NEWS ANAlYSIS: National focus increases tolerance.
Proposition 8, the measure to prevent same-sex marriage, was voted into law by Californians in 2008, and it is up for review by the Supreme Court with a decision coming this June. When el Don reporters gathered opinions about this event, interviews of students revealed a pattern: only about half were willing to speak about the topic—the ones supporting same-sex marriage. The others were hesitant to respond, and almost uniformly declined to have their names or photographs taken.
When asked directly if he supported same-sex marriage, one student (who declined to be named) said, “Naw, dude, that’s gay!” only to be whapped on the head by his girlfriend.
It is now less socially acceptable to be caught disliking gays.
This does not mean that the majority opinion has changed since 2008; Prop 8 could very well remain law for the next few years. However, anyone willing to support it is less willing to talk about it. Even in larger political circles, it’s becoming considered political poison to not show some form of tolerance for the LGBT community, while it’s becoming easier and easier to show acceptance.
The list of U.S. Senators supporting same-sex marriage is growing and includes Rob Portman, R-Ohio,
Mark Kirk, R-Ill., and even former Vice President Dick Cheney, who expressed his support and has an openly gay daughter.
At SAC, student leaders are pushing to include more gender-neutral terms in the student handbook to be more equitable to all categories of people including LGBT.
“I’m for it!” said student Briana Boyle, of same-sex marriage. “It’s their decision. It’s not ours. It’s not my life. They can do whatever they want tobe happy. It doesn’t just have to be boy and girl.”
Other interviewees showing support for same-sex marriage were less enthusiastic simply because they felt that the issue was so obvious it should have already been resolved; they’d long ago hit acceptance and moved on.
“I feel like it should be a no-brainer,” said SAC Librarian Stacy Russo, adding that while it’s great that the topic is being discussed, it’s ridiculous that it still needs to be discussed.
SAC Counselor Dr. Nissa Chantana of the Health & Wellness Center mentioned that in 2010, the department became part of the Safe Zone movement dedicated to providing “allies” and support to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual students, increasing overall awareness and tolerance in the community in the process.
“We don’t have any hard data, it’s all opinions,” Chantana said, “but there may be a connection between this and what [el Don’s] interviews found,” she said.
SPEAKING OUT ON SAME SEX MARRIAGE
|Vontre Stubblefield They should be allowed to get married. I mean, why not? Free will. You can’t tell somebody not to do something if it’s not doing anyone any harm||Gabriella Martinez Being bisexual and all, I feel that it’s all right to be married to the same sex, regardless of people’s religion. If they’re happy together, who are we to say they can’t be together?||Oscar BannonI don’t have anything personally against [LGBTs], but I’m traditional. I think it should stay between a guy and a girl. Not to be mean or anything, but I’m not for it.||Eduardo CatalanIn reality, it makes no sense to worry about it. It’s a free country and people should do whatever they want. It doesn’t really affect me much.|
|Shanel DemyersSome people are like, ‘they shouldn’t because it’s against God’s will,’ but for people who don’t eat meat, you don’t see them persecuting everyone else. Just let them live their own life.||Stacy RussoI’m glad that it’s being discussed, but I also think it’s ridiculous that people’s civil rights even need to be discussed. It seems like a no-brainer to me. I was not in support of Prop 8 and I never voted for it.||Jorge SandovalIt’s nobody’s business who is marrying whom. If these people have put in the time and effort to live together, get to know each other, they should have the right to get married.|