Observations from the Edge

The election of Sen. Barack Obama is a milestone in American history, and by no means do I want to detract from this momentous occasion. That a biracial man ascended to the pinnacle of American politics is indeed epic. That it happened in my lifetime, completely unexpected.
Environmentally speaking, an Obama administration is highly preferable to what John McCain and Sarah Palin would have inflicted on global ecosystems. Barack Obama opposes offshore drilling, as well as drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Obama supports a Federal Renewable Electricity Standard, energy efficiency, alternative fuels research, and updating and improving the Endangered Species Act.
A pragmatist, my sense of triumph was overshadowed by the passage of Proposition 8. Homophobia and anti-gay bias were officially sanctioned by the voters of California.
The irony of one barrier to equality coming down as another was rebuilt is hardly mistakable. The world changed on Nov. 4, and the American dream got bigger at the same time the California dream shriveled under the glare of religion-based intolerance and discrimination. Once the leader in social progress, California has a taken a regressive step backward.
And then there is the irony of Proposition 2, an animal rights initiative, passing while a significant population of Californians were denied equal rights and marked as second-class citizens in the eyes of government. If this was not so ominous it would be comical.
At first review, it is clear Proposition 8 is unconstitutional. Not only does it not comply with the California constitution, but it goes against
the intent and goals of the United States Constitution as well.
Of course Proposition 8 will be appealed all the way to the Supreme Court, as it should be. Reviewing the preamble of the Constitution, I could not find the words “except homosexuals.” The preamble states clearly; “We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, promote the general welfare, and secure the Blessing of Liberty to ourselves and our prosperity … ”
The Declaration of Rights of California’s constitution states in Article 1, section 4, “Free exercise and enjoyment of religion without discrimination or preference are guaranteed. This liberty of conscience does not excuse acts that are licentious or inconsistent with the peace or safety of the State. The Legislature shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”
Civil rights are no longer a black and white issue. Thanks to the regressive instincts of the religious wrong, the civil rights movement has just taken on a distinct shade of lavender.
It’s clear Proposition 8 was religiously motivated. The Mormon church bankrolling the Yes on 8 campaign will make it easy to challenge in court. The separation of church and state must be upheld if we the people are to avoid the slippery slope of government sanctioned discrimination.
I wonder what would happen if every gay and lesbian Californian decided to stop paying state taxes? How much would that impact California’s faltering economy? What do you think the impact of work stoppages and other forms of civil disobedience would have on California’s ability to do business?
I wonder where President-elect Obama stands on this issue?