The Year of Moving Forward

The Year of Moving Forward
At our 4 person wedding reception in DC

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Arc of the Moral Universe

Many in the GLBT community feel that two of the many issues facing us are the most important: equality in marriage and repeal of "Don't Ask Don't Tell."

Favorable outcomes are inevitable, the only question is when? "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice," to paraphrase abolitionist Theodore Parker (1853) (A phrase made famous by Martin Luther King, Jr in 1967, echoed by Barack Obama in 2008).

Three items of interest that make me think sooner rather than later.

1. Rep. Patrick Murphy D. PA) says it is his job to "quarterback" the effort to pass legislation to repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell. He has 152 co-sponsors (and need 218 votes to pass). Murphy is an Iraq veteran and a blue dog democrat and recognizes that over 13,000 troops have been discharged, not because of sexual activity but because of sexual orientation.

Like Rachel says, he's the right guy to be leading this fight.

2. Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley has filed a suit in federal court seeking to void the Defense of Marriage Act. She says DOMA is discriminatory and puts her state in conflict with the Federal government.

"Among many of its arguments, Coakley's suit argues that DOMA requires Massachusetts to violate the constitutional rights of its citizens by treating married heterosexual couples and married same-sex couples differently when doling out Medicaid benefits and Social Security payouts to spouses. Coakley brought up another example: Massachusetts is given federal money to maintain a military cemetery that doesn’t allow the same-sex spouses of fallen soldiers to be buried there."

My prediction, given the slow pace that lawsuits take, is that congress will overturn DOMA before the lawsuit does. Or, given the slow pace that congress takes, they may sit on their thumbs and wait to see how the court handles it.

At any rate, something will happen.

3. Steve Hildebrand said in an interview with Rex Wockner that President Obama is listening and is on top of things with the gay issues.

Photo Credit Rex Wockner

Openly gay Steve Hildebrand was Barack Obama's deputy national campaign director. He has spoken with the president in the last couple of weeks. Here are some highlights.

Regarding the justice department brief that upset so many gays: "he did not read the brief in advance but he subsequently has read the brief and was not happy at all with both the direction as well as the language that was used -- and that he expects much better from his administration."

On Don't Ask Don't Tell: "Barack Obama as president and commander in chief is, and will continue to go through, a process, methodically, to get the ducks in a row in order to get the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell done in a successful way that isn't just going to happen overnight."

On the power of the gay community: "I think too many people in the gay community do not push their elected officials as hard as they should. If you had 20 gay people together in a room and asked how many of them actually have reached out and either called, e-mailed or sent a letter to their member of Congress over the last two months, I would say the vast, vast majority of them will have done nothing...We need more voices, we need louder voices, and we need to tell politicians at every level we're not willing to take their excuses anymore."

On gay frustration with the president: "He can't change the world overnight and -- I'm doing my best to say this without providing excuses -- but this is a president who was handed a larger number of really big issues to deal with at the beginning of his presidency than any other president in history. He's got to get an economy moving, he's got to get the troops out of Iraq, there's a lot of big, big problems. At the same time, he is working within his administration to try and get in a position to get some meaningful things done to help the gay community achieve equality."

On Artur Davis (well, not by name, but): "... for too many decades now of people who say, "Yes, we support equality," but then they go to Washington and they don't do anything about it. They're too wrapped up in figuring out how to win their next election and they're not concerned enough about doing what's right for the American people. "

So, these three items give me confidence that the arc of justice is getting shorter, as my patience is extending a little bit.

1 comment:

Javi said...

Don't you just love the state of Massachussets? Makes me want to move up there!