiatives, but for Any and All initiatives!

I can't think of anything more dangerous to a functioning democracy than to allow the majority to change the legal social contract to suppress a minority at whim. I understand the impetus behind it - frustration with our political class led to these sorts of changes in state laws to allow the People to assume a more direct ownership over their own local governance. I get that. But, it has also allowed out-of-staters-with-their-own-agendas to co-op what was supposed to have been about the citizens of a state influencing policy within that state... not pushing around people in others.

In addition, the pendulum was swung too far. Now the majority (in states that allow ballot initiatives to alter a constitution) can unduly write discrimination into a constitution. And once a law in on the books, it's far harder to remove than it was to place.

At least the people in Connecticut realized the Right's plans and denied them the opportunity this year to convene a Constitutional Convention and start legislating against the gay minority.

So, yes... we've had some more heartbreak in the gay community this election cycle. But hope has not been extinguished and the battle to be treated as 100% equal under the law continues.

We cannot forget the rays of hope amid the gloomy news. The Gen-Y'ers / Next Gen overwhelmingly opposed the message of hate and fear coming from the Mormons in California (from Utah). They weren't enough to keep the ballot from passing, but they'll be more than enough to strip that repugnant amendment back out of the state constitution in the next decade as they supercede their grandfathers and fathers in the corridors of power. And we mustn't forget those who are straight and angry now, either. Every year, we become less and less of the "other" who can be so easily abused and trod upon.

Even those who we used to have to fear... straight, macho, army veterans/heroes... are less and less likely to see us as threatening, sinful, 'sick', and 'perverted'. We're just people... and that image is becoming more pervasive despite the forces of intolerance huddled in their "burn everyone who isn't like us" churches.

And, though we want our full civil rights to live our lives protected by the law as any other citizen of this grand nation, we need to remind ourselves of just how far we've come in such a short period of time. We will get there. We will get there within my lifetime. The election of an African-American shows that the great majority of America is leaving behind the fearful, hateful, small-minded people of the far Right. And with that leaving behind of old fears, our time will come as well... and sooner than we imagined.


Tags: gay, law, news

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