Voting on Civil Rights?

As you’ve no doubt noticed in the news and in various blogs (including this one), the subject of marriage equality has become a hot topic. We currently have 6 states (Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont) and Washington D.C., where gay marriage is allowed. Gay marriage might also be in the immediate future for citizens in Washington and New Jersey (and perhaps even California, again, depending on tomorrow’s ruling by the Ninth District Court of Appeals).

Still, many people claim that gay marriage is something that should be decided by popular vote, not the government and not the courts. Luckily, Buzzfeed posted some interesting maps about previous civil rights issues.

Take a look at the maps posted below. If you are an African-American, a woman, in an interracial relationship, or know someone who fits one or all of those previous categories (and you most likely do), then you (or the people you know) would most likely still

  • be a slave
  • not have a voice in the government
  • be viewed as property
  • be unable to wed a person of a different race

Where would your civil rights be if they were put to a nation wide vote during the years the maps demonstrate below?

Unless you were a caucasian male, you would have none. What. So. Ever.

Map Depicting Slavery Laws Prior to Emancipation Proclamation (1863)

Map of Slavery in US

Map Depicting Woman’s Suffrage Laws Prior to 1920 Amendment

Woman's suffrage map

Map Depicting Segregation Laws Prior to Brown v. Board of Education (1954)

US Map showing segregation laws

Interracial Laws Prior to Anti-Miscegenation Laws Deemed Unconstitutional (1967)

US Map shown anti-miscegenational laws

Map showing Gay Marriage Rights (2012)

US map showing gay marriage rights

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