Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Just in the last six months, Connecticut, Iowa, and Vermont have moved to enact marriage equality. Just today, The District of Columbia moved one step closer to full marriage equality with the city council passing 12-1 an ordinance to recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages. And just today, Maine is on the verge of making history as the second state to legalize marriage equality by way of legislation as the House just passed the marriage bill that recently passed the Senate. Meanwhile, Kate Kendell has changed her mind and now feels hopeful about the California Supreme Court's upcoming Prop H8 verdict as New Hampshire inches even closer to becoming the second/third state (depending on what happens in Maine) to enact marriage equality by legislation.
And wait, there's more! Marriage equality may actually come to New York some day soon. Washington state and Nevada are moving closer to establishing "everything but 'the m word'" domestic partnerships (DPs). Colorado is finally taking baby steps toward equality by allowing for domestic partner rights and benefits. And now, we're even starting to see progress on the federal level.
Wait, progress? You mean we're seeing progress on LGBT civil rights? Yes, now may finally be our time for progress.
Last week, I attended the Pride Parade/Festival in "my other hometown" of Las Vegas. And unlike past Pride events I've attended in California and Nevada, I really sensed some hope. Why? It looked like we're really making progress. Anti-discrimination and DP proposals are advancing here like never before. In a state that passed a marriage ban just seven years ago, things have turned around. Most major casinos now offer domestic partner benefits and anti-discrimination protection as more and more Nevadans are coming out and being part of a more vibrant LGBT community.
And guess what? Nevada's not a "stereotypical far left ultra-liberal state". And neither is Iowa. And neither is New Hampshire. A sea change in attitudes is happening throughout the nation, and now may finally be the time for progress.
I know there's been some tension lately on how hard our community should push President Obama to push harder for civil rights. And while I understand the President is concerned about major issues like the economy and health care, he should understand how many LGBT families are suffering in this economy precisely because they have no health care benefits, no anti-discrimination protection, and little to no benefits from the recent tax breaks passed in the stimulus. These issues are connected, and it's time for the federal government to start catching up with states across the country in making progress.
Again, this is no longer a "red state vs. blue state hot-button social issue controversy". In fact, it never really was. This is a civil rights issue and a human rights issue. Do we really believe in liberty and justice for all? Do we really believe in equal protection under the law? And if so, why are we still allowing so many people to suffer such injustice and inequity?
Now's the time for progress. Now's the time for fully-inclusive workplace protection. Now's the time to end the ban on federal spousal rights and benefits. Now's the time to end the military service ban. Now's the time to make progress for civil rights on the national level.
So what are we waiting for? The people are ready for progress. It's now up to us to make Washington make it happen.
Please support our national allies like NCLR and ACLU that are working to secure our rights nationwide. And wherever you are, please support local organizations like Courage Campaign (CA) and The LGBT Center of Southern Nevada. Make sure we see more progress so we can one day reach full equality.
Posted by atdnext at 12:01 PM