I am an immigrant to the United States.
In the process of becoming a citizen there was one document, with a wonderful snippet, that continues to be deeply inspiring for me. It reflects the promise of America.
The document was the United States Declaration of Independence [text here], and these words. . . .
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all people are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
That last part forms for me the essence of what it means to be truly free.
It is a commitment, to you and to me and to us, of the opportunity that we are blessed with. An opportunity to make choices that you and I would like to as we live our humble lives.
One of those choices you and I can make is the choice of who we can marry.
It is in support of that choice that I request you to consider voting No on prop 8.
I have profound respect for the choice you make in whom to marry. I am asking that my right to marry the person of my choice be preserved.
And the right of my friends. And my neighbours. And my fellow citizens.
For Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Update: Nov 5th 2008, 1400 hrs.
I am deeply disappointed that Prop 8 passed. That we have now institutionalized and legalized civil discrimination against our own citizens in California.
At the turn of the last century dogs and a specific race were asked to stay out public establishments.
Less than a hundred years ago one human gender could not even vote.
Less than fifty years ago one race in this country was asked to ride at the back of the bus, we still believed in "separate but equal".
Just eight years ago an American University ended a ban on interracial dating (something that would have prevented my beloved wife and I from ever being a couple).
I am confident that in my lifetime this nation will allow any person who wants to marry to marry, and marry the one they choose to marry.
I leave you with words that inspire me:
Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.
And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today!
I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of "interposition" and "nullification" — one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today!
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; "and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together."
This is our hope.
–"I Have a Dream", Martin Luther King.
Update: Aug 4th 2010, 1400 hrs.
Today is a happy day.
Judge Vaughn Walker has found that it is unconstitutional to discriminate against same sex couples.
There is a sense of jubilation all around (not surprising given where I live). My tweet.
A small battle has been won.
It is hard to know the result of the war. I fear that there is no way Chief Justice John Roberts's court would uphold this ruling (even if it is upheld by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals).
But that is a worry for another day. Today we pause and we celebrate a victory for humanity and equality for each person in the United States of America (just as our founding fathers would have wanted).
Update: Dec 22nd 2010, 1500 hrs.
Today is another happy day. President Barack Obama signed into law the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell policy of the US Military. Now if you want to die for your country then who you choose as your partner, male or female, will no longer be a barrier.
DADT's repeal survived virulent opposition by many, including some top leaders in the US Marines and some top politicians like John McCain.
One more small victory for Americans and Equality.
Update:Jun 26th 2011, 0900 hrs.
New York state voted late last night to legalize gay marriage. Hurray!
As one of the largest US states NY can shine a beacon of hope to so many others. And I can't wait for the next couple of years to prove the naysayers wrong about what happens if gay marriage is approved.
One more nail into the coffin of bigotry.
Update:Jun 26th 2013, 0900 hrs.
The US Supreme Court struck down California's Prop 8! Well they did not so much strike it down as upheld Judge Vaughan Walker's ruling striking down Prop 8 on grounds that the Plaintiff did not have standing. Imperfect, but we'll take it. In a different case the court also found DOMA (the horrid Defence of Marriage Act) to be unconstitutional. This is a very big deal because in the eyes of the federal government, in all 50 states, same-sex marriages will be the same as all other marriages. Awesome day.
Update:Aug 29th 2013, 0900 hrs.
The dominos are falling all over the place. I wanted to update with the decision by the Treasury Department to recognize all marriages, gay or straight, in all stages. So our gay peers can be married in the 13 states that recognize gay marriage, they can live in the other 37 and still file jointly! Far reaching decision (along with similar ones by our immigration authorities). Progress!
Update:Jun 26th 2015, 0900 hrs.
Today is a joyous day, there is much to celebrate. But, there is still more to do. It is still legal in numerous States to fire someone just because they are gay. Universal rights remain to be won, but today was a massive, massive win for all citizens of these United States of America.