To the People

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or TO THE PEOPLE.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Unmarried Couples of Virginia: We Give You No Rights But Still Want Your Tax $$

At what point will politicians, who hands down won the election, stop putting forth ballot issues to decide civil rights and "rally the base?" In high school I read something called the Constitution and it sets forth a concept called equal treatment under the law. Gays and all unmarried Virginians, I guess, no longer receive those rights. In fact, they lost a lot of other rights, like contract rights, which I thought were the cornerstone of the US Constitution. They were until this ballot measure passed.

This article today in the Boston Globe was illuminating about the perils of putting rights to ballot questions.
In 2000, the same year that my white husband and I, a black woman, exchanged vows in a Dorchester church, voters in Alabama were asked to go to the polls to take a law off the books that once made interracial marriage a crime. For much of our nation's history, such anti miscegenation statutes were the law of the land, not only in the deep South, but throughout the United States.

The people of Alabama, a state with a horrific history of racial division, voted to remove that shameful, centuries-old law that punished men and women for "race mixing." But the vote was closer than expected in 21st century America. A stunning 40 percent of the voting public in Alabama wanted to keep the ban on interracial marriage intact. Whole counties voted to keep a racist law that would have jailed men and women of different races for the "crime" of marrying.

If my husband and I had married in Alabama in 2000, for example, would that law, if it had been supported by the majority, order the dissolution and condemnation of our marriage by the "will of the people"?