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Decision 2008: Not All Rainbows and Unicorns

The election this year forced down a wall of racial discrimination. For the first time, an African American family will be living in the White House and man born to a father from Kenya and a white mother from Kansas and who who grew up outside of the continental United States will be our president. The Democrats have won the House and the Senate, Michigan has legalized medical marijuana and California chickens will no longer have to live in cramped cages.

Yet with all these steps forward, the elected also presented some major set-backs. California passed Proposition 8, banning same-sex marriages in a state in which the State Supreme Court declared such a ban illegal just six months ago [www.latimes.com].

Prop 8 campaigns spent $70 million dollars, making it the second-most expensive campaign [www.sfgate.com], outspent only by the presidential campaigns.

It remains unclear whether same-sex couples already married in California will still be recognized by the state, and because of the uncertainty, couples have been rushing to the court to get married through yesterday in the case that marriages between same-sex partners would be banned.

One poll had showed that the ban would not pass, and some speculate that the inaccuracy of the poll could be based on a certain “Bradley”-type of effect in which people told pollsters that they would support gay rights, then when in the voting booth, they would not.

Also, because it was clear that Barack Obama would win the presidency before the polls closed in California, many liberal voters would have supported gay marriage may not have showed up to the polls after seeing that their presidential choice was already picked by the rest of the country.

Arizona and Florida also passed similar propositions that would make gay marriage illegal in those states.

So amid the victory felt worldwide after a landslide win for Obama, many communities in this country are suffering from having their ability to marry revoked or denied. While the sigh of relief is undoubtedly the first reaction of many of us, in the days to come the losses nationwide will also come to light, reminding us yet again, the fight is not over.

–Jamie Wong