On Tuesday evening, a federal appeals court in California declared that Proposition 8, which outlawed same-sex marriage, was unconstitutional. The court ruled that the ballot measure violated the 14th Amendment by discriminating against a set group of people, the gay and lesbian community.I wouldn’t be surprised if this case is eventually presented to the United States Supreme Court, as the issue of homosexuality is one that tears apart churches, homes, relationships and unsatisfactory marriages. In the end, I don’t see this latest decision on Proposition 8 being overturned by the Supreme Court, for a variety of reasons.
Homosexuality is one of those controversial issues in which the right clings to tradition and the left pushes for change. Eventually the conservatives will come around. That’s how culture change happens here in the land of the free.
Historically, this is how I generally understand the move from intolerance to tolerance in America: Everyone hates a minority to begin with. After a period of time, the rest of us begin to cast out a prejudice that the right clings to. The right then changes their mind, using cunning rationalizations to forget that they ever held such prejudice at all. They then pick a new niche to bully, and the cycle repeats itself.
This strategy has been employed by conservatives to “solve” problems such as slavery, women’s suffrage, Martin Luther King Jr. and all manner of intolerance. As a nation, we’ve made great strides in the past few years, from electing a black president to the recent decision in California.
I find it hard to believe that the same thing won’t happen with homosexuality. In 100 years or so, kids will be asking history teachers why same-sex relationships weren’t given the same rights as “traditional” relationships.
Will we be prepared to answer those questions? I doubt it. I’m fairly confident in my inability to accurately describe the historical complexity behind racism in America. Will our ancestors experience the same thing regarding the minority groups of today?
I understand that the issue of homosexuality is a polarizing one, with people all over the spectrum. All I hope for is understanding; both towards our GLBTQ friends and of the probable future state of tolerance in America.