Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Second Civil War for Equal Rights

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Two hot issues for the LGBT community are enacting Gay Marriage Equality, and repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Even in America, it is an uphill struggle to gain equal rights for all, despite the founding fathers, the Constitution and our ability to petition the government for the redress of our grievances. For every leap forward, there is a step backward, such as what happened in Maine this week.

Those of us who have been around for awhile know that it takes work and commitment to advance the issues that affect the LGBT community, and tend not to let defeats stop our efforts. That would be exactly what those who wish to hold us down would like.

There are things you can do to help, and they start with being informed and up to date. A simple step is to bookmark the organizations that are leading the charge for our equality. The Civil War lives.

Bryant got a pie in her face.

Those of us who are old enough remember Anita Bryant and her initially successful 1977 efforts to deny our gay rights and existence. She was dethroned, and so will our current opponents, from Fox News to the religious right.

To help counter the defeat in Maine, and make a better case for same sex marriage, is collecting "Happily Ever After" stories from married couples. It would be nice to have some from the Berkshires. You can read about this new effort on the Marriage Equality Home Page.

“We must continue to heed the advice of Harvey Milk and ‘come out’ to everyone we meet as supporters of marriage equality, as LGBT people, as sisters, brothers, parents and friends of gay people,” said Pamela Brown, Marriage Equality USA Policy Director. “Last night, we achieved victories in Washington State and Kalamazoo, seven openly gay candidates won in elections spanning the nation from St. Petersburg, Florida to Salt Lake City, Utah and two are in run-off elections in Houston, Texas and the 58th District in Georgia.

"As people witness same-sex couples happily married in six states, living their lives, mowing their lawn, paying their taxes and as our families become woven into the seamless web of community and citizenship, the injustice of separate of unequal treatment will grow more and more apparent.

To help highlight our common humanity, Marriage Equality USA is launching a stories project, particularly in states where marriage equality is a reality. We want to encourage same-sex couples, their families, straight allies, and other community members to share their experiences on the impact and importance of extending the freedom to marry to all loving, committed couples. The stories we collect will be presented through a digital stories project that we will release during February’s Freedom to Marry month.”

To keep up to date on Don't Ask, Don't Tell, go to Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. It's no secret that I was discharged from the Navy for being gay, well before DADT and it is an issue that still resonates deeply.

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