Wednesday, November 05, 2008

US Election - An Imperfect Night

I'm pleased that Barack Obama defeated John McCain and put Sarah Palin safely out of the line of succession. I'm pleased that there is a Democratic Congress and that Joe Lieberman can be shown the door thanks to a healthy margin in the Senate. I think that history was made last night when Americans voted for an African-American man for president. But amidst all this celebration, let's not forget that four states, including two that gave their electoral college votes to Obama, decided to express their viceral prejudice by attacking gay men and lesbians. Last night, Arkansas voters opted to ban gay couples from adopting children. Florida and Arizona voters decided to expressly amend their constitutions to ban gay marriage. But worst of all, Californians voted (by a margin of 52-48) to undo the marriages of thousands of gay and lesbians in the state who had got married in the last several months, after the state supreme court decided that excluding them from the institution of marriage was discrimination, pure and simple. I have friends who yesterday were considered married under California law - their marriage is no longer recognized by the state thanks to Proposition 8.

Civil rights are still an issue in the United States. While last night was a major victory, these results show that it is still considered acceptable by many to write prejudice into the constitution. Can Americans change this? I hope they can.

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