We all sort of had high hopes for this grand new day since Obama got elected. But as the results begin to trickle in, we see that it basically was one giant step forward, but two steps back at the same time.
The USA, or rather four states (Arizona, Florida, California, and Arkansas) seemed to fan the flames of intolerance and ran away from more equality overall.
Those four states did their best to ban same-sex marriage, a position I simply can’t wrap my head around. Arkansas, for their part, passed a measure that prohibited unmarried couples from adopting a child. This will especially prevent same-sex couples from ever adopting a child in the state (until the law is repealed). To be fair, this measure does also prevent unmarried opposite-sex couples from adopting as well, which is simply another form of discrimination as there are excellent single parents out there, and quite a few terrible married couples.
California’s Proposition 8 is the most fascinating case study so far. Recently, California went ahead and legalized same-sex marriage. Now, just a few short months later, the voters have completely overturned it.
The ironic thing about this whole thing? It probably wouldn’t have passed if Obama wasn’t so successful at mobilizing black and latino voters. The major news sources seem to agree that blacks and latinos were more likely to vote in favour of Proposition 8. The San Francisco Chronicle reports:
While Obama publicly backed the “No on Prop. 8” effort, African American voters had no trouble voting overwhelmingly for the man who will be the nation’s first black president and then voting 70 percent in favor of Prop. 8, exit polls showed.
It’s tremendous how much of a contradiction exists in society. America is no different than many other places in the world, but I think it’s just remarkable how all of this happened in the same election.
In summary, three states “restricted” marriage to a man and a woman, one banned non-married couples from adopting. Two more states defeated restrictions on abortion rights, and nationally the first black president was elected.
Very much a mixed message. So don’t go celebrating yet, world. There’s a lot of work to do.