I try not to be overtly political, but I personally believe that America has made the right choice today in electing Barack Obama. I was rediculously tired tonight. I wanted nothing more than to go to bed at 9 PM. But I decided that I had to stay up to witness this historic event. Of course, there I was, waiting to hear how Florida's votes would go, and Obama won without them, as soon as Cali, Washington, and Oregon reported. Obama won by a landslide - I couldn't be more relieved. With this election, the US has taken one more step towards true equality and freedom.
However, my joy is tainted by the backwards nature of the state of Florida. Somehow, though the electoral votes went to Obama, the state passed Amendment 2, which adds this phrase to the state constitution:
âInasmuch as marriage is the legal union of only one man and one woman as husband and wife, no other legal union that is treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent thereof shall be valid or recognized.â
This amendment is mean-spirited and unnecessary, as Florida already has made gay marriage illegal (Florida statues 741.212 (1), 741.212 (2), 741.212 (3) and 741.04 already define marriage as the union of a man and a woman or oherwise prohibit the creationor recognition of 'same-sex marriages'). But apparently, that isn't enough - Floridians had to enshrine bigotry and bias in the state constitution as well. Of course, this provision will cause undue problems for more than just gay couples in Florida. By banning any legal union that is the "substantial equivalent" of marriage, Amendment 2 also bans domestic partnerships for non-gays, jeopardizing the rights unmarried heterosexual couples like hospital visitation, burial rights and health care benefits.
I find it hard not to walk away feeling a bit disappointed. Yes, the presidential election inspires hope for our future as a nation. But even a state which supports Obama as president sponsors prejudice with the same votes. And from what I hear, similar measures are passing in Arizona and California (one of the two states where gay marriage was legal). While I want to be elated by the presidential election, I just feel so disheartened. We've come so far, but it seems we still have so far to go...
"Almost all of us long for peace and freedom; but very few of us have much enthusiasm for the thoughts, feelings, and actions that make for peace and freedom."