There was so much great news on election night and it just kept coming as it looks like we've kicked out our Republican senator here in Oregon. I loved all the teary-eyed and hopeful faces watching Obama's acceptance speech and the great photos of people celebrating around the world. There's a lot of optimism and excitement that things are going to change for the better.
It's a fine thing that we have our first biracial president and that Americans have for the most part sent the Republicans packing. But how is it that in 2008 there are still places in this country where we are voting to deny our fellow citizens their civil rights?
I'll confess I didn't expect much from Arkansas. I guess they really care about their kids in a place where they vote to reduce the number of qualified people who can adopt children. Because, you know, it's better to kick around with heterosexual foster parents than to have a stable home with gay parents, right?
But what is it with the anti-gay marriage proposals? Arizona, Florida, and California all voted to deny same sex couples the same legal rights that straight families enjoy. Many of these voters were the very same voters who gleefully made the historic vote for Obama and that's the thing that's so hard for me to wrap my mind around.
Apparently Californians voted their religion rather than their party on this one. And I can't help but wonder....what if Mormons were forbidden from marrying? What if Baptists couldn't adopt? What if Catholics couldn't be legal guardians? Discrimination is discrimination, even if it doesn't touch you personally. There are still votes to be counted and maybe 8 will be defeated by a small fraction but what breaks my heart is that so many voted yes.
November 4 was a great, historic day--no doubt about it. But for millions of American citizens it was also a tragic day. Let's keep that in mind as we look at the hard work ahead of us. If we believe in equality then that means everyone. If we believe in progress, opportunity, and security, then those too must for everyone.