Article by Melinda Segovia | Owl Staff

The Constitution grants citizens the immense power to shape the government under which they live. As historian David Ramsay wrote, “In this happy peculiarity they placed the science of politics on a footing with the other sciences, by opening it to improvements from experience, and the discoveries of future ages.” In this election, voters utilized their power to grant civil rights to gays and immigrants and overthrow drug laws, thumbing their nose at the federal government in the process. With the passing of this November 6, Ramsay’s prediction appears to be gradually unfolding, “by means of this power of amending American constitutions, the friends of mankind have fondly hoped that oppression will one day be no more.”

Same Sex Marriage

In one night, three states broke the long tradition of voters striking down same-sex marriage. Marylanders answered yes on Question 6, to uphold or reject the Civil Marriage Protection Act, granting same-sex couples the right to procure a marriage license. Likewise, Maine voters decided that their state, too, will grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples. And although the results have not yet been certified, Washington state also appears poised to provide for marriage equality.

Breon Knight, Age 25 Computer Science:

“I’m finally glad that four states had enough intelligent people to see that no matter what sexuality you are everyone deserves the right to be married.”

Ashley Stangel, Age 19 Social Work:

“I am against same sex marriage because I’m a Christian.I don’t believe they should be able to get married, but they should be able to have rights; for example, visiting their sick spouse in the hospital..

The Dream Act

The Maryland In-State Tuition Referendum, popularly known as the Dream Act referendum, was passed based on a majority vote. The new law permits undocumented immigrants to pay in-state or in-county tuition at Maryland colleges after attending Maryland high schools for three years and community college for two years. While other states have laws similar to the Maryland Dream Act, this is the first time in history that this type of law has been passed through a popular vote.

Anna Cammayo, Age 26 General Studies:

“I agree that those who qualify for the Dream Act should be allowed to take advantage of in-state tuition because they are making an effort to become productive members of society by furthering their education in the country they grew up in.“

Elliot Mitchell, Age 20 Engineering/ Engineering Technology and CADD:

Everyone deserves a chance, but I think you should be legal.”

Marijuana Legalization

Thanks to the popular vote, marijuana users in Washington state and Colorado will be able to smoke in peace. Until they are busted by the feds, that is—marijuana is still a banned substance under the Controlled Substances Act and, regardless of state law, can still be prosecuted by the Department of Justice. In the meantime, Washington state now permits those 21 and older to buy as much as one ounce of marijuana from licensed retailers and Colorado’s new measure allots for the possession of up to one ounce, and the growing of up to six plants.

Samantha Borowy, Age 21 Business Administration:

“I believe [marijuana legalization] would benefit us in more ways than one. We could tax it, regulate it…[and] lower crime across the country. Weed … [is] calming and is used for cancer treatment and it doesn’t kill anybody. It should be legalized.”

Josh Fintch, Age 26 Fine Arts:

“Aside from my personal religious beliefs, marijuana can mask your consciousness and makes you less motivated. I want my art to reflect myself, not the substances in my system.”

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