It bares noting that our little state of North Carolina is, as of the recent vote in the State House, due to have a very public, very likely messy Proposition 8 debacle to call our very own. The House passed the initiative within a comfortable margin, and seems likely to make the state a "culture war" battle ground when it comes to pass. Nothing's quite as fun as having one's friends and neighbors weigh in on whether or not they should have the luxury of being in a economically and legally approved relationship. What those unaware of the tyranny of the majority argument and all the sign waiving "Let the People Vote!" individuals don't seem to get it is that if we allowed the majority of white male landowners to vote on desegregation, interracial marriage, womens sufferage and the like? We'd still be in the cultural stone ages. I'd still be staring at the world through "coloreds only" windows and we'd all be shooing women back to their private spheres. One of the reasons I believe that we've gotten as far in the business of equality as we have is because...on many of the other minority politics issues, federally, we haven't allowed small town thinking and poorly rationalized biases get in the way of fairness and decency.
Democracy is a fascinating, often complicated thing. I find here that people seem absolutely oblivious to how biases towards other groups who share (or ought to) their status as Americans could allow their "vote" on the ability for the state to recognize their relationship as valid might be an integrity issue. In a just world, I don't want to have to vote on the relationships, or rights of others I may harbor biases against, as it is far easier a thing to act against their civil liberties and do harm to the quality of life of others. It should never be my place to dictate my terms and expectations onto other citizens, and I find it a throwback to the days of Jesse Helms to watch this ominous possibility present itself. To watch others line up to restrict the rights of their fellow citizens so willfully, so gleefully is a miserable thing to have to stomach. I expect we'll be discussing the issue a great deal more in the future. As much as its beneath the dignity of any civilized person to have to make a case for their equality (rights they should have by proxy of being a citizen or a human being), it does seem to be the way our woefully flawed society works when it regards minority issues, and yet we never learn.
UPDATE: I've been combing through NC politics blog "the Progressive Pulse" and found this bit from Democrats in against the amendment. Its not rosy, but there was/is some impassioned speaking on the behalf of the maligned at the very least.
Here. Mood music.