although this proposition has passed, hopefully the arguments in this essay will be useful for future debates.

Protect Our Right To Marriage

        It does not take much to become familiar with Proposition 22. In its entirety, it reads: "Only marriage between a man and woman is valid or recognized in California." Currently, California state law disallows same-sex marriages. However, it still allows same-sex marriages from outside of California to be recognized. Prop 22 ends this recognition. Prop 22 is biased and discriminatory, and only widens the gap between gays and straights (in terms of rights) in America. Gays have rights as citizens of America, a country of social progress. Marriage, sacred or not, should be one of their rights.
        One might say that gays already have the same rights as straights in California. For instance, they can still get hospital visitation rights. Yet it is obvious that if they currently can not be married, they are lacking at least one right. Marriage is a personal issue, and if everyone had a right mind to impose their definition of marriage upon everyone, perhaps only same-race marriages would be allowed. Maybe blacks or non-Christians would not be allowed to marry.
        Some argue that in order to preserve America, Prop 22 is necessary. What distorted image of America is being preserved? America is liberty and justice for all. America is the self-evident truth that all men are created equal with unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. America is the country where social faults are discovered and, with time, eradicated. The only aspect of America preserved with Prop 22 is one of discrimination, reminiscent of the struggle for black freedom still occurring today.
        Perhaps America was founded with a strong Christian backing. Some might contend that this is what Americans should stick to. Yet what else was America founded on? Slavery, and racism. At one point, millions of slaves toiled, living what could barely be called lives. Fear and persecution. Even though people claimed to have come to America to escape religious persecution, they persecuted themselves in atrocities like the Salem witch-trials. America has progressed since then, and Proposition 22 will impede this progress.
        Others say marriage is sacred. Sometimes the issue of Prop 22 is an issue of values. Which is valued more, the sacredness of marriage, or of freedom? How sacred can marriage be, when, according to the 1998 Census, divorce has quadrupled between 1970 and 1996? Prenuptial documents are signed every day, practically acknowledging the future expectation of divorce. Prop 22 does nothing to retain the sacredness of marriage.
        The nature of a democracy is that the majority rules. This does not mean that the majority always makes a just decision. Voters have the potential power to bring about reform and initiate positive progress–something for which America is well known. Gays should not be discriminated against. If America is to preserve anything, it should be its reputation for bringing about unbiased freedom and justice. Proposition 22 does not preserve this reputation. To some, marriage is a corrupt and debased practice. To others, it is holy and sacred. Enforcing a popular idea of what marriage is and should be should not be one of the government's roles. This is a call to arms against a battle of discrimination, inequality and injustice. Proposition 22 does nothing but stand in the way of progress.