Saturday, March 19, 2011

A Day in Federal Court for White House 13

Yesterday the thirteen of us who handcuffed ourselves to the White House Fence on 15 November 2010 to protest DADT were arraigned in Federal Court. A short and accurate depiction of what occurred in Court can be found in an article at MetroWeekly. The action was both necessary, and subsequently proved important,in drawing attention to the policy of Don't Ask Don't Tell.

Last fall it appeared that the repeal of DADT was going to be swept under the carpet by the administration and simply ignored. Our action made national headlines and helped put a much needed spotlight on the repeal of DADT. This much needed attention helped motivate members of the US Senate to take up the matter of repeal, that thankfully concluded with the Senate approving repeal legislation and delivering it to President Obama's desk for signature. The repeal process is still not a "done-deal" certification is required by the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Secretary of Defense and the President. It appears that this process of certification will be completed sometime this summer, or fall. However, we have been let down before and pressure still needs to be kept up to make sure that we are not sold down the river in yet another "compromise."

Meanwhile, in Maryland we lost a battle for Marriage Equality. It is important to remember that we are engaged in a war for our human dignity and full Civil Rights. In any war, battles will be won and lost. Paris fell to the Nazis in May of 1940 and Hitler danced in delight. It was a battle lost, but the war continued on for many more years. Paris was liberated after the invasion of France by allied forces in 1944 and eventually the Nazis were defeated. We will ultimately triumph because both right and reason are on our side. However, many sacrifices will have to be made to secure our just victory.

One thing that we as a community must do after a defeat, such as the ones in California (with Prop 8) and most recently in Maryland, is to ask ourselves why we lost. A business CEO speaking on the BBC stated that in Corporate America no one wants to admit failure. He went on to say, we need to own our failures because, we do not learn from our successes but from our failures. We also have to look at what the forces of bigotry did and how/why they won.

Some brief observations, we need to work together. Sadly, many LGBTQ organizations view equality as their private proprietary property. We need to become focused on the mission of attaining full Civil Rights and less focused on organizational loyalty. I'm traveling at present, but will develop this more fully in another blog post.

A heartfelt thanks to all those who have worked so hard to secure our Civil Rights in Maryland, and other battle states. You have laid a foundation on which we will continue to build and together we shall overcome hate, bigotry and ignorance with love, decency and truth.

1 comment:

Tal said...

Fr. Geoff, thank you for taking a brave stand, and for pointing out something many in our community haven't taken into account, that the repeal of DADT is still not a done deal. We are a relatively small minority, and still easy to malign. We have little if any legal protection in the vast majority of the U.S. Still far to go.