Author: Melissa M.
On November 4, 2008, the State of California passed Proposition 8, which “Eliminates right of same-sex couples to marry. Initiative Constitutional Amendment. Changes the California Constitution to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry in California. Provides that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.”. This Proposition changed a previous decision by the State Supreme Court which had allowed same-sex marriage, and “elections returns showed that the same-sex marriage ban initiative known as Proposition 8 won 52 percent of the vote”.
The question becomes whether this is a violation of the Equal Protection Clause under the Fourteenth Amendment. The Equal Protection Clause states, “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States;… nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” The Courts are going to have to determine whether they believe denying a certain group, in this case homosexual couples, the same right of marriage afforded to any heterosexual couple is a violation of equal protection under the law. As Dan Savage stated, “… it is a responsibility of all of us not to be homophobic”.
Is this the kind of question our government should be solving, or should the government not be getting involved in the personal lives of the citizens of the United States. Would you want the government telling you who you were and were not allowed to marry based upon their own criteria? What if the criteria were that any person with brown hair was not allowed to marry, would this not be a violation of one’s Constitutional Rights?
Proposition 8 effects many lives and is a considerable struggle for the Gay Rights Activists. Dan Savage had stated, “…ours is a civil rights movement, lower case C-R-M. It is a struggle. You get fired because you’re gay, you get fired because you’re black, you’re still out of a job. If your house gets burned down because you’re gay, burned down because you’re black, you’re still out of a house and maybe dead. Hate is hate. I’m not equating the experience with the history at all. But we are making a civil rights demand.” Is it right for our country to discriminate against a certain group because they are not the normative majority? The passing of Proposition 8 is a violation of the Equal Protection Clause, and needs to be treated as such.