In November, ballot amendments in Florida and California will place human rights and human dignity on the auction block of the voting ballot. The citizens of those States will be posed a question- is the value of your neighbor inherently as valuable as your own? Does your neighbor have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? Or will you treat your neighbor separate and unequal?
Florida and California's so-called "marriage protection" amendments would write into the respective state constitutions that the only "valid" relationships shall be that of one man and one women as husband and wife and that "no other legal union that is treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent thereof shall be valid or recognized". In the case of the State of Michigan, where voters passed this same amendment, it cost them their domestic partnership benefits.
In midst of a war that has bankrupted the American treasury, Americans have to decide whether or not to pay medical bills or become delinquent with their mortgages (because we have not made sure every American has health insurance). Americans are being double-dipped economically as we have paid the increasing prices at the gas pump while simultaneously paying the increased merchant cost (for our groceries, utilities and other goods) that have been "passed along" to us as a result of higher gas prices.
It would seem logical to anyone paying attention that posing these questions in these amendments is a diversionary tactic. As we stand on the eve of the fullest manifestation of Dr. King's Dream, as the Country stands poised to elect its first African-American President in Barack Obama, we have to remind ourselves not to fall short of the dream.
It seems to me that the sponsors of Florida and California's so called marriage protection amendments perceive the dream of human dignity as their own personal nightmare. But for the rest of us our mission, should we chose to accept it, is to not run sacred with them and not to get caught up in their collective fear.
They are fighting fear with fear. In their fear that a progressive African-American could be the next Commander-In-Chief, they have erected a divisive smoke screen hoping to strike a familiar cord of one of the last common held prejudices- homophobia. Their fear has them so illogical (as fear often does) that they do not realize the extent the friendly fire will have as it backfires on them when their parents as seniors (who if receiving government benefits cannot remarry without a reduction in benefits) and their businesses experience the financial fallout.
The next President of the United States of America, Barack Obama, has not stopped short of the dream on this issue. He has come out opposing Amendment 2 in Florida and by doing so has demonstrated what our collective response to those who are to sacred to walk into the promised land of Dr. Kings dream should be- that in a sinking boat no one can look to the person at the other end of the boat and declare that "your end of the boat is sinking".
We have to understand that in America we are in a sinking boat and the only way to save it is to save the people- and the only way to save the people is to value all its citizens. When we value all its citizens, we will hold the truths of Dr. Kings dream to be self evident that all people are created equal and any legislation that pits American against American has no place on a ballot, for we are all woven in an inescapable pattern of mutuality.
Don't Stop Short of The Dream!