Wednesday, November 4, 2009

We The People

US Constitution

I've written and rewritten today's post at least three different ways and none of them have really been satisfying. The problem is the subject matter. You may or may not be aware that yesterday's election involved a referendum in Maine to either sustain or repeal our same-sex marriage law. By a majority, though not a landslide, the decision was made to repeal.

I'm troubled by this because it limits access to a societal norm based on criteria that are presumed to be consistent throughout history. Yet, even in this country, we've altered the terms that constitute marriage in the sight of the law, did you know that? Up until 1967, it was still illegal in some states for a Caucasian and African-American to be married. Yes, we're talking about one woman and one man, but my point is, marriage as a legal concept has been reinterpreted to represent greater congruency with our sense of justness.

Whenever a group is set apart as being less deserving of the rights and privileges enjoyed by the majority, I start to worry. It doesn't matter whether it's related to age, gender, or anything else, I just don't feel comfortable with the notion that the rights of citizenship can be denied for no other reason than the fact that someone is different. When discrimination is regarded as socially-acceptable on one basis, what prevents it from becoming so on any other?

We the People. The preamble to the Constitution represents what we have determined. We form that more perfect union. America is not some entity that exists objectively outside of its citizenry. It's We the People and everything it stands for is who we are and the ways we treat one another. Freedom and justice have to extend to all of us, and if not, how can they extend to any of us?

(Image by kjd via Flickr)

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