Saturday, October 10, 2009

Establish Justice in the Gate: Prelude to Oct. 11th

Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank says tomorrow's National Equality March is a waste of time. And gay activists in state organizations have been divided about whether to get behind it. But like it or not, folks, it is happening. I was really hoping to be there. But finances being what they are, and the grueling schedule for the coming week with my theater troupe made a jaunt up to DC to declare my queerness a "No go". Instead, I will be gathering with many others here in Tallahassee to wave signs and get dirty looks and horn honks from motorists as we demonstrate outside the Old State Capitol Building at 2pm. It's only an hour, but what the heck--it will be in sympathy with our brothers and sisters in DC.

I know there are some who believe such demonstrations as this are futile. Rep. Frank, a veteran gay Congressman, makes the point that nobody cares about us rallying and stomping our feet on the Mall in Washington, DC. He says it would be better to have had this march at a time when Congress will be in town instead of over the Columbus Day holiday weekend, so folks could lobby their Representatives and Senators. I get it, but I also get why we're demonstrating.

We're fed up! And we're tired of waiting for action.

President Obama, in a speech this evening to the Human Rights Campaign, touched on the military's Don't Ask Don't Tell policy, the backwards policy of silence in the military, which has not curbed the expulsion of gay service members. And while the President says we shouldn't be expelling "patriotic Americans serving this country", his administration has not made the move to strike the policy. Obama remains opposed to same-sex marriage, but says he wants to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. And then his justice department defends the ban on same-sex marriage by issuing a highly-inflammatory legal brief which characterizes my relationship as being akin to incest. He talks of his appointment of gay and lesbian people to various posts in his administration, and the federal hate crimes bill as proof that he cares. And those are good. But given that marriage is the ballot issue-du-jour in so many places, it is a mixed message to have a President say he opposes same-sex marriage, but wants to repeal DOMA.

Such wishy-washy political speech is as helpful as the ongoing shenanigans within the Anglican Communion about the proposed "Anglican Covenant". The Archbishop of Canterbury, who recognizes the problems of homophobia in parts of the Communion, nonetheless is pushing a plan that is designed to punish those members of the Communion who are embracing the LGBT faithful. He continues to refer to my orientation as a "lifestyle" like I can slip on being a lesbian like it's a pair of Levi's. It's offensive, insulting, and ultimately makes any charitable language from the man sound like the empty smacking of lips. Fr. Mark Harris has posted a brilliant speech made by Bishop Peter Selby about resisting the Anglican Covenant. You can link to it HERE. It's long, but worth the read!

When it comes to justice and equality for members of the human family, there is no middle ground. Not for people of color, not for women, and not for LGBT people.

It is time for this nation to establish justice in the gate for its LGBT citizens. And that takes the will of the people to pull their political and church leaders along.


frdougal said...

The military thing seems really quite odd from this side of the Pond: a recent issues of the Army's in house mag "Soldier" (I imagine your equivalent would be "Stars and Stripes") had an openly gay Trooper in the Household Cavalry (horses, red uniforms, funny helmets with white plumes and they go in front of HM's carriage at State do's) on the front cover and announced that he would be hosting a monthly get together for LGBT service personnel, which the Chief of the Defence Staff would be attending in support. Doesn't seem to compromise our combat capability.

Mind you, our girls and boys are all soldiers of the Queen anyway, so we've got a head start!

Anonymous said...

Great Britain seems to get it right, I think, but Susan you missed one thing, the President spoke amazingly well about the organization that I worked in for over 10 years, PFLAG and it got a rousing ovation from the crowd at the HRC dinner.


SCG said...

Peggins, the President always says a lot of amazing things. Action, action, action. Don't tell me you want to end Don't Ask, Don't Tell, when you have it in your power to do that. DADT wasn't a Congressional initiative; he could end it. LBJ stuck his neck out for African-Americans; we are at the 40+ year water mark when it's time for another president to take a bold stand for the rights of those regularly pushed down.

Frdougal: The British prove the point: anyone can serve her majesty... and the gay ones make it all a fine party, indeed! ;)