This story was written by Kelsey Swaim, The Daily Athenaeum
Arizona, California and Florida joined 27 other states in banning gay marriage Tuesday.Californias Proposition 8 overturned a California State Supreme Court decision in 2000 that declared a ban of gay marriage unconstitutional. But with the passage of Tuesdays vote, gay marriage is banned, and marriage is strictly defined as the union between one man and one woman.On a national level, the ban on gay marriage in California sends a strong message to other states that banning gay marriage is acceptable, said Jason Whipkey, treasurer of West Virginia University's Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian and Transgender Mountaineers. California is viewed as a liberal and accepting state. By placing a ban on gay marriage other states may begin assessing their position.Fifty-two percent of the states population voted in favor of the ballot initiative Tuesday.When peoples rights are being denied in one area of the country, in this case California, people in the rest of the country are affected as well, said John Ernest, faculty adviser for BiGLTM. The vote to ban gay marriage concerns me because it is very common for local movements to turn into national movements.Through the issues controversy, one local church is in favor of Proposition 8s passage.The church supports the passing of Proposition 8 since marriage is viewed as a sacred institution, said Father Bill Matheny, pastor at St. John University Parish. However, the church still wants to be sensitive to the homosexual population and does not intend to degrade them as people.Gay rights supporters filed a legal challenge in the State Supreme Court in California Wednesday. Lawyers backing Proposition 8 said it was an illegal revision of the California constitution, and they hope to refute the most recent amendment.Jenny Pizer, a California attorney involved in the lawsuit between 6 same-sex couples and the state of California, said in a press release on Wednesday, Proposition 8 conflicts with the basic ideals of equality enshrined in our Constitution. It removes a protected Constitutional right the right to marry.The question now is whether the same-sex marriages already performed in California will still be legal.The vote to ban gay marriage compromises equal rights. Particularly, the rights provided under the legal bind of marriage are restricted to same-sex partners.States that now ban gay marriage are limiting the rights of certain individuals and the activities in which they can participate, said Rusty Harvilla, president of BiGLTM.A similar ballot initiative in Arkansas was passed by 57 percent of voters. Arkansass measure now prohibits unmarried couples from adopting or fostering children.The voter initiative in Arkansas is another example of rights being stripped from people, Whipkey said. Raising children is a joy for many people and I do not feel it should be limited to a particular group of people.Students at WVU will need to think carefully about where they find a job because their rights may not be supported in certain areas of the country, Ernest said.In Arizona, a voters initiative amended the state constitutions clause, prohibiting same-sex marriage, to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman.Voters passed Proposition 102 with 56 percent popular support.Floridas Amendment 2 passed with 62 percent voter support. The initiative dismisses gay rights, stating that marriage is the union between one man and one woman as husband and wife.The same-sex marriage ban is not done in a way to offend people with homosexual or lesbian tendencies. This issue simply results from civic rights disagreements, Matheny said.