In Maine, voters will decide whether or not to uphold the state's legalization of same-sex marriage. In Washington state, a so-called "everything but marriage" law that expands the state's current domestic partnership law will be on the ballot. And in Kalamazoo, Mich., voters will decide on an ordinance that prohibits discrimination against gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender individuals....
Lawmakers in Washington state have taken an incremental approach to increasing gay rights without actually taking on the state's marriage ban, which was upheld by the state Supreme Court in 2006. The following year, lawmakers passed the state's first domestic partnership law granting a handful of rights, like hospital visitation, to gay and lesbian couples.
In 2008, that law was expanded to add more rights, and this year the latest law added such partnerships to all remaining areas of state law where currently only married couples are mentioned. The statutes range from labor and employment rights to pensions and other public employee benefits.
Nearly 12,000 people in Washington state are registered as domestic partners, and while the underlying law that was passed in 2007 allows some older heterosexual couples to register as domestic partners, most of the couples are gay.
Conservative Christians rallied to get Referendum 71 on the November ballot, arguing that Washington state's latest move is the last step before full civil marriage for gay and lesbian couples in the state.
[For the full article, see here.]
Incrementalism has no place when civil rights are at stake! "Equality" is all or nothing! You either have equality or you don't!
There is no such thing as having "some equality," and LGBT people, leaders, and allies must come to recognize this basic fact of life!
Although such incremental gains as Domestic Partnerships and Civil Unions seem attractive in the short-run, particularly when hope is held out by the states that the same rights that accrue to Marriage will also accrue to these other institutions, by using any other label than "Marriage," same-sex love is still consigned to an inferior category to that of heterosexual love; deprives same-sex couples of the federal benefits (over a thousand of them) that heterosexual married couples enjoy.
Moreover, incrementalism, by throwing some crumbs of promised "equality" to Gay people, blinds LGBT people and allies to the fact that civil rights for any minority group must never be allowed to be put to a vote by the electorate!
Also, since when is it acceptable to allow tax exempt religious institutions to practice discrimination, denying same-sex marriage within most of those institutions, and also having the gall to seek to impose their own prejudiced and erroneous interpretations of the Bible onto our civil society; seek to remove and/or prevent equal rights for Gay people?
What kind of "Christianity" (or any other religion for that matter) seeks to deny dignity and civil rights to members of any minority group? Disciples of Christ love and don't judge others; seek to embrace all of God's children; are agents of God's grace in this world!
Also, what kind of LGBT rights "leadership" affirms the warped views of exclusivist and discriminatory religion as seen in the following article?
Los Angeles-based Love Honor Cherish proposed ballot language to strike the ban approved by state voters in November as Proposition 8.
The new ballot proposal says religious institutions would not be required to perform same-sex unions if it conflicts with their beliefs.
"The refusal to perform a marriage under this provision shall not be the basis for lawsuit or liability, and shall not affect the tax-exempt status of any religious denomination, church or other religious institution," reads the exemption, an attempt by Love Honor Cherish to defuse one of the arguments Proposition 8 sponsors used to garner support last fall.
Submitting wording to the California attorney general is the first step in qualifying a measure for an election. Once the language is approved, backers would have until mid-April to gather the 695,000 signatures needed to put the initiative on the November 2010 ballot.
[For the full article, see here.]
By affirming the right of religions to discriminate against Gay couples who seek to make a lifetime commitment to each other, the authors of this new ballot proposal (a bad idea to begin with) tacitly agree with the right of religious institutions to discriminate against Gay people! By futilely attempting to do an end run around expected ads that would argue that ministers would be subject to arrest if same-sex marriage were instituted in California, the authors of this new ballot proposal are playing right into the oppressor's hands by giving discriminatory, tax exempt religion a pass!
As my good friend, Don Charles, wrote to me: "Some marriage equality activists make Stepin Fetchit look like Huey Newton."
Since when is it acceptable or even Constitutional for one's civil rights to be determined by the will, whims, and desires of the electorate, made up primarily of the dominant group that usually has little or no interest in granting such rights; can be easily swayed by simplistic sound bites that are bought and paid for by monies and lies from tax exempt religious and other allied institutions?
As I previously wrote:
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.
So, it is inappropriate, counterproductive, and downright wrong to affirm the right of religious institutions to discriminate; allow discriminatory religious institutions to maintain their tax exempt status; settle for crumbs of incrementalism regarding civil rights; put civil rights to a vote of the electorate, thereby allowing a tyranny of the majority.
These issues demand meaningful and coordinated activism at the local and national levels, with their Constitutional adjudication occurring at the Supreme Court level.
And I hope that the Equality March on October 11th serves as a credible vehicle to help promote and stimulate the grassroots and organizational activism necessary to achieve the goal of full equality for people who are now consigned to second class citizenship within a society that defines itself as a Representative Democracy that was deliberately designed as such by our Founding Fathers to prevent a tyranny of the majority; a tyranny to which all too many LGBT leaders and others are willing to subscribe.