Long Road Ahead for Proposition 8

On Feb. 8, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the 2010 ruling from the lower court that Proposition 8, the voter-approved ban on gay marriage in California, is unconstitutional.  This recent ruling has many gay rights activists rightfully claiming victory. And while this crucial ruling is a necessary step in ensuring equality and freedom from discrimination, we still have a long way to go before the battle over Proposition 8 is over.

One would imagine that in California, one of the most famously liberal state in the union, it would be fairly easy to defeat a bill that deliberately strikes at civil rights and equality. San Francisco, in particular, is internationally known as a liberal haven for gays because of its longtime support of gay rights and gay marriage.

However, there remains a fairly large socially conservative portion of the California constituency. Orange County is among the most conservative areas in the country. The conservative demographic in California had been overshadowed by its liberal residents and largely forgotten until it found its number one cause in the famous (or rather infamous) Proposition 8. And now it seems they won’t stop until they’ve reached the Supreme Court.

Those on the right claim that Prop 8 protects the already faltering American family and the sanctity of marriage. Whether or not gay marriage would destroy these institutions is unlikely to say the least. However, their murky premise hasn’t slowed conservatives on their narrow-minded crusade against equality.

Although sensationalism and vitriol have surrounded Prop 8 from the beginning, it is a black and white human rights issue. Certain religious morality might vocally disagree with gay marriage, but basic American morality, the shared ethics our forefathers based our country upon, trumps religious dogma.

The Constitution, the codified presentation of this American sense of morality, attempts to prevent everything that Prop 8 stands for. Proposition 8 in essence uses a religious stance to inhibit the rights of citizens. In other words, it’s the Founding Fathers’ worst nightmare.

The forefathers, nearly all of whom were either deists or atheists, specifically wanted to avoid religion interfering in the affairs of state. Hence, the separation of church and state. But more importantly, the very basis of our country, what makes us special, is our steadfast support of the natural born rights of all humans. The forefathers’ primary goal in writing the Constitution was to protect the individual liberties of all citizens. We are a country that believes in equality and justice, both of which Prop 8 blatantly impedes.

The Constitution might allow the proponents of Prop 8 to be prejudiced against gays, but the beauty of the Constitution is that it serves to ensure that the government is never prejudiced.

And regardless of whether you personally support gay marriage, Proposition 8 is in direct violation of that American principle. Proposition 8 is an inherently discriminatory measure, and even worse, it serves virtually no legal purpose. It makes no major changes to existing law, and is largely symbolic. Prop 8 proponents may aim to legally designate the term marriage as between exclusively a man and a woman, but Prop 8’s only lasting effect is to publicly and legally victimize a group of law-abiding citizens.

After four years of debating Proposition 8, it’s time to recognize what our country and our conscience has known all along. The government has no place inserting itself into the affairs of citizens in a degrading and discriminatory manner.

For the conservatives that claim to tout libertarian principles, this shouldn’t be a hard concept to grasp.

Those who believe in equality must not rest on their laurels after the recent Ninth Court ruling. The Supreme Court undoubtedly lies ahead for Proposition 8, and this isn’t a battle that our country can afford to lose.