Today, Sept. 22 is a very important date in American history. It is on this day that President Lincoln issued his Emancipation Proclamation in 1862, which was to be put into effect on Jan. 1, 1863. I am going to put the entire document below. I hope people get a chance to read it. I also hope that those who are black and who are pushing to take away the right of gays and lesbians to marry here in California will read it as well. They need to remember that the Emancipation Proclamation was issued by the President of the United States. He didn’t need to take a poll to see who wanted black people free. He knew (well, at least later) that to free these people was the right thing to do. Imagine what would have happened if each state had to have this issue on the ballot–just imagine how many black people would have been freed. No, President Lincoln did what he was supposed to do, regardless of what the country thought and regardless of the number of break-away states that were in rebellion.
To me, the fact that the President issued the Emancipation Proclamation is the same as a panel of judges who also did the right thing in granting gays and lesbians the right to marry, even though 61% of the people who voted in 2000 wanted marriage to be between a man and a woman. They did the right thing too. Sure, some people are going to bitterly complain about comparing these two issues. But I find it sad that one group that has their rights complains and actively tries to stop another group from getting equal rights. There is something fundamentally not right about this. Some will say that being black is something that can’t be changed. Well, I say that you don’t choose to be gay either. I didn’t, and no heterosexual that I have asked seems to be able to tell me exactly when they chose to be heterosexual. They all say that I have chosen to be gay, but it is those very same people that for some reason can’t tell me when I decided to be gay. I don’t know if ex-gays really exist. I do know that people can try and not be gay. Alan Chambers, the president of Exodus, the group that claims it can change gay people straight, just admitted in an interview that he still has same-sex attractions! You can read his interview here at Nelson Garcia’s blog.
Anyway, getting away from the anti-gay issue for a bit, here is the amazing Emancipation Proclamation:
Whereas, on the twenty-second day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two, a proclamation was issued by the President of the United States, containing, among other things, the following, to wit:
"That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free; and the Executive Government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom.
"That the Executive will, on the first day of January aforesaid, by proclamation, designate the States and parts of States, if any, in which the people thereof, respectively, shall then be in rebellion against the United States; and the fact that any State, or the people thereof, shall on that day be, in good faith, represented in the Congress of the United States by members chosen thereto at elections wherein a majority of the qualified voters of such State shall have participated, shall, in the absence of strong countervailing testimony, be deemed conclusive evidence that such State, and the people thereof, are not then in rebellion against the United States."
Now, therefore I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, by virtue of the power in me vested as Commander-in-Chief, of the Army and Navy of the United States in time of actual armed rebellion against the authority and government of the United States, and as a fit and necessary war measure for suppressing said rebellion, do, on this first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and in accordance with my purpose so to do publicly proclaimed for the full period of one hundred days, from the day first above mentioned, order and designate as the States and parts of States wherein the people thereof respectively, are this day in rebellion against the United States, the following, to wit:
Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, (except the Parishes of St. Bernard, Plaquemines, Jefferson, St. John, St. Charles, St. James Ascension, Assumption, Terrebonne, Lafourche, St. Mary, St. Martin, and Orleans, including the City of New Orleans) Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia, (except the forty-eight counties designated as West Virginia, and also the counties of Berkley, Accomac, Northampton, Elizabeth City, York, Princess Ann, and Norfolk, including the cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth[)], and which excepted parts, are for the present, left precisely as if this proclamation were not issued.
And by virtue of the power, and for the purpose aforesaid, I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves within said designated States, and parts of States, are, and henceforward shall be free; and that the Executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authorities thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of said persons.
And I hereby enjoin upon the people so declared to be free to abstain from all violence, unless in necessary self-defence; and I recommend to them that, in all cases when allowed, they labor faithfully for reasonable wages.
And I further declare and make known, that such persons of suitable condition, will be received into the armed service of the United States to garrison forts, positions, stations, and other places, and to man vessels of all sorts in said service.
And upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of justice, warranted by the Constitution, upon military necessity, I invoke the considerate judgment of mankind, and the gracious favor of Almighty God.
In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington, this first day of
January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight
hundred and sixty three, and of the Independence of the
United States of America the eighty-seventh.
By the President: ABRAHAM LINCOLN
WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.