Looking Beyond the Presidential Race

Zack Rosen

As of the printing of this issue of The Charger Bulletin, it is uncertain as to whether Senator Barack Obama or Senator John McCain is the newly elected president of the United States. Likewise, it is uncertain as to whether Question One in Connecticut and Proposition Eight in California passed on each state’s ballots. Regardless of their outcome, I feel it necessary to still mention these two crucial pieces of legislation.

Proposition 8, voted on in the state of California, is a constitutional amendment to the state of California’s constitution. Proposition 8, if passed, would change the constitution of California to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry, regardless of the fact that it was deemed legal by courts this past year. In fact, the California Supreme Court unequivocally stated that gay couples have a constitutional right to marry under their state’s constitution. Proposition 8 would go a step further, both ridding these citizens of their marriages and claiming marriage to be only “between a man and a woman.”

Closer to home, Connecticut’s Question 1 was voted on on Election Day to determine whether a constitutional convention will be held in the state. Per Connecticut’s state constitution, voters are automatically asked every 20 years whether the state constitution should be revised or amended.

Supporters claim that Question 1 would allow the process of initiative and referendum, as wel as a coalition of taxpayer groups. While Republican Connecticut Governor M. Jodi Rell and a few other groups are supporters of voting “yes” to Question 1, Attorney General Richard Blumenthal (a visitor to the UNH campus), the League of Women Voters, the CT Citizen Action Group, and State Treasurer Denise Nappier are all opposed to Question 1 and support voting “no.” Other opponents include 45 organizations and 70 clergy members. Some of these even include the American Civil Liberties Union, Love Makes a Family, Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, Planned Parenthood, CT Women’s Education and Legal Fund, and the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists.

This mass of opponents are afraid that, even though Connecticut just became the third state to legalize gay marriage, the constitutional convention would reverse this new law. Additionally, pro-choice groups and other civil rights groups are worried that they will be attacked and muzzled if Question 1 is voted with an overwhelming support.

While these measures may or may not have passed by the time of this printing, there is certainly something to be said by the fact that these are actually coming up to be voted on. And regardless of which side won this past Election Day, it is part of democracy that the losing side considered this only a battle. This will come up again: for better, or for worst.