For many whose political views fall left of center, the results from last Tuesday's election could be characterized as a great leap forward for the United States but a huge step back for California. Despite Sen. Barack Obama logging one for the history books with his presidential win, the sheer excitement was tainted with the bittersweet passing of Proposition 8.
After the last few precincts reported their results by early Wednesday morning, the proposition received 52.5 percent of votes in favor of it. With this slim margin of victory, the state constitutional amendment that bans same-sex marriage in California prevailed.
The outcome is actually quite ironic in light of the presidential race. Although the country's willingness to elect Obama to the White House arguably represents the triumph of racial minorities, the success of the yes on Proposition 8 campaign just transfers that discrimination to another group in society.
But it's clear a good number of Americans are not ready to throw their complete support behind gay rights. Proposition 8 was backed by most of the rest of the state, save for the Bay Area and a few other counties. In Florida and Arizona, voters also demonstrated their support for constitutional bans on same-sex marriage. While it's easy to be completely flabbergasted by the blatant intolerance and inequality, remember that the rest of the country does not necessarily share the progressive sentiments of Berkeley (and there are some right at home who don't either).
The United States has undeniably come a long way in the fight against discrimination, but who knows how many years it will take for full inclusion to be a reality. Meanwhile, the legal procedure to reinstate same-sex marriage in California should be pursued.