Archive for January, 2009
One week before our National DOMA protest, the waves of change are already starting to form! Bob Barr, the infamous author of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), wrote an op-ed in the LA Times stating that DOMA should be repealed! This is something worth celebrating, and something we should take to the next level.
Ever since we announced January 10th’s National DOMA Protest, we learned that many members of the LGBTQ community do not even know what DOMA is. DOMA, put simply, is one current reason LGBTQ rights are so hard to come by. When you drill down to the heart of DOMA, it was launched as an effort to keep same-sex couples from gaining the same rights as heterosexual married couples… in other words, it was born out of a need to restrict the rights of the LGBTQ community. DOMA has been used time and time again to continually restrict the rights of the LGBTQ community in employment, spousal benefits, property ownership, insurance, etc. Many view it as discrimination written into the constitution (I am one of those many).
On January 10th, we are protesting to repeal DOMA and to gain 1 Million Signatures on our Open Letter to Barack Obama. This letter is meant to serve as a reminder to Obama of the promises that he made to our community, which he wrote in an Open Letter to the LGBTQ Community in early 2008. In that letter, he promised to repeal DOMA. We drafted a letter that uses his exact words in an effort to remind him just how accountable we expect him to be for his promises. Many requests have been made to broaden this letter and add a request for full gay marriage, or other initiatives to the list. We do not want to deter from the point of the letter though: Repeal DOMA. Hold True to Your Promises. Your Words DO Have Meaning.
On September 21st, 1996, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was signed into federal law. DOMA, wrote discrimination into the Constitution with two strict regulations:
- No state (or other political subdivision within the United States) need treat a relationship between persons of the same sex as a marriage, even if the relationship is considered a marriage in another state.
- The Federal Government may not treat same-sex relationships as marriages for any purpose, even if concluded or recognized by one of the states.
To drive the point even further, 37 states slowly but surely adopted DOMA as a state-wide regulation further amending state Constitutions. This appalling law tells the American people that it is OK to discriminate. That it is OK to recognize the LGBTQ community as less than equal. This same law, that the California Supreme Court deemed unconstitutional set the precedence for Proposition 8. This same law has nullified many rights that come with Domestic Partnerships. This law does not just affect members of the LGBTQ community – it also repeals rights from heterosexual non-married couples. This law has nullified the heterosexual rights that come with Common Law Marriage. This law blurred the lines of separation of church and state even further. And this law, is one of many that President Elect Barack Obama has PROMISED to repeal in his “Open Letter to the LGBTQ Community.
DOMA is not a speed bump on the road to full equality. It is not even a road block. DOMA is a gigantic brick wall that is crumbling! On January 10th, we encourage you to find a protest in or near your city. Join in this important national moment, where we will work together to shed light on the negative effects of DOMA. Help us get signatures between now and Jan 10th on the Open Letter to Barack Obama. Bob Barr, who created the beast, is now in our corner to help us defeat it! He started the wall crumbling, now it’s time we come together this Saturday with our own “demo team” to help tear it down!
This is the beginning of a new year. Over the next 12 months, we will continue to win in the face of ignorance. We WILL continue to remain visible and strong. We WILL continue to unite for full equality. We WILL take leaps forward in our struggle in ways that this country has not yet seen! And during all this, we must remember what has happened to those who are fighting with us. We must remember that not everyone we deal with will change. We must remember that there is a loud minority who wants to make us victims, and a quiet majority that wants us to be victors. We need to give that quiet majority a voice. We need to drown out the hatred of those who want to hurt us. We MUST remember what has occurred since the beginning of this movement and realize that we have many mountains to climb, but our goal IS reachable and WILL be won!
We must remember what happened in Richmond, CA on December 13th, 2008.
They attacked her because she was gay. Our government provides our community and our love with less rights than our heterosexual allies. This causes a sense of entitlement for those who are ignorant and violent.
They raped her because she was gay. Proposition 8 passed in California stating that same-sex couples do not deserve the same recognition as heterosexual couples. Her partner, in the eyes of the law, does not deserve the same recognition.
They beat her because she was gay. We just spent the past 8 years under a president of who openly stated numerous times that it is a sin to be LGBTQ. When the leader of the free world openly discriminates, what is to stop anyone else?
They left her helpless because she was gay. In 30 states it is still legal to fire someone because they are a member of the LGBTQ community. If your employer can discriminate against you, your government can, and your state voters can, then what is to stop someone from feeling justified by violence?
We are ALL connected. What we say, what we do, and what we vote on DOES affect everyone. When we turn our eyes away from hatred, we allow it to occur. When we remain silent while somebody calls us Faggot, we allow the stereotypes to continue. When we hear a teen year old say “That’s so gay” and don’t speak up, we allow him or her to grow up thinking that it is OK to speak like that about a minority.
Of those arrested, two were teenagers: 15 and 16.
I look forward to a world when I don’t have to say that anyone, did anything, because someone is gay, lesbian, bi, transgendered, or queer.
Please DONATE to Richmond’s Jane Doe and help her and her partner get back on their feet. Her partner needs time off to care for her. We can help. Please learn how you can donate here:http://www.facebook.com/n/?event.php&eid=40712604850