Update: January 20, 2013
I’m still a “Second Class Citizen”. While the overall picture hasn’t changed on a federal level from when I first wrote this for my blog one year ago, there are more court decisions that agree that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage as that between a man and a woman, is unconstitutional. And, this spring, the U.S. Supreme Court has scheduled arguments to hear a case that may finally put to rest the debate that DOMA is wrong and that decision may force DOMA to be repealed just as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was in the fall of 2011.
Also, in the past year since writing this, three more states, Maine, Maryland, and Washington now allow marriage equality. This is huge because it wasn’t decided by politicians or court-appointed judges. This measure was voted on and passed by the great people of those states in an election. And, in Minnesota, while marriage equality wasn’t voted on, people there voted NOT to add that marriage should be between a man and a woman to the state constitution. That sets the stage in the future for a vote that would allow same-sex marriage!
More states are preparing to make marriage equality and civil unions a priority this year!
Even with these accomplishments, we still have a long way to go.
For instance, this past November, voters in two Kansas cities (Salina and Hutchinson) repealed gay-inclusive anti-discrimination laws that had been adopted by the cities’ government early in 2012.
And, that isn’t all. Kansas state lawmakers also tried to pass the “Kansas Preservation of Religious Freedom Act”, which would allow anyone to discriminate against LGBT people if they think that it violates their “religious freedom.” Luckily, it died when the session ended and the Senate did not vote on it. Kansas Governor Sam Brownback said that he would have signed the bill.
I’ve always said that LGBT activists alone will not win these fights, our straight allies will be the catalyst for success. But, my friends, here is my original blog from one year ago with the most amazing and compelling video. I hope you take the time to watch it and understand why I do what I do.
ORIGINAL POST: January 8, 2012
To my friends, some think I’m first class, but to the federal government and 44 states, I’m a second class citizen. But, because of our constant fight for equality and great people like you being open-minded and working with us, we’re making progress for equal rights.
While only Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, and the District of Columbia have marriage equality, three other states: Maryland, Rhode Island, and New Mexico officially pledge non-discrimination against marriages between same-sex couples from other states.
“Freedom to Marry” reports that there are other protections, short of marriage, in other states: civil unions in Illinois, Hawaii, and New Jersey, and broad domestic partnership in Oregon, Washington, Nevada, and California. Smaller packages of protections for same-sex couples are available in Maryland, Maine, Colorado, and Wisconsin.
And, recently Washington Governor Christine Gregoire introduced a marriage equality bill by saying, “Some say domestic partnerships are the same as marriage. That’s a version of the discriminatory, separate but equal argument of the past….We must tell these children and their families that they’re every bit as equal and important as any other family in Washington state.”
We’re making advances, but with all of hate being spewed by many Republican Presidential wannabees and hate groups like National Organization of Marriage, the Family Research Council, and many religious groups spreading misinformation about how gay people will undermine the institution of marriage and families, we have to work harder.
“Freedom to Marry” reports that over 35% live in a state with either marriage or a broad legal status such as civil union/domestic partnership. That also means that about 65% live in a state where I would be treated as a “second class citizen”.
Take a minute, well, seven minutes to watch this amazing video put together by Ryan James Yezak. It shows you why I’m so vocal about equality and why I fight for my rights.
Peace, my brothers and sisters. One person at a time, one day at a time, and one state at a time.