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A California Embarrassment

La Opinin, Editorial, Staff Posted: Nov 06, 2008

The election in California had two faces. One is pride that a large majority voted for the man who would be the first African-American president of the United States. The second is the embarrassment of changing the Constitution to impose restrictions on the rights of a minority in California.

The approval of Proposition 8, which arbitrarily limits the definition of marriage to a particular set of restrictive, exclusionary and religious values, is a dark mark on the democracy of our state.

California voters granted rights to chickens, pigs and calves in this election. And, they approved infrastructure investment. But, the majority of voters turned their backs on the defense of civil rights of individuals.

We have always defended the people's vote in a democracy but when the intention is to attack the rights of a minority, it turns into a tyranny of the majority. Over the course of our nation's history, there have been many dark pages during which the majority approved racism, segregation and discrimination. The courts were the ultimate defense. In California, not even this last recourse could stop fundamentalism.

Fear and intolerance were the winners with this initiative. It was falsely asserted that marriage and children were in danger. If the traditional nuclear family is such a fragile institution, it is not because of homosexuals nor are they responsible for the values that parents impart, or fail to impart, to their children.

Religious-moral values are due respect but there is not a one size fits all in state as diverse as California. It is a tragedy when values based on intolerance and exclusion pretend to be universal.

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