Ensuring equality for every American, regardless of their sexual preference and gender identification has long been a priority for the Democratic Party and San Francisco State University College Democrats. Over the past four years in particular, great progress has been made in this area and especially in the past 10 years since our very own then-Mayor Gavin Newsom’s brave defiance to marry same sex couples. Most notably, President Obama has made huge strides for marriage equality, repealing the incredibly restrictive Dont Ask Dont Tell law, and becoming a vocal advocate for gay marriage.
The Supreme Court has recently issued monumental rulings in favor of equality. First, finding the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional for treating the LGBT community as inferior (United States v Windsor). More specific to California, the Court has refused to rule on Proposition 8 for lack of standing, thanks to Governor Brown and Attorney General Harris refusing to defend the discriminatory law in Court (Hollsingsworth v Perry). This has made Judge Van Walker’s district court ruling the law of the land striking down Proposition 8. The battle against Proposition 8 has gone on for many years, and we are now proud to say it is gone, and same sex couples have the freedom to marry in California.
However, changing attitudes away from ignorance toward acceptance and love is not just happening through judicial fiat. Obama has been instrumental in reducing hate crimes against gay people by signing the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. He also lifted the HIV Entry Ban and guaranteed LGBTQAIA families the right to have equal access and influence when their partner is in the hospital.
Here in California, San Francisco State University College Democrats are committed to ensuring that students and young people continue to fight for marriage equality and other LGBTQAIA rights in the state. We were glad to see AB 1266, authored by our very own Tom Ammiano (AD17 – San Francisco), passed and signed by LGBTQAIA supporting Governor Jerry Brown, expanding rights of transgender students in schools and providing them with a safer place to pursue an education. We are also steadfast in our efforts to oppose the extremist far right conservative effort to damage and repeal the law. If there is indeed a party that is about a small government that gets out of our private household affairs it is the Democratic Party. With our notion that American citizens deserve the right to marry whom they love without the government mandating a definitive and solitary definition of marriage – we truly are the defenders of freedom, liberty, and the pursuit of love.
San Francisco State University College Democrats will continue to work tirelessly for equality in California and continue the legacy of San Francisco being the international hub for love and acceptance of our fellow gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex, heterosexual, and asexual brothers and sisters.
It is our shared dream that one day there will be no talk of “same sex marriage” or “gay marriage” but rather just “marriage” and “equality under the law and under God”. Through our work we know that that day will soon be here.