The passing of Proposition 8 in California is going largely unnoticed, as the world celebrates the election of Barack Obama. While we celebrate Obama’s historic victory with you, our hearts are indescribably heavy over our own historic defeat.

Kate Kendell and Geoff Kors summed up this troubling event in a joint statement saying, “Never before in California‘s history has a group, who currently enjoys a basic right, been singled out and then had those rights ripped from them by a vote of their fellow citizens.”

Our nation has never before allowed a majority to restrict the basic rights of a minority by a single popular vote. In fact, it is an essential function of the judicial system in this country to protect the rights of minorities as outlined in the constitution—among these rights is equal protection.

This sets a frightening precedent. “If the voters approved an initiative that took the right to free speech away from women, but not from men, everyone would agree that such a measure conflicts with the basic ideals of equality enshrined in our constitution,” says Lambda Legal Senior Counsel Jenny Pizer. “Proposition 8 suffers from the same flaw.”

Ironically, many think that African American voters, who came to the polls in record numbers to support Obama and who voted 70% in support of banning marriage for same sex couples, are responsible for edging Prop 8 supporters to victory. This begs the question, how can a minority group so familiar with targeted discrimination turn around and perpetrate the exact same prejudice against their fellow citizens?

African American voters in California voted with white Mormons and evangelical conservatives and are now the darlings, even, of the National Review. Latino voters split—51% in favor of the measure and 49% opposed. While white Mormons and evangelicals, in large part, put the measure on the ballot and funded the campaign to support it, white voters opposed the measure by a 10-11% margin.

So as the rest of the world rejoices, we turn off the television and head out of town. For the next couple of days, we will try to forget the scorn of our families and neighbors and celebrate the love that led us to get married in the first place.

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