The Year of Moving Forward

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

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Western Tribune Column November 19 2008

This is my column from today's Western Tribune.

What a mixed bag of emotions the gay community is feeling after the election. A president-elect who believes in equality, and the negating of established marriage rights in California, often thought to be the most liberal state in the nation.

Civil rights did not come easy for African Americans, and this setback will not stop the progression toward equality for gays.

For starters, the Democratic National Platform calls for passage of the employment non-discrimination act, which will prevent employees from losing their jobs because of their sexual orientation, as well as inclusion of sexual identity in hate crimes legislation.

We will also see the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t tell,” the exclusionary policy that prevents gay and lesbian servicepersons from serving openly, in spite of the fact that they have served in our armed forces since day one, probably by your side or in your foxhole if you are a veteran.

But full equality will not be recognized until same sex couples can receive the same benefits that married heterosexuals do. There are over 1000 rights that come with civil marriage.

Since the passage of Prop 8 in California, huge protests have occurred across the nation. This repeal of established rights has left many wondering who is next. Will they try to take away the right of interracial couples to marry? Apparently all it takes is a vote to remove people’s rights. What about the right of Jews to worship? That could be gone with a vote in California. What a dangerous precedent for that state and our nation.

But the one positive thing that has happened as a result is the mobilization of the gay community across the nation. Our country will not be at full strength until we recognize the value and equality of all of our citizens. Fortunately, this mobilization comes as we are looking forward to working with a President who believes in equality.

Barack Obama may not immediately grant all of our wishes, but I would be willing to bet that the first legislation that mentions sexual orientation to be passed and signed by a president will occur within the first year of his administration.

And then we will be on the way to a nation that values each of its citizens.

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