By Isis Win
“Marriage is an institution that builds character, dedication, trust and love. Everyone should be welcome to commit!” IW
Over the last 20 years, the US has been witnessing the extremes of the spectrum between LGBT intolerance and activism. It didn’t start just 20 years ago. New York City faced the Stonewall Riots in 1969, a quick and decisive start to fighting bigotry, stigmatization, and violence perpetrated against gay, lesbian and transgender people in the city. Those same protests triggered a national movement.
At Stonewall, what supposedly was another moment of harassment, repression and arrests against LGBT people turned into several days of violence in the physical and political realms. Gays and lesbians joined the victims of the New York Police Department, which was protected by all the city authority figures of the time. But the mainstream as well joined the revolts in anger at the unjust, illegal and unconstitutional efforts of the authorities in the Big Apple. The authorities were overwhelmingly outnumbered by the crowds who supported the LGBT resistance. With the Stonewall Riots, LGBT people had changed their tactics from assimilation and concealment to open protest and rebellion, tactics that, in the long run, stopped the LGBT harassment in that city.
As well, in 1966 at the Compton cafeteria in San Francisco, California, the same situation took place and City Hall was, at some point, surrounded by thousands of people demanding justice and freedom for the victims.
But those riots didn’t stop the many acts of violence against gay and lesbians, and as well, discrimination was rampant in most cities across the US. In rural areas being gay or lesbian was the equivalent of wearing a sign asking to be a victim of a crime of hate, therefore for the longest time, gays and lesbians were heavily closeted.
As well, during those days, the American Psychiatric Association labeled homosexuality as a mental/pathological disease and only after a long study and a voting process, was it removed from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders list. Homosexuality went through diagnostic changes in 1974 and 1980, and in 1987, sexual orientation was finally removed from the DSM. Sexual orientation is no longer considered anything else but a natural fact of Mother Nature. Today, science has been able to reliably establish: the causes for homosexuality and gender incongruence are physical, neurological and bio-chemical events that take place during pregnancy and intrauterine development. It is all part of Mother Nature, and there is nothing to be understood, but rather, it is something to be accepted, respected and honored. It is interesting that a few ancient cultures not only honored them, but placed them high in the hierarchy of human nature.
At the time of these riots, activism started to take new heights and several organizations, strong in both numbers and capital, started to address issues of discrimination and violence directed at LGBT people at a legislative level. The issues were illegal, violating Civil Rights protected by the Constitution. In a few words, those issues were primarily a violation of the Separation Clause of the 1st Amendment of the US Constitution (and consequent amendments) that protect freedom. Freedom, that for some strange reason, bigots ignore, based on their personal beliefs, conflating moral and legal issues, and as well ignoring that the separation of church and state goes both ways. The state cannot mind the church’s business and the church cannot mind the state’s business. But the church is blatantly ignoring this, and in the last 10 years, their money and members have been actively advocating against those rights granted by the Constitution.
Clearly, the Victorian actions of Anthony Comstock (1873 Comstock Law) and its consequences prevail, even during this age of amazing technological and industrial progress. It is ironic that the US has actively defended civil rights in many countries for so long, but here in the US, LGBT people, their families, and activist organizations have to advocate and work really hard for those denied rights, rights that were granted in the Constitution, but “removed” by intolerant and fearful vigilantes of morality. It is a clear fact that there is no other option at this point but to seek state and federal legislation that explicitly protects those minorities and their rights. But there is a true and dangerous enemy to those efforts. Considering the fact that gay, lesbian and transgender communities are far outnumbered by close-minded bigots, the battle has been taken to a new arena: the judicial world. If and when these issues are brought to the mainly conservative Supreme Court, legislation either will be created to insure LGBT protection or to see that existing Civil Rights based on the First Amendment will be observed, enforced and protected.
In several states, especially California, a group of the Mormon church worked nonstop to derail the right to same-sex marriage and they won, a right that previously was signed and passed into law by the authorities in that state. Legal same-sex marriage came to an end because those rights that took decades of efforts were unsurprisingly fought by the Mormons. It has been established that the propaganda payed for by them cost more than 10 millions dollars. Now Massachusetts is looking at the same scenario in the upcoming weeks. A referendum will be held, and who knows what the outcome will be. Somehow, I am optimistic because that state is more progressive than California.
During the last two elections, and even more so during this one, advocates against those constitutional rights guaranteed to everyone, including LGBT people, are making their voices heard by the political seekers for the official presidential nomination of the Republican Party. They know well that their monies can buy a lot of favors. But as well, two top contenders, Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman, are Mormons, and they’ve expressed their views against gay and lesbian people. It is amazing and revolting that this nation, which is known world-wide for its defense of constitutional rights, is ignoring the fact that the denial of gay and lesbian rights (much like the denial of the right to abortion), are plain violations of the American Constitution. But as well, no GOP candidate or their supporters have been capable of stating that those issues should not be of campaign significance, but rather, are only personal views of each individual. Because they are religious or moral views, the best of that those antagonistic members of our society can do is to discuss those problems that they see, but not to try to enforce their views through their financial, verbal, or voting power. This constitutional violation is as bad as it would be if those that support gay and lesbians rights were to take their complaints against those churches or religions that attack what is nothing else but the right to live accordingly to everyone’s preferences or choices to the government. LGBT equality is a case of personal freedom granting every single civil right to every American without any exception.
The US constitution clearly states that every single American citizen is entitled to live freely, express themselves with the same freedom, and that no belief or creed can rightfully attempt to change that. Those that do make such changes should be made responsible and be taken to the court of law, because that vital and constitutional right should be protected at all cost. But instead, politicians make a mockery of that right by playing their cards in such a way as to gain the vote and financial support of those individuals that lack even the required common sense of being a voter. The very same way the government should respect religions, their members and the beliefs of those religious minds, religious or moralist vigilantes should respect our constitution, the same that is the cornerstone of this nation.
We’ve gone through decades and decades of horrendous crimes of hate against LGBT people. Crimes that are only comparable to the suffering and punishment that African-Americans faced before segregation was eradicated, and to what the Jewish people faced at the hands of the Nazis. But this is the second decade of the 21st century. We know way better about human and civil rights and yet we still are attempting to negotiate whether those rights will be observed and enforced? It is even worse, when those rights become part of the voting process to office. How blind must people be to fail to realize that these issues, for as long as they exist, will derail the basic principles of what this nation is about, and not just the LGBT people! In fact, those that are fighting same-sex marriage do so because they judge it immoral, but they are unable to present any substantive proof that such an assumption is correct, and do not even look at the fact that their efforts, by themselves are immoral and go against all the grain of their faith. Even theologians of all venues have consistently stated that there is no entry in the Bible that states such condemnation against homosexuality. Theologians, anthropologists and archeologists have a total different interpretation of Biblical citations, finding that they have nothing to do with pointing to gay and lesbians as undeserving creatures; not by God, Jesus Christ nor any of the apostles. There is no evidence for that. So, what entitles someone on that side of the fence, to take the lead and bring to the table antagonism against LGBT people and homosexuality when there is no true argument to fight it? No, they have no right to do so, therefore they buy favors from the politicians with their money and vote. After all, not even a president of the US can do anything against those rights, because it would be a violation of the Constitution and such can be heavily penalized, even for an US president!
But let’s not forget that marriage right is exclusively about a legal union of two committed people and such come with legal rights, as much as legal obligations, and that marriage was instituted for the preservation of a stable society that contributes to the well-being of their nation. Whether gay and lesbian people are granted that right, or not, they will remain as a couple and their contribution for the country will be alike. The difference will be that marriage rights, such as tax, legal, health and financial benefits are denied to them. So they have to contribute but get no benefit for their contributions? It simply makes no sense but as well, it is plainly unfair and illegal.
Candidates to legislative office will promise you, swear to you, you name it, that they will fight against same-sex marriage, fight the repeal of DADT, and block all rights to LGBT people but they will never achieve any of that. In fact, all they can do is to mess up this process so badly, that in the long run it will end up in the hands of the Supreme Court, which will have no choice but to defend the Constitution.
It is in the best interest of humanity to remove any traces of stigmatizing, discrimination and plain old intolerance. After all, we all have to share our world, nation, neighborhood, etc, but it works better if we all are amicable, rather than not. It is just a matter of time. Meanwhile bigots can spend their fortunes, lobby politicians, buy favors, even take a personal retribution against LGBT people but all their efforts are vain and futile because more and more people are becoming conscious about those issues that not long ago were under the veil of darkness. Not long ago, and for far too long, myths about homosexuality were propagated by those who are unable to find compassion, consideration, understanding and as well who are full of arcane ignorance. So, shoot, shut, fear, hate but it will change nothing. The natural course of human understanding, freedom and compassion will reach almost everyone sometime soon. And you if really hate it, just remember and vote for your favorite candidate and at the end, you will get what you truly deserve. More importantly, LGBT people will get their well-deserved rights.