Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Grief for California, but a better chance for hearts and minds...



Grief for California, but a better chance for hearts and minds...

It is with a heavy heart that I heard of the decision of The California Supreme Court to uphold Proposition 8. Proposition 8 is a new departure in modern democracy and presents us with the sordid spectacle of an uninformed majority being duped into voted away the rights of a historically persecuted minority. Contrary to popular belief, California has a pretty dark history when it comes to legislative treatment of minorities, yet the reinvention of California as a place of tolerance and diversity should encourage us that Proposition 8 is a blip and not a continuation of a suspended pattern of discrimination.
The following legislation and referenda have all been enacted in California in the past....

1879 to 1926, California's constitution stated that "no native of China" shall ever exercise the privileges of an elector in the state." Similar provisions appeared in the constitutions of Oregon and Idaho. 1866-1947: Segregation, voting [Statute] Enacted 17 Jim Crow laws between 1866 and 1947 in the areas of miscegenation (6) and education (2), employment (1) and a residential ordinance passed by the city of San Francisco that required all Chinese inhabitants to live in one area of the city. Similarly, a miscegenation law passed in 1901 broadened an 1850 law, adding that it was unlawful for white persons to marry "Mongolians." 1870: Education [Statute] African and Indian children must attend separate schools. A separate school would be established upon the written request by the parents of ten such children. "A less number may be provided for in separate schools in any other manner."1872: Alcohol sales [Statute] Prohibited the sale of liquor to Indians. The act remained legal until its repeal in 1920.1879: Voter rights [Constitution] "No native of China" would ever have the right to vote in the state of California. Repealed in 1926.1879: Employment [Constitution] Prohibited public bodies from employing Chinese and called upon the legislature to protect "the state...from the burdens and evils arising from" their presence. A statewide anti-Chinese referendum was passed by 99.4 percent of voters in 1879.1880: Miscegenation [Statute] Made it illegal for white persons to marry a "Negro, mulatto, or Mongolian."1890: Residential [City Ordinance] The city of San Francisco ordered all Chinese inhabitants to move into a certain area of the city within six months or face imprisonment. The Bingham Ordinance was later found to be unconstitutional by a federal court.1891: Residential [Statute] Required all Chinese to carry with them at all times a "certificate of residence." Without it, a Chinese immigrant could be arrested and jailed.1894: Voter rights [Constitution] Any person who could not read the Constitution in English or write his name would be disfranchised. An advisory referendum indicated that nearly 80 percent of voters supported an educational requirement.1901: Miscegenation [Statute] The 1850 law prohibiting marriage between white persons and Negroes or mulattoes was amended, adding "Mongolian."1909: Miscegenation [Statute] Persons of Japanese descent were added to the list of undesirable marriage partners of white Californians as noted in the earlier 1880 statute.1913: Property [Statute] Known as the "Alien Land Laws," Asian immigrants were prohibited from owning or leasing property. The California Supreme Court struck down the Alien Land Laws in 1952.1931: Miscegenation [State Code] Prohibited marriages between persons of the Caucasian and Asian races.1933: Miscegenation [Statute] Broadened earlier miscegenation statute to also prohibit marriages between whites and Malays.1945: Miscegenation [Statute] Prohibited marriage between whites and "Negroes, mulattos, Mongolians and Malays."1947: Miscegenation [Statute] Subjected U.S. servicemen and Japanese women who wanted to marry to rigorous background checks. Barred the marriage of Japanese women to white servicemen if they were employed in undesirable occupations.
They are all now in trashcan of history, and thanks to the example of ordinary LGBT people leading their lives as legally married people in the state of California, Proposition 8 will follow all the above, and probably sooner than we dare hope. It is the subtle experience of seeing decent people committed to each other, and seeing that the sky does not fall that will persuade many who voted for Proposition 8 to change their minds. Not overturning prop 8 in the courts may prove a blessing in disguise (if heavily in disguise); we now have the chance to overturn Prop 8 in our everyday lives - through simply existing and being who we are.....
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Contact Information......
Thanks to Rev Clinton Crawshaw for the above analysis;

Office Phone: 504 298 5131 Pastor's cellphone: 504 214 4340
Email: pastor@bigeasymcc.com
Website: www.bigeasymcc.com

1 comment:

Haute Haiku said...

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