To All Gay Americans
When the New York decision was handed down, my friend Corey, a gay man who lives in New York state, sent me an email reminding me to call my congressman to protest. The email included a resource for finding my local representatives. All very democratic.
I say the time for democracy has passed.
Roughly 50 years ago, a group, systematically denied their rights by both their state and federal governments, also decided that democracy had gone as far as it could without a little heat applied to the fire. I suppose it could have gone another way. I suppose they could have waited for democracy. And maybe it even would have worked eventually, maybe the government would have, on it's own, finally started to do it's job and protect them because they were a minority, and because that's what democracy is supposed to be all about, protecting the rights of the minority against the tyranny of the majority.
But I don't believe it. I think had people like Rosa Parks, and Dr. King, and yes, Malcolm X decided to wait, to be patient until white America let them have their rights, African Americans would still be drinking out of different fountains and eating at different restaurants.
I'm not a violent person. What I'm saying isn't a call to anarchy or aggression. But I think the time has come to realize that if you want the same rights as everyone else, you just might have to stand up and take them.
It won't be easy. Not least of all because the erosion of your rights is different than it was for groups before you. Noone tells you where to sit on the bus, and you can eat anywhere you want. But the crime is more sinister against you, because instead of these trivialities they tell you that you can't have a family in the same way as straight people. They tell you that if your partner is sick, they won't be covered under your insurance policy. They tell you that your children are not yours, and the mere fact that you are gay is grounds for them to be taken away. Your boss can fire you for being a homosexual. There is no price too high to free yourselves from this tyranny.
So if the law says that it's legal to discriminate against you because of your sexuality, which is decided at birth or possibly before, then the law is wrong. And you shouldn't obey it.
So get married anyways. Apply for marriage licenses. When they say no, don't accept it. Demand it. Sit in the middle of the town hall until they give it to you or have you arrested, whichever comes first. You will be arrested. When they let you out, do it again. If you are fired from your job for being gay, show up the next day anyways. Keep showing up no matter how many times they arrest you. This is what Civil disobedience is all about. You must make it impossible for your opponents to ignore you. If you have to, cause as much ruckus as you can; make the attempt by public officials to carry out these discriminatory laws as unpleasant and tedious as possible. Don't be disrespectful, but at the same time don't feel too sorry for them. Most are just doing their jobs, but then again, because democracy somehow works for them, they haven't been forced to take this job. Let it be known that if a person chooses to work for a government that suppresses the rights of its citizens, they may have to deal with the consequences. Again, I'm not talking about violence. I'm talking about Civil disobedience.
Some of you may wonder why I'm saying all this. I am after all, not gay. I'm a heterosexual woman. Maybe I don't have the right to say these things. But I'm going to say them anyways. Like the Civil rights movement of 50 years ago, there were some whites who were willing to stand with, even willing to bleed with, African-Americans fighting for their rights. It's become fashionable to suggest that these people were motivated out of "white guilt" or out of some leftover paternalistic attitude towards black Americans. I think that's crap. I think they did it because they believed in freedom. Really believed in it. I know I do. And when you genuinely believe in freedom, that means you believe in it for everybody, not just yourself. When I see people in this country denied their rights, I take it as a personal affront. An attack on my liberties.
So I'm taking a stand. And I know others will as well. If you need us, we'll sit with you in City Hall, we'll get carted off to jail along with you, we'll hide you when they try to take your kids away. But you have to make the first step. You have to stand up and show a massive resistance to the forces trying to oppress you. To borrow a quote from an all too fitting ceremony, speak now, or forever hold your peace.
Civil disobedience- Wikipedia
Nonviolent resistance- Wikipedia
Soulforce- an organization that fights the religious and political oppression of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people using nonviolent resistance.
Categories: Politics, Opinion