Time to breathe a sigh of relief. The election is over, Barack Obama won. It feels like we’ve won something else, too. As I tiredly and anxiously awaited the tallies last night, breath held, I couldn’t bring myself to check up on the other incredibly important issue that we voted on here in the state of Florida. As the results came in, I had for myself an untainted moment of joy in Obama’s victory, then dropped into my bed (after a piña colada) like a bird over a smokestack.
This morning I awoke with dread and hope gnawing in my stomach. I checked the results for for Florida’s Amendment 2. California had something similar in their Prop 8, and while Prop 8 made national headlines, Florida’s 2 seemed to cause barely a ripple. It’s a fishy amendment, which shouldn’t be legal, as ballot initiatives in this state must only do one thing. Amendment 2 does two things– it defines marriage as something that occurs only between a man and a woman and it illegalizes any contractual or other agreement that simulates marriage. Ouch.
In Florida, for a ballot initiative to amend the state constitution, it must garner 60% of the vote or more. CNN tells me this morning that it tidily swept up with a clean 62%.
The opponents of Prop 8 modified a commercial that I viewed some weeks ago, substituting “interracial” marriage for “gay” marriage. The results are show just how bigoted the measure really is:
I am troubled and disheartened. I had really hoped that my state would pull through for me, that the people of it would see just how cruel and prejudiced this measure was. I had hoped that bar of 60% would be just too high, that there would be enough people who could recognize that a “family” meant more than man/woman/child, that it meant love, interconnection, and that love these days is often hard-won. Why not nourish it were it grows? Instead, my state, my fellow citizens have chosen to deny individuals rights based on, based on, based on… based on what really? The fact that one’s partner doesn’t have the appropriate plumbing? How is that any different than denying couples the right to marry based on so-called “racial” traits? The anti-Prop 8 folks got that one right.
For now though, we can kiss goodbye notions of personhood for gay, lesbian, and bisexual folk. Because the right to marry is tied up in that. We can also kiss goodbye rights for unmarried couples of any orientation– because no contract devised, no agreement entered is allowed to simulate marriage. This may be the end of domestic partner benefits in the state of Florida, depending on how strictly this amendment is interpretted– domestic partner benefits which helped out any unmarried couple, regardless of orientation.
In one breath victory, in the next, crushing defeat. I think I’m going soothe my pain by retreating into Bethesda’s latest work of interactive fiction. Call me when I can come out of my vault; the only reality I can deal with right now is Fallout 3’s.