If you’ve read my blog before or personally know me, I think it’s pretty clear who I supported in the presidential election. For those of you reading this who might be on the other side, let me just say, I respect your choice and understand how you might be feeling right now. I’d probably feel the same if my candidate had lost. Going forward, my hope is that we will ALL come together with a renewed, cohesive spirit to make America the best it can possibly be. The next few years, or perhaps even longer, are going to be very difficult to overcome given the current state of affairs, both nationally and internationally. As President-Elect Obama said, “The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep.” We have a lot of work to do, America, and it’s not going to be accomplished overnight, but, our faith in our newly elected leader and in ourselves must never diminish. I have absolute confidence that Obama will work hard and try to do the right thing. We must be patient, diligent and most of all, strive to be our best possible selves. In return we will make our country great, again.
More than 136 million people turned out to vote Tuesday, the most ever to vote in a presidential election. Whether you are cheering or commiserating about the presidential outcome, America should be proud. Look at how many voted and how far we’ve come. As Martin Luther King, Jr. had onced hoped for, Obama was judged by the content of his character and not by the color of his skin. America has broken down the racial barriers. Not only have we elected the first President of African roots, but we have become a nation driven by hope and determination. We want to move forward and we proved last night we are ready. I am honored I could participate in this historic election and take our country in a new direction. I am proud that one day I will be able to tell my children about this historic day, that I was there to witness and make history. The world was watching and is celebrating this victory for our country. I am excited for our nation, for our future. I admit it, I get a little misty eyed just thinking about what has transpired within the last 24 hours. I am completely overjoyed.
However, my happiness about the national election has been dampened by the passing of California’s Proposition 8. Despite our nation’s ability to make historic racial progress, my state has voted to blatantly discriminate based on sexual orientation. For the first time in history, California has voted to take away an existing right, banning same-sex marriages. I, for one, am deeply saddened and sickened about the passing of Prop 8. Despite California’s liberal, progressive ideals, we can’t agree that equal rights, for all, is essential. Prop 8 was not just about same-sex marriage. It was about love, respect and most of all, equality- a basic civil right that should not have been taken away. The right of marriage should be fundamental to any two consenting adults who love each other and want to commit their lives to each other. It does not take anything away from a straight married couple so why deprive same-sex couples of a basic right.
The financial and supportive backing of ‘Yes on 8’ was huge. It’s no secret that the Mormons gave over $20 million dollars to the campaign. Many churches jumped in on the ‘Yes’ bandwagon and pushed their heterosexual definition of marriage on the rest of society. But, rather than blame certain groups, the bigger issue is the need for separation of church and state. This legal and political principle was one of the building blocks of our nation and over several years, the line has been blurred and crossed several times over again. Pastors, Priests, and various church leaders telling their congregation how to vote is a clear violation of Church and State. I’m sorry, but the church has no right to make up people’s minds and when this happens, it breaks down our political system and our society.
The bottom line is that every person should be allowed to marry. It is absolutely fundamentally wrong to discriminate based on sexual preference, yet, California has voted discrimination in to its constitution. I’m hopeful that over time, same-sex marriages will be a protected and legal right. I believe this is possible, that as the state gets younger, marriage equality for all will be achieved. It’s just so disheartening and devastating that hate and bigotry have prevailed, today.