Monday, November 24, 2008

The Gift of Equality

On Saturday night, I had the chance to go out to the local town square and join some friends in asking for a special gift for the holidays. We weren't asking for anything expensive or extravagant. All we really want is equality.

Yes, that's right. All we want is the gift of equality. This nation has simultaneously experienced a great leap forward in civil rights with the election of Barack Obama as our next President and a major setback in civil rights with the passage of same-sex marriage bans in California, Arizona, and Florida, along with an adoption ban in Arkansas. These last three weeks since the election have been so awkwardly painful not just for LGBT people, but for all people who want equal rights for all.

However, November 4, 2008, isn't the end date of this story of the long struggle for equality. Rather, it's just turned out to be a new beginning. People from all over America, even in "blood red" locales like Orange County, CA, have filled the streets to peacefully ask for equality.

That's what happened at our local vigil on Saturday. While others all around us went out to eat and drink and party, we were out to ask for the holiday gift of equal rights. We had students from the local college along with families from nearby neighborhoods. We had little children ask why their mommies couldn't marry, and we had young couples ask why they couldn't marry. Why can't all loving relationships be equally legally recognized?

Well, there is some good news. The California Supreme Court has agreed to answer that question, and a legal challenge is pending in Florida. Fortunately, we have great allies in court with a strong case to make for the invalidation of Proposition 8, the unconstitutional marriage ban in California. Meanwhile in Florida, civil rights groups are preparing to defend domestic partner benefits against the forces of hatred already using Amendment 2 to take them all away. And better yet, our progressive allies in California are already preparing for a campaign to secure our rights no matter what happens in court.

Still, we can't just expect victory. We must make victory happen! I mean it. We may not be able to argue in front of court, and we may not be able to develop campaign plans for 2010 & 2012. But believe it or not, we can still give each other the gift of equality this holiday season.

How so? We can give each other (or ourselves!) the gift of equality by supporting these organizations working for victory on the legal AND political fronts!



Lambda Legal

National Center for Lesbian Rights


Courage Campaign's Repeal Prop 8 Plan

Equality California

Equality Florida

Equality Arizona

This isn't over, not by a long shot! We won't stop fighting until all people have their rights all over this nation. And really, wouldn't this gift be far more useful than that sporting goods gift card or clunky toaster that never gets used?

So come on, everyone, let's give the gift that all of us can cherish!


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