William K. Wolfrum's picture

    Gay Rights Now!!! (right after we solve all the world's other problems)

    Growing up in this great nation of ours, I was taught to have great pride in the freedoms America has bestowed upon its citizens. I learned of the brave Americans who heroically fought to acquire these freedoms, and today I still swell with pride thinking of the Americans that made the ultimate sacrifice to assure that all American citizens would live in the “Land of the Free.”

    Nonetheless, it took time for these freedoms to be acquired. The Founding Fathers were well aware that political pressures meant that they needed contain themselves when it came to bestowing these rights. In essence, there was - and is - the right time for rights.

    In 2009, the Lesbian and Gay communities are fighting to have the same freedoms and rights as other Americans. Currently, gays and lesbians aren’t allowed to serve in the military unless they keep a large part of themselves hidden. Likewise, the multitude of rights provided to married Americans just do not apply to the gay and lesbian community.

    Americans should feel shame in allowing their government to define which of “We the People” are deserving of all the rights and freedoms available and the time for Gay Rights is now. Still, we must go back to the words of our Founding Fathers to see that sometimes these things take time, due to complicated political reasons. A look at some of the famous quotes by great Americans:

    “Each individual of the society has a right to be protected by it in the enjoyment of his life, liberty, and property, according to standing laws. Should these laws not protect groups of Americans, they must wait patiently until Congress can agree that these rights should, in fact, be available to them.”

    John Adams

    “The ordaining of laws in favor of one part of the nation, to the prejudice and oppression of another, is certainly the most erroneous and mistaken policy. An equal dispensation of protection, rights, privileges, and advantages, is what every part is entitled to, and ought to enjoy. And I resolve that once there are no wars, once there is no poverty, once there is no hardship, once there are no important pending bills relating to corporations in the Senate, that we shall judge the political atmosphere and then take under advisement whether we shouldmake these protection, rights, privileges, and advantages available to others aside from rich white men.”

    Benjamin Frankin

    Never have the words of our Founders been more important. This is why we all must fight to guarantee that the protections, rights, privileges, and advantages available to some are available to all. It is time for all Americans, regardless of sexual orientation, to have the full benefit of the freedoms available. By following the advice of the Founding Fathers, we shall repeal “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” the “Defense of Marriage Act” and all other laws that shut out Americans from having the rights that so many Americans gave their life to acquire.

    Once the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are over, and health care reform is passed, and the unemployment problem is solved, and the international financial crisis has run its course, and we solve the illegal immigration problem, and the international dilemmas of Iran, Israel, Pakistan, Honduras, and North Korea are quelled, we will focus on Gay Rights and achieve freedom for all. Provided we have the votes necessary and there’s no election coming up and and no fringe groups make to much of a ruckus about it.

    Yes, when the time is right, we shall fight. Or, as the great American Patrick Henry so proudly stated:

    “Give me liberty or give me death. Provided nothing else pressing is happening and we have the votes necessary to achieve this liberty and are able to break any filibustering against said liberties and are able reach bi-partisan agreement that these liberties are necessary, warranted and don’t upset anyone.”



    Kicking the civil rights can down the road is a tradition as old as the republic itself.

    I very much hope that the above essay was intended to be a parody, and not a heartfelt statement relative to the expansion of civil rights to include gay Americans.  One thing that I have learned, as an activist seeking equality for gay Americans, is that we never win any battles by shuffling out feet, cap in hand, and mumbling about our need for legal and social protection.  We only win the struggle for equality by being somewhat aggressive in our approach -- even if that irritates some people and turns them off completely.  It was by approaching state supreme courts in three states and by forcing the issue that we won the right to marry in those three states (Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Iowa).  It was by aggressively petitioning the state legislatures of Vermont, Maine, and New Hampshire that we won the right to marry in those additional three states (in fact, we had to override the Republican governor's veto in Vermont in order to win this right in that state).

    We are now fighting a pitched battle against the forces of evil (and I do not use that term lightly), represented by the likes of Maggie Gallagher and her "National Organization for Marriage" (which is nothing more than a propaganda-spewing web site devoted to snatching marriage rights away from gay Americans).  Being polite and waiting for other problems to be solved before we approach our government with our own requests gets us absolutely nowhere.

    The First Amendment to the US Constitution reads as follows: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances." [emphasis added].  The provisions of this Amendment have been made binding on the states (as have almost all of the other provisions of the Bill of Rights) through incorporation by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.  The right to petition the government for redress of grievances is a fundamental right, and I fail to see the wisdom or virtue of postponing our petition for equality merely because the nation is also dealing with other issues.  The logical extension of this line of thinking would lead us to never winning any rights at all -- there will always be problems that some lawmakers will consider to be more important than issues such as extending full marriage equality to gay couples.

    So I, for one, reject the notion that we should wait, patiently, until America is “ready” to entertain our petition for equality – whether it be with respect to marriage equality, the passage of measures such as the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), or the repeal of the obscene “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy that is currently being used to drum highly decorated and competent members of the armed forces out of their respective branches of the military.

    I understand that some issues draw upon the national attention span to a greater extent than do the issues which are so important to gay men and lesbians – but this does not mean that we should sit on our hands until the “time is ripe” for us to petition our government (at the state and federal levels) for redress of grievances.  Some issues – for example, the right to marry – are of such fundamental importance to the lives of gay Americans that the only time at which these issues can be resolved is nowtoday,


    Rest easy. It was parody.

    Nicely written.  Too bad so many either take this position literally instead of the satire it is or choose discrimination as a way to rally the religious bigots.

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