To Comfort The Afflicted
And Afflict The Comfortable

To Comfort The Afflicted And Afflict The Comfortable

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Observercast

Pride And Activism

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BY SHARON MARTIN

I get it. You believe what you believe and can’t understand why I don’t believe it, as well. I know, because I can’t understand why everyone doesn’t agree with my fundamental truths: [1] We are all connected, each part of a greater whole. [2] The creator who created me, created you, too. [3] No single person, book, or religion has a corner on the truth. [4] Diversity makes the system more resilient. [5] Justice for some is not justice at all.

Here’s something else I don’t understand: two years after the Supreme Court ruled that states could not ban same-sex marriages, two years after friends and family members were able to make their vows legal, why are there people trying to step back progress?

Consider Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas. They met in Paris in 1906 and almost immediately Stein proposed and Alice accepted. They lived as a committed couple for almost 40 years.

Stein and Toklas collected art, including works by Picasso and Matisse. Stein’s will provided for the woman she called her wife. Paintings were to be sold, if necessary, to provide for Toklas’ living expenses. Stein’s extended family would inherit the remains of the estate on Toklas’ death.

That’s not what happened. A nephew removed the paintings and placed them in storage. Toklas died 20 years later, penniless, because she didn’t have the legal protection of a marriage license.

Imagine being kept from the bedside of a dying partner. Imagine being unable to provide family insurance benefits to the person who shares your life and your home.

We can’t go back and set things right, but we must make sure that legal protections stay in place going forward. This requires vigilance.

In 2017, at least eight bills targeting LGBTQ citizens were written by what Freedom Oklahoma Executive Director Troy Stevenson called a “small cabal of bias.” Most of the eight bills, written by just three legislators, tried to chip away at marriage equality. All were mean spirited.

As we celebrate the second anniversary of marriage equality, let’s commit to activism. Let legislators know that backwards is the wrong direction, because I can assure you that the “cabal of bias” isn’t through with its dirty work.

Sharon Martin lives in Oilton, OK and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer