Friday, June 26, 2009

CIVIL RIGHTS MUST NOT BE DETERMINED AT THE BALLOT BOX

In a group on Facebook entitled, "Rights Again in 2010," that supports trying to get Prop. 8 overturned at the ballot box next year, I wrote the following earlier this month:

We can't spend our time and tremendous amounts of monies trying to get the majority of the electorate to vote for equal rights. If integration of African Americans was put on the ballot in each state during the civil rights era, we would still have segregation and Jim Crow laws! There must be meaningful, coordinated, and aggressive grassroots, street, and organizational activism, coupled with the filing of civil suits at the federal level, to achieve equal rights. "Separate is not equal," and that fact must be, and undoubtedly will be, affirmed by the Judiciary in regard to Gay people, as it was for African Americans, and not left to the will and whim of the majority of the electorate, for to do so demeans Gay people, and puts each and every minority group's rights up for grabs. We would never think of putting one or more civil rights of Jews, of African Americans, of Asians, etc. on the ballot to be voted upon, and Gay people's civil rights must not be treated any differently.

It is demeaning to go hat in hand, beseeching people to vote for the civil rights that heterosexuals enjoy and even take for granted! Self-respect and dignity would demand that this fight be won in the Legislative and Judicial branches of government!

Just as it is naive for people to hold out hope that Obama really wants to annul DADT and get Congress to repeal DOMA but hasn't yet gotten around to doing so, it is naive to hold out hope that most of the electorate will grant full and equal civil rights to any minority group out of the goodness of their hearts, out of "the milk of human kindness."

The ratification of Prop. 8 at the polls last November, and the California State Supreme Court's upholding that vote last month; Obama showing no evidence of desiring to repeal DADT as he promised he would in his electioneering; Obama's Dept. of Justice assiduously defending DOMA in federal court, even going so far as to invoke the specter of incest in defending that policy, all have served to bring the revulsion felt by LGBT people and allies at the second-class status of LGBT people in the United States to a critical mass, where the necessary coordinated, meaningful grassroots and organizational activism is becoming more of a reality.

Part of that activism is due to occur on October 11, 2009 in a March on Washington, led by Cleve Jones who was an associate of Harvey Milk.

Another important part of that activism is articulated in The Dallas Principles.
Share |

2 comments:

DON CHARLES aka "STUFFED ANIMAL" said...

Jerry,

You're on a roll! Pride month is bringing out the best in your writing.

Jerry Maneker said...

Thanks so much, Don Charles. I've always greatly benefited by your encouragement and support. Best wishes, Jerry.