Capewell: Prop 8 represents one giant leap backward

Slightly over half the population celebrated the election of Barack Obama as the next president of the United States; people in Geneseo and beyond cheered from their living rooms and on the streets, exuberant with the tangible possibility of change that Obama's campaign propelled forth.

Despite the joy of left-leaning voters everywhere last Tuesday, a gray cloud hung over the celebration: On the same day, voters in California passed Proposition 8, an amendment to the state constitution that would define marriage as solely that between a man and a woman. Similar measures were also passed in Arizona and Florida.

Obama's win shows that in some respect, voters are willing to deviate from outdated norms in an effort to correct injustices or disappointments we have experienced over the last four years. The passage of Proposition 8, however, tells the world that we're not quite ready to embrace this "change" concept wholesale - namely, the right to marriage and the enjoyment of its benefits, regardless of which genders are present at the altar.

By forbidding same-sex couples to marry, we are cutting off rights that, under the law, every couple should deserve regardless of sexual orientation. A portion of those against gay marriage contest that domestic partnerships, arrangements legally similar to tried-and-true marriage that lack the official title, are a viable replacement for traditional unions reserved for heterosexuals. Looking back at our nation's history, however, when have separate but equal measures ever worked or been acceptable to all parties involved?

Despite Proposition 8's passage in California, hope - yes, another buzzword favored by the Obama campaign - lies on the horizon. As this article is being written, countless activists, news columnists, and the average person who ticked "No" on Proposition 8 last Tuesday have already lamented over this particular victory for intolerance. Even California's own governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has rejected legislation supporting same-sex marriage in the past, currently hopes to see Proposition 8 overturned by the state Supreme Court.

Though celebrators of Obama's win for the 44th presidency should commend our country's voters for choosing a candidate focused on righting America's mishaps and foreseeing a different future for the nation, Proposition 8's passage is a glaring reminder that we are not entirely ready to accept true change.

Jill Capewell is a senior English major who's not gay, but will defend to the death your right to be so.