Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Marriage: one man, one woman & another woman from Argentina.

This has been a busy week in the news. The Minnesota Supreme Court has ruled that Franken won the race for Senator in that state over his opponent Norm Coleman. The governor, a republican, has stated that he would certify Franken if the court ruled him the winner, but as of this writing the governor has not yet certified Franken. Coleman has not yet announced if he will appeal the State Supreme Court’s decision. If this seems petty and obstructionist, that is because it is; however, at stake is the ability of the Republican Party to mount a filibuster in the US Senate. With Franken’s certification as a US Senator, the Democratic Party will be able to avoid republican filibusters in the Senate.

In New York State, the state senate there is still paralyzed. State senator Pedro Espada (D) has chosen to form a coalition with the republicans in the senate. The republicans rewarded Pedro Espada with the position of President of the Senate for his support of their party. This has split the senate evenly in two 31 (D) v. 31(R). The governor has exercised his constitutional power to require the senate to convene. He has threatened to do this everyday, weekends and holidays included, until the senate takes up pressing legislation.

The republicans are not eager to do so, since among pressing items is a bill for full marriage equality in New York State. Most New Yorkers are in favor of marriage equality and there are the sufficient numbers of votes for passage of such a bill. The courts in New York are requiring the state senate to meet. The senate has met, but the republicans refuse to take up any serious legislation. Among the other victims of this obstruction is the school system.

Meanwhile, in Washington DC President Obama held a press conference in which he stated:

"We seek an America in which no one feels the pain of discrimination based on who you are or who you love, and I know that many in this room don't believe that progress has come fast enough, and I understand that," he said. "It's not for me to tell you to be patient anymore than it was for others to counsel patience to African-Americans who were petitioning for equal rights a half century ago. But I say this: We have made progress, and we will make more. And I want you to know that I expect and hope to be judged not by words, not by promises that I made, but by promises that my administration keeps ... We've been in office six months now. I suspect that by the time this administration is over, I think you guys will have pretty good feelings about the Obama administration."

Obama added that he was working with the Pentagon, as well as Congress, to end "Don't Ask Don't Tell." He called this period a "transition" toward that end but said it had to be done pragmatically, so the new policy works in the long-term.

President Obama invokes the image of the Civil Rights movement for African Americans in the past century and applies it as a parallel with LGBT Civil Rights movement of the present. That is significant of itself. It serves as a rebuke to those who dismiss the suffering of LGBT peoples due to the discrimination they suffer in this society. Suffering which is not limited to loss of employment (as in the case of Lt. Dan Choi and yours truly), housing discrimination, hate crimes, adoption law discrimination, inheritance, etc, etc, etc.

As an attorney recently told me, yes, same-sex couples may acquire many (but not all) of the rights of a heterosexual married couple, but you need to go through several expensive legal steps to do so. Try explaining all those legal nuances to a nurse in the Emergency Room or the Cardiac Care Unit while the person you love needs immediate care and someone has to make those decisions NOW. I am his/her husband/wife would end all of the confusion immediately.

This week the police department of Fort Worth Texas decided to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots by raiding a gay bar and sending some of its patrons to the hospital. Yes, patience is an expensive commodity Mr. President.

It is particularly difficult when it is not some act of nature, but rather a willful malicious act. An act visited upon innocent people who simply wish to live their lives in love and peace. When bigots invoke God, the loving Creator of us all, as a license to inflict evils on their neighbors they reveal their true perversion.


Kevin said...

And I'm sure those police men who live in texas all went to their bible churches on Sunday cause they are God's people. It just makes me SICK! I'm beginning to really lose hope in the common good of man.

Michael Dodd said...

Patience is an expensive commodity indeed. We must not forget that the other side can also be patient -- waiting until the present administration is out of power and can do the LGBT community no good. We do not want to wait patiently while the motor runs out of fuel.

Patience is a luxury that poor people -- even middle class people -- cannot always afford. People die waiting for justice. This is not unfortunate. It is immoral.

As someone -- more than one, in fact -- said, "Let my people go." And God says it today. We are God's people, and God wants us to be free. Today. Not in four years or eight years or forty years.

The time has come.

Bill said...

Very well stated. The last sentence gave me chills.