While America has seemingly embraced change in electing Barack Obama the next President of the United States on Tuesday, voters in three states were apparently not ready to accept full scale changes to what many consider a fundamental right. Voters in California, Florida and Arizona on Tuesday voted to ban gay marriages within their borders.
In California, approximately 52 percent of voters approved Proposition 8, only months after the state’s Supreme Court had ruled in favor of allowing such unions. Although Arizona had rejected such a ban two years ago, bans against allowing same sex marriage won by larger margins than that in California in this past election in both Arizona and Florida.
For those in California, some question whether the marriages performed between the time of the state Supreme Court decision and this vote will remain valid. The state Attorney General has gone on record as saying he believes they will remain valid; however, it is expected that law suits and debate will ensue as to the legality of these unions. The actuality legality of these unions may not be determined for some time, as these battles continue.
Aside from expected legal battles challenging the validity of these California marriages, many in California have already announced their intentions to sue to block the ban. Some opponents of this ban have specifically stated that they would fight this ban through all available methods, even to the United States Supreme Court if possible. Some hope that this issue will eventually appear before the Supreme Court of the United States so that this issue may be resolved once and for all.
With the passage of these measures, along with the passage of a measure in Arkansas which prohibits gay men and women from adopting children, some are questioning the prospects of the ability to obtain overall acceptance of same sex marriage by more states in the near future. Although Massachusetts and Connecticut will still allow same sex marriage, and New York and Rhode Island will still honor such unions, forty states now have laws or constitutional bans on allowing such marriages. With the current trend exhibited by this past election, it seems uncertain that the number of states allowing such marriages will be increased in the foreseeable future.
What five months ago seemed like a great victory for same sex couples has now turned into a crushing defeat. While options do remain open for same sex partners (Massachusetts, Connecticut, civil unions and domestic partnerships), the acceptance and change hoped for does not seem forthcoming. Even as Americans await the inauguration of their first African American President and the promise he makes of change, they seem unable to accept the legal marriage of these same sex couples.
To read the New York Times article, click here.