BY JAMES NIMMO
As we GLBTs emerged sweaty and disheveled from our post-coital ruckus in Maine, I’m reminded that this is America and everything is for sale, including our gay/lesbian equality – that’s the American way, you know.
You want to know how we’re going to sell it?
In 1764 an Italian nobleman named Cesare Beccaria wrote, “If we glance at the pages of history, we will find that laws, which surely are or ought to be compacts of free men, have been for the most part, a mere tool for the passions of some.”
I’m referring to the heartbreakingly close, yet lost, Maine election early in November where we gays/lesbians thought we had a better-than-good chance of winning through the ballot box the recognition of our civil equality under the law.
Unfortunately, the religious right has used the referendum petition process in 31 states to turn our birth certificates of citizenship into raffle tickets for discrimination where the prize is our continued lack of full equality and recognition of our birthright under the law.
Our civil rights cause has been de-railed 31 times at the ballot box by the usual deception of the biblically-deluded using the prejudiced superstitions that gays recruit and stalk children and teenagers.
Not only are gays/lesbians still second-class taxpayers, all of the residents of those 31 states, regardless of sexual orientation, are also honorary members of the Mormon, Roman Catholic, and Southern Baptist denominations, to name only three of the biggest religious oppressors in the USA. I say this because it’s the oppressor’s anti-gay religious POVs that have become encoded into civil law.
The United Church of Christ [UCC], Unitarian, and Reform Judaism adherents have passed guidelines allowing their clergy to perform their own versions of same-gender marriage without recognition from the resident state. Their First Amendment religious freedom is blocked by the actions and money of the theocrats whose dogma trumps all attempts at fairness and fulfillment of our lives.
Justice guaranteed by the Constitution is thwarted by ignorance and prejudice.
Only Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Connecticut have legislatively passed marriage equality for same-gendered Americans. The state of Washington earlier this month rejected the homo-haters attempt to overturn a law called, “Everything but Marriage.”
Since the ballot box/civil rights raffle process is spent and flaccid, activists John Aravosis and Joe Sudbay are calling for a boycott or a withholding of contributions – Don’t Ask, Don’t Give – to the Democratic Party until we get the results they’ve promised us for years, like passage of employment protection [ENDA], removal of marriage discrimination [DOMA], and the privilege to serve in the military [DADT].
In our American two-party political system laws have been made the passionate tools to be used against us as Beccaria observed centuries ago.
The GOP couldn’t care less if GLBTs lived or died. Did you see Mary Cheney at the October March on Washington? So that leaves the Democratic Party as the only game in town, politically speaking, and they think they have a monopoly on our affections but with their repeated stalling and inaction on important gay issues I’m through believing them. Remember, it took 11 years for Congress to pass the Shepard/Byrd Hate Crimes Law, and only two months for Congress to pass the AMBER Alert in 2002. http://bit.ly/1Iv8Q0
The Victorian novelist George Meredith said, “It’s a terrific decree in life that one must act who would prevail.” If our GLBT cause is just then we must act to accomplish it; no one will give it to us freely.
Until we have a sustained, visible, assertive, yet peaceful action to justify our equality and citizenship, we gays/lesbians will continue to be looked at as just limp-wristed targets for abuse, politically and physically.
What’s it going to be: always the bridesmaid, never the bride; always the best man, never the groom?
– James Nimmo lives in Oklahoma City and is an occasional contributor to The Oklahoma Observer