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Same-sex union ban a shame on U.S.

Frustration has been rainbow-coloured since the California SupremeCourt ruled on Prop 8, upholding the ban of same-sex marriage in theGolden State.

Frustration has been rainbow-coloured since the California Supreme Court ruled on Prop 8, upholding the ban of same-sex marriage in the Golden State.

The announcement, made last Tuesday, means the roughly 18,000 couples who married in the short window they were legally able — from mid-June to early November 2008 — will not be affected. Other same-sex couples who want to swap rings from here on out, however, are SOL.

It’s a little disheartening that in an era of change and renewed optimism such prejudice is still legally enforced, no?

Here in Canada, same-sex marriage was legalized province-by-province since 2003, until it was recognized nationwide two years later. It is currently legal in six other countries and is expected to be legal in six U.S. states by the end of the year.

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, cyborg assassin from the future and a longtime Republican who upheld the court’s decision, conceded that one day “either the people or courts will recognize gay marriage.” Even former U.S. vice-president Dick Cheney, another killer automaton, voiced his support.

“I think that freedom means freedom for everyone,” Cheney said at the National Press Club earlier this week, echoing statements he made in 2004. “I think people ought to be free to enter into any kind of union they wish, any kind of arrangement they wish.”

Some opponents say it hinders procreation and tarnishes the sanctity of marriage, but people in “traditional” marriages aren’t required to have kids and us straight folks have been ruining the sanctity of marriage for as long as marriages have existed.

Some states offer domestic partnerships and civil unions — a major step in the right direction — but stopping there is akin to the “separate but equal” doctrine under the Jim Crow laws of the late 1800s and early 1900s that had blacks drinking from separate water fountains than whites.

Slavery was legal in the U.S. just 150 years ago, some women couldn’t vote just 100 years ago and the reality of a black president seemed far away just two years ago. It is my belief that we will one day look back on the banning of same-sex marriage — perhaps the last legally-enforced prejudice in North America — with the same humility and quiet shame.

 
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