Equality California is launching a campaign to get LGBT people involved to share their stories about marriage in a variety of ways.
“Forgive me if I’m not patient. I don’t want to be ‘other’ anymore. I want to be married.”
In society and in the church, in many ways, it is our voices that have been left out — systematically and intentionally — and it is time that we insist on telling them. After all, no matter how much “others” love us and support us, no one can tell our stories in the same way that we can. As Henri Nouwen said, “We have to trust that our stories deserve to be told. We may discover that the better we tell our stories the better we will want to live them.” So whether we tell our stories in written form or orally, we just need to tell them and tell them — and to know that they are valid and they are useful, and the telling of our stories is something that we are supposed to do. It is a way of claiming our lives as our own, and as legitimate.
Today was a big day for us. The House passed Hate Crime legislation despite the major opposition of the “Religious Right” and the threat of a veto by that guy who occupies the White House. It goes to the Senate next: if your Senators are fence-sitters, you MUST contact them to let them know how important this is; if they are opponents, call them and tell them that you are a constituent who is negatively affected by their vote; and if they are supportive, call their office and thank them. The Capitol switchboard phone number is (202) 224-3121. They’ll transfer your call to the appropriate office. Or go to http://www.congress.org/congressorg/directory/congdir.tt to find out how to contact your Senators.
And Deb Price’s column lists the progress that we have made for marriage equality THIS MONTH alone.
Gay Lawmakers Help Give Nation an Astonishing April
When Connecticut state Rep. Beth Bye’s turn came to speak about the need for her legislature to approve gay marriage, she tearfully recalled her devout Catholic father’s loving participation in her civil union ceremony, then described the pain of being excluded from actual marriage.
The freshman lawmaker recounted filling out a health-care form: Her choices were “married,” “divorced,” “widowed,” “single” or “other.”
“Forgive me if I’m not patient,” Bye told Connecticut’s joint House-Senate Judiciary Committee. “I don’t want to be ‘other’ anymore. I want to be married.”
Bye’s touching plea helped create a wonderfully lopsided victory — the 27-to-15 committee vote that endorsed opening marriage to gay couples. Gay marriage now goes to the full state House and Senate. (To watch Bye’s moving testimonial, go to lmfct.org.)
Connecticut’s breakthrough is just one of a series of astonishing gay advances in the past three weeks. The headline-grabbing victories stretched from coast to coast and shared one thing in common: A gay lawmaker played a key role.
“We have seen in the last month at almost every major win, almost always there is an openly gay legislator behind that story,” says Denis Dison of the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, which helps elect openly gay or transgender officials, who now number 370.
Here’s a quick tick-tock:
April 12: Connecticut’s powerful Judiciary Committee overwhelmingly approves same-sex marriage.
April 19: Oregon Senate votes, 19 to seven, to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in housing, employment, public accommodations and public education. Two days earlier, the House did as well, 35 to 25. Oregon’s House also passed a domestic partner bill, 34 to 26, on April 17, which would grant gay couples all the state-level rights of marriage. The Senate is expected to follow suit. Gov. Ted Kulongoski, a Democrat, promises to sign both bills.
April 21: Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire, a Democrat, signs a domestic partnership bill, giving gay couples important marriage-like rights.
April 24: Out gay U.S. Reps. Barney Frank, D-Mass., and Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., help reintroduce legislation to ban job discrimination based on sexual orientation and for the first time include gender identity. The bill’s prospects of passing Congress are encouraging.
April 25: Iowa’s House votes 59 to 37 to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity at work and many other places. Hours later, the Senate agrees, 34 to 16. Democratic Gov. Chet Culver says he’ll sign the protections into law. (Iowa and Oregon will bring to 19 the states prohibiting anti-gay job discrimination and to 10 the number banning anti-trans discrimination.)
April 26: New Hampshire’s Senate follows its House by embracing civil unions, 14 to 10. Gov. John Lynch, a Democrat, says he’ll sign it. So, New Hampshire, which hosts the first 2008 presidential primary, will be the fourth civil union state — joining Vermont, Connecticut and New Jersey. New Hampshire is the first state to act without being prodded by a lawsuit.
April 27: Five years after a gay state senator began pushing for marriage equality, New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, a Democrat, becomes the first U.S. governor to introduce gay marriage legislation.
If you ever wonder whether it’s important for gay people to risk being out at work, just review this wonderful list. Gay lawmakers, out at work, are rocketing our country forward.
Deb Price of The Detroit News writes the first nationally syndicated column on gay issues. To find out more about Deb Price and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at www.creators.com.
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