Wednesday, 5 November 2008

One Step Forwards - One Step Back?

It is rare for me to comment on politics, however today I will make an exception:

1. America has voted for change. It is my observation that when we have had a change of political party in the UK (regardless of the direction of the power switch, interestingly), it has bought with it a new energy to the leadership of the country and sometimes, a refreshing change in key policies.

Mind you, it is a challenging time for the US, so the Democrats do not have an easy term ahead of them. It will be very interesting to see what they make of their term in office, how well they are able to deliver on their election promises and what impact that has, both at home and abroad - on us, the rest of the world.

2. The State of California was split on this item but it seems that overall, they have voted Yes to Proposition 8. If you are not familiar with Proposition 8, you can read more about it here on Wikipedia. I feel very disappointed that a state, within a country that I expect to lead the way on equal rights for its citizens, has decided to slap the faces of same sex couples in this way.

I know many couples in very good, loving, supportive, strong, stable, enduring and committed relationships - some of these couples are heterosexual and others are not. To me, it is the people that I know and the good quality of their relationships that stand out, not their sexual orientation.

In my personal view, a couple's decision to marry, should be governed by whether they wish to formalise their partnership and make a lifelong commitment to each other (both legally and spiritually). I do not feel that it should be constrained by the fact that they are not entitled to marry because they are a same sex couple.

This ballot outcome feels like a peculiar step back, in a wider atmosphere of a country taking a different step forwards.


Robynn said...

It's not just California either, I believe there were a few other states that all took the same decision.

It is disappointing, to say the least, but I'm trying to take the positive view: this issue is too important to be decided in this sort of patchwork, state-by-state way. Having unions made in California not recognised next door in Oregon, for example, was not a sensible system. It needs to be written into the constitution. And Obama, with a strongly Democrate Congress behind him, might just be able to make this happen. I don't expect it to be top of his agenda, but the country seems ready for a shift in consciousness, and I am hopeful that at some point in the next few years, we might see a positive change.

Kelli said...

What you said. (nods head)

Kim Colley said...

I wasn't surprised at the success of anti-gay legislation in any of the other states, but California did surprise me. It's unfortunate, in my opinion, that a legal union that means so little to the heterosexuals that enter into it should have become the rallying point for gay rights. It all just feels like a lose/lose proposition. Perhaps it would work better if communities passed legislation recognizing civil partnerships for both hetero- and homosexual couples. Without the flashpoint word "marriage" attached to the concept, the gay rights movement could get the legal status recognition it desires. It has the added advantage of a more sensible dissolution process than marriages do, which should appeal to all sexual orientations.