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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Overturning of Prop. 8 a small step on long road to equality

California experienced a breath of sanity on Aug. 4 when Proposition 8, passed in Nov. 2008, was deemed unconstitutional by U.S. District Chief Judge Vaughn R. Walker, who said  it violated the federal rights of gays and lesbians to marry a partner of the same sex. Being a resident in the “”home of the free”” would naturally suggest basic freedoms, such as being able to choose where one lives, works and with whom they share a bed. But alas, in our free land we have made an exception and have the audacity to break into people’s homes and head straight for the bedroom.

 

It is unclear to me if those in support of Proposition 8 are personally threatened, afraid of change or uninformed. Whatever the reason, the reality is that defending the so-called ‘sanctity of marriage’  is no longer the worthy battle it might have once been, and a shift in societal norms may be exactly what America needs.

 

The U.S., home to a growing abundance of broken homes, currently stands as the country with the highest divorce rate worldwide. This tragic outcome of the ‘american dream’ shows that the government is not qualified to ban same-sex marriages when traditional marriages hold such a low success rate. Roughly 41 percent of first marriages in the U.S. will result in divorce, while second marriages hold an even gloomier 60 percent chance of ending in divorce. This reality is enough to bring a grimace to the face America.

 

Along with the declining success rate of ‘proper marriages, the “”rights of a minority should not be decided by the majority,”” said Kira Johnson, co-director for the UA Pride Alliance. “”I don’t want to have to depend on someone who’s married and straight to decide who I can and cannot marry.””

 

Jai Smith, co-director of Pride Alliance, said he agrees with Johnson and pointed out that “”it’s difficult to fight against … and it’s hard to express to individuals who have not walked in my shoes. I understand where individuals that do not identify as an LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) are coming from … they don’t have to constantly defend their sexuality.””

 

And yet there is hope. Despite the existing discrimination and lack of upholding constitutional rights, the UA has proven to be a campus where students “”have a chance to have (their) needs and concerns voiced,”” Smith, who named the university as one of the “”most inclusive in the state,”” said.  

 

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer passed a bill abolishing domestic partner benefits for state employees in September of 2009. In response, the UA declared that it would restore benefits for workers affected by the bill. In further efforts to accommodate all students, gender-neutral restrooms, also known as ‘family restrooms,’ are dispersed around campus. Smith said Pride Alliance plans on creating gender-neutral dorms in the future as well, and although “”there is still plenty of work to do, we actually see progress in diversifying the campus.””

 

While state and national governments have been sluggish and frugal in their efforts to grant all couples equal marriage rights, the small progress, although coming from the more liberal California, is still promising.

The overturning of Proposition 8 was a step in the right direction in terms of governments reevaluating their decisions and bringing the issue of equality for all couples to the forefront.

— Alexandra Bortnik is a creative writing senior. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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