From voting booths to courthouses, the battle to legalize same-sex marriage in California has seen far too many arenas. The problem, however, is that when the dust from years of debate has settled, it wasn’t California that stood on top and made headlines. It was New York.
On June 24, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill that would make New York not only the sixth state to legalize same-sex marriages, but also the largest. It’s passage was hailed as historic and a big win for gay rights advocates everywhere. Some even considered the day a powerful statement of equality that would breathe ripples nationwide.
The only problem with that statement, however, is that California hasn’t followed suit.
Ironically, between the two meccas of diverse cultures, the significantly smaller of the two states had the courage to step forward and sign the bill into law. It is also ironic that in the 11 years of heated protest stemming from the original law, Proposition 22, California has yet to prove that it has learned a thing or two about equality.
Granted, the new bill requiring schools to include contributions of the LGBT community in public school history textbooks is definitely a step foward. However, it doesn’t hold a candle to granting gays and lesbians the right to call their relationship a marriage — a privilege only straight couples have.
In fact, to this day, gays and lesbians are still in limbo, clawing for whatever support they can get for another ballot initiative that will finally grant them marriage licenses. Meanwhile, anti-same sex marriage advocates are making efforts to stint their progress, even going so far as accusing the federal judge who declared Proposition 8 unconstitutional of being biased because of his sexual orientation. The fight never ends, and same-sex marriage in California remains a contentious issue.
When will Californians, and maybe the rest of the United States, open their eyes and realize that the legalization of same-sex marriage should not fuel political turmoil? The fact that politicians can not come together on an issue that pertains to equality and granting protection to citizens not only impacts same-sex couples, but fosters an attitude of intolerance for future generations.
As days roll by since New York‘s legalization of same-sex marriage, California steadily becomes an embarrassing sight similar to that of a little boy hinging on whether or not he should do the right thing or follow the crowd. What should have been an easy answer has become a decade of struggle. California should not waste any more time and just give same-sex marriage the green light.
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