Southwestern College may be America’s most diverse college, teaming with variety that conjures the stars in the sky. SWC embraces everyone, but California voters, when they had a chance, did not. Proposition 8 basically said “come back when you are not gay.”
Proposition 8, passed in 2008, is easily one of the most controversial voter initiatives ever. It banned gay marriage and ended the “Gay Spring” ushered in by the city of San Francisco. It was divisive, mean-spirited and confusing (post-election research showed that about seven percent of people who voted for Proposition 8 thought they were voting to support gay marriage, not ban it).
Gov. Brown has refused to enforce the ban and in March the U.S. Supreme Court heard testimony and is expected to hand down a ruling later this year.
Students and young Americans are at the vanguard of the Gay Rights Movement. The younger generation is pushing to end injustice and legalize same-sex marriage. A March report from the Pew Research Center said 70 percent of people born after 1980 endorse the legalization of same-sex marriage. SWC’s Latino Catholic majority was a little slow to climb aboard, but now the student body of this campus is holding down the southwest corner of the country in the Gay Rights Crusade. SWC’s Gay-Straight Alliance hold rallies to show support and solidarity for the LGBT community. SWC students staged a production of “The Laramie Project,” a play that depicts the impact of the torture and murder of the gay University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard. Students are speaking out in support of their gay brothers and sisters. When a knucklehead vandalized a GSA poster with anti-gay hate speech, more than 100 students (and nearly the entire staff of The Sun) attended a rally in support of the GSA and gay SWC students.
Academic Senate President Randy Beach who is in a domestic partnership, said he feels attacked by Proposition 8. Beach said he was unsure what the Supreme Court ruling on Prop. 8 would look like but hoped for clarity.
Beach said he is optimistic about America’s turnabout on same-sex marriage.
“Eventually we are going to see a much broader acceptance that gay marriages can provide the same fabric for society that traditional heterosexual marriage has provided,” he said.
What happens now is in the hands of the Supreme Court. It could be an epic ruling or a narrow one.
Proponents of heterosexual-only marriage need to own up to the fact that man-woman matrimony is in shaggy shape. More than half of American marriages end in divorce. Public figures are getting caught cheating on their spouses so often we take it for granted. Allowing same-sex marriage can only make things better.
Domestic partnerships between gay couples are just like “traditional” marriages. Domestic partners speak the same way, eat the same way and even fight the same as people in a “traditional” marriage – the only difference is that the love same-sex couples have for one another is not recognized by 39 states.
Our conservative Supreme court needs to do what conservative Supreme Courts have done in the past when there is no holding back a social movement. Justices need to shed old prejudices and do what is right for our nation. It is time to legalize domestic partnerships. It is time to allow gay marriage.