Wednesday, November 5, 2008

We still have a long way to go...

Today I sit and I feel so proud of my country! We got it right this time I think! President Elect Barack Obama wins by a huge margin! We have come a long way in my life time. I have childhood memories of segregation, busing, riots, ugly hatred thrown at other humans because of the color of one's skin. Now I sit and am proud we elect a man to the highest position in the USA based on who he is, his ideas, intelligence, courage and NOT judge based on the color of his skin. I am proud and have a renewed sense of love for my country. But we have a long way to go.

I am at this moment not so proud of my state, or at least more than half of them. Prop 8 the last I heard is winning by a 5% margin. Prop 8 if you don't know, is to constitutionally define marriage as between a man and a woman. It is to take away the right of same sex couples to marry each other, a right that was given to them in June of this year. More than half of the voters in California have voted to take away a liberty that has been granted by our courts. To strip the ability of two loving people to stand and say this is my spouse. I am sad and disappointed. If prop 8 does pass, and it looks like it will, we are taking a step backwards for humanity.

One of the great honors I have had in my job with the State of California was leading the domestic partners project, working with same sex couples who retired before it was possible to register as domestic partners. Legislation was passed that would allow those members to sign an affidavit of domestic partnership, declaring the date their domestic partnership began, a date that they would have met all the criteria to be eligible to register as domestic partners had registration been available, a date always earlier than their actual registration date, a date in most cases long before they retired. Using that earlier date I was able to establish domestic partners as eligible survivors where none otherwise existed. Making partners eligible now for death benefits, and health insurance. Some of the couples I assisted had been together 30 or 40 plus years. The tears of joy, the absolute appreciation and love I felt from them. I was honored to help them legally establish their unions, to put in print that they were a couple committed to each other all those years. Many of the who early in their relationships were forced to hide in shadows because of discrimination against them. I can only imagine how that validation help to improved their states of mind and self being. I spoke to many of these couples in the last few months again, they were getting married and had questions on what to do. The excitement and joy they were experiencing was beautiful. Now, if prop 8 passes, well, I am disappointed in all who voted yes on 8. I am sad you have not come further in your ability to accept others, to take joy in diversity and learn from each other. In fact really I am sick about it, but I have hope.

To those of you who voted against prop 8, be well. To the rest of you, please be better. Tj.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

you're amazing, I love you.