(Note: A week or so after posting this blog, the Times Record did publish this letter. They used one issue of the paper to publish many of the letters they had received post-election.)
To the Editor:
"Bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will, to be rightful, must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal laws must protect, and to violate would be oppression."
- Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address, 1801.
No one should have to go to bed at night fearing that when they wake up in the morning their country will have become more discriminatory. Yet, that is exactly what happened in Tuesday's election. On Wednesday morning, a minority within our larger culture woke to a new world, where newly gained equal rights had been stripped away from them.
Democracy, for all its wonders, does have a few warts. The biggest is the danger that democracy can be used to allow the tyranny of the majority to oppress the minority.
Ever since Question 1 appeared on our ballot, I have been concerned about its presence there and infinitely puzzled as to how our august state allowed that to come to pass. Matters of civil rights should not be put up for a vote. If we allowed such votes routinely, women would have no rights in our country, nor would people of color or people with disabilities.
Civil rights are Constitutional matters. As Thomas Jefferson states, for democracy to work, equal laws must protect the civil rights of minorities. Otherwise, we open ourselves up for the travesty we experienced on November 3, when the majority of voters -- roughly 90% of whom are straight -- took civil rights away from gay and lesbian people, who constitute approximately only 10% of the population.
That is an abomination.
Shame on us.
The Reverend Sylvia A. Stocker