Monday, November 10, 2008
Hope & Change: It's a Good Thing
Last Tuesday night, when I first heard the words 'President-elect Barack Obama', I was elated. And the knowledge that Ohio played a key role in this history-making event brought an even bigger smile to my face.
But my elation was short lived. Wednesday morning, while checking out the various ballot measures that passed and failed, I was saddened to see that all of the anti-gay-marriage measures across the country passed. Even the one in California! If anywhere there was hope for equality in marriage, California was it. And Arkansas went one worse and made it illegal for non-married couples to adopt children or become foster parents. The proponents of this measure made it well known that they were targeting gay couples. So growing up with gay parents is worse than living in an orphanage?!? Or do they all think, as Newt Gingrich did, that orphanages should be like Bing Crosby movies?
There were some positive notes in the ballot measures too. Every single attack on women's reproductive rights were knocked down. This was no small feat. Especially chilling was the measure that would have defined life as the moment of conception, which would have made some forms of birth control illegal.
But the gay marriage thing really had me down. I have yet to hear a valid argument against it that does not invoke religion. And since ours is supposed to be a secular nation, it seems like a no brainer to me. I found myself wondering what kind of world we live in where we insist on having second-class citizenry.
Then I realized that I was cheating myself. This is a time to rejoice. The Bush administration, with any justice, will go down as the worst administration in American history. We have lived up to our ideals and elected a black man as president. Better yet, we elected and intelligent, thoughtful man who genuinely wants the job of turning this nation around. These next few years will be an exciting time. He has a lot to do, and it won't be easy by a long shot, but he's certainly the best man for the job.
We obviously have a ways to go before the idea of gay marriage will be accepted. I eagerly watched all of the debates, and was dismayed only once: when Joe Biden insisted that he and Obama will not fight for gay marriage.
I think the biggest issue standing in the way is that people don't think it's a civil rights issue. But this will change with time. Looking back at the battles for racial and sexual equality (battles that still are not over), it should be noted that things got worse before they got better. Maybe that's what's happening now. People are seeing their long-held beliefs being challenged and are fighting it the only way they know how. But it will happen. With enough effort on our part, people will begin to see things as they should be.
In the meantime, I'm going to allow myself to be happy for the hope that President-elect Obama has brought to us.
Edit: I forgot to include this link to Just Out describing a step forward this election cycle for the GLBT community.