On Saturday night, I went out to the historic Orange Circle to join some friends in asking for a special gift for the holidays. We weren’t asking for anything expensive or extravagant. All we really want is equality.
Yes, that’s right. All we want is the gift of equality. This nation has simultaneously experienced a great leap forward in civil rights with the election of Barack Obama as our next President and a major setback in civil rights with the passage of same-sex marriage bans here in California, as well as in Arizona and Florida, along with an adoption ban in Arkansas. These last three weeks since the election have been so awkwardly painful not just for LGBT people, but for all people who care about equal rights.
However, November 4, 2008, isn’t the end date of this story of the long struggle for equality. Rather, it’s just turned out to be a new beginning. People from all over America, even here in Orange County, have filled the streets to peacefully ask for equality.
That’s what happened last Saturday night in Orange. While others all around us went out to eat and drink and party, we were out to ask for the holiday gift of equal rights. We had students from Chapman along with families from nearby neighborhoods. We had little girls ask why their mommies couldn’t marry, and we had young couples ask why they couldn’t marry. Why can’t all loving relationships be equally legally recognized?
Well, there is some good news. The state supreme court has now agreed to answer that question. Fortunately, we have great allies in court with a strong case to make for the invalidation of Prop 8, the unconstitutional marriage ban. And better yet, our progressive allies are preparing for a campaign to secure our rights no matter what happens in court.
Still, we can’t just expect victory. We have to make victory happen! I mean it. We may not be able to argue in front of the court, and we may not be able to develop campaign plans for 2010 & 2012. But believe it or not, we can still give each other the gift of equality this holiday season.
How so? We can give each other (or ourselves!) the gift of equality by supporting these organizations working for victory on the legal AND political fronts!
This campaign is NOT over, not by a long shot! And really, what better gift for the holidays than real equal rights? So why buy those typical material presents that may or may not be used? Why not give the ones you love a very special gift that everyone will cherish?