The Voting Rights Act, DOMA, and Prop 8

The first page of the Voting Rights Act.
The first page of the Voting Rights Act. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last week was quite a week for civil rights. It was a mixed bag of happiness and disappointment for progressives. A powerful blow was done to the Voting Rights Act which will now allow Republicans to make it harder for minorities to vote passing laws like voter ID and redistricting. Yet, gay rights got a big boost this week. The court seemed to be careful in its decisions, trying limit the controversy’s, but the ruling is a step in the right direction. I feel that there is valid concern about minority voting rights now that the Voting Rights Act has been partially invalidated. I’m skeptical that the Tea Party will allow the voting rights act to be passed in the House.

Now that gay rights in California have been restored, gay marries can continue in my state. I think this is a wonderful result and I am proud of my state and of my country. The end to DOMA is especially important, because now gay people who are married in states where gay marriage is legal, the federal government must also recognize those marriages. This means that a lot of legal benefits are finally available to gay married couples in states with gay marriage. I wonder what this will mean for the gay rights movement going forward. It certainly seems to be gaining momentum and now legal challenges to constitutional bands of gay marriage in other states have more support. Is it legal for a state that bans gay marriage to not recognize gay marriages from other states? I think that may be a question the U.S. Supreme Court will have to address in the future.

I’ve felt a morale boost since the rulings on DOMA and Prop 8. I’m not gay, but I feel empathy for people who have experienced discrimination based on who they are. I was bullied a lot as a kid, something I’ve mentioned on this blog, and I was called fag and gay as a child. I heard it enough that I started to wonder if I really was gay. That is probably one reason that this progressive victory is so important to me. I feel a connection to homosexuals, because I know what it is like to be bullied for being different, even if the bullies were wrong about me being gay. I would like to see marriage legal in all 50 states and I think it is only a matter of time before that happens.

Edshow Tweet

I also wanted to share something kind of amazing, at least it is to me. I used to watch The Ed Show on MSNBC sometimes when he was on during the week. Now Ed is on the weekends, so I try to catch it from time to time. It’s nice because there isn’t a lot of political shows on the weekends and Ed has always been a spirited guy, like him or not. So I was glad that he was talking about gay rights issues on Saturday’s show and I thought I’d send a tweet out to the show expressing how I felt about the legal decisions on DOMA and Prop 8. After I sent the tweet, I noticed I had a spelling error and contemplated deleting and re-tweeting. Well, I’m glad I didn’t, because my tweet ended up on the air! So, yes it is a bit embarrassing to have the spelling error on national TV, but whatever! It was exciting to see my tweet on-screen.

Overall, I think it was a pretty good week. I’m so happy that gay people in California have the right to marry again!

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