Separate and Unequal

The theme of equality was central to our nation’s founding, with the declaration that “all men are created equal.”  Our country’s history has witnessed the gradual evolution of that core principle from a ruling class that countenanced slavery and subordination toward an egalitarian vision that embraces the inherent equality of all people.  We fought a civil war in part to give life to this proposition.  It is embodied in our Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection under law, and in the other Civil War amendments.  And epic social movements of the past two centuries have moved our country, in fits and starts, further still toward the reality of truly equal opportunity.  As Abraham Lincoln said of the Founders’ vision:

“They meant to set up a standard maxim for free society, which should be familiar to all, and revered by all; constantly looked to, constantly labored for, and even though never perfectly attained, constantly approximated, and thereby constantly spreading and deepening its influence, and augmenting the happiness and value of life to all people of all colors everywhere.”

It's because of this rich history that recent happenings in Nevada and California are so discouraging.  First, the California Supreme Court upheld Proposition 8's ban on same-sex marriage.  Meanwhile, this week Nevada Governor Jim Gibbons vetoed a law that would give domestic partners similar rights and benefits to those enjoyed by Nevada married couples.

In a statement (PDF) released by the Governor, he writes: "My disapproval of this bill should not be taken to suggest that domestic partners are in any way undeserving of rights and protections."  But this is a canard.  As Justice Carlos Moreno, the sole dissenter in this week's California Supreme Court ruling, said:

"Granting same-sex couples all of the rights enjoyed by opposite-sex couples, except the right to call their officially recognized and protected family relationship a marriage, still denies them equal treatment."

He continued to say the ruling "places at risk the state constitutional rights of all disfavored minorities."

Granting gay couples anything but the ability to marriage is fundamentally separate and unequal.  These actions in California and Nevada are a troubling trend and particularly discouraging in light of the recent advances in gay rights in so many other states.

For more, visit The Opportunity Agenda's website.

There's more...

10:00am PST Prop 8 Decision comes down

Just a quick note to state that at 10am today the California Supreme Court will rule on Prop 8 as well as the 18,000 marriages that took place prior to Prop 8's ruling.

Am hoping that the mods at MYDD will have live streaming.

There's more...

Joe the Plumber's Dictionary

Samuel Wurzelbacher aka Joe the Plumber, that reluctant and self-effacing, or is it self-impaling for at times I cannot tell, hero of the American conservative movement has given an interview to that erudite journal of evangelical conviction, Christianity Today. Mr. Wurzelbacher certainly is one for new careers, perhaps all best filed under the rubric of prostitution, for since his fortuitous encounter with Barack Obama back in October that lifted him to these heights of conservative fancy he has played at being a war correspondent, an author and a pundit. And he has been an epic fail at all of these for it seems conservatives these days are all about self-flagellation for they keep on trotting him out for another bout as a whipping post. He must enjoy playing the fool for he sure does excel at it.

He is first asked what about conservatism appeals to him as a Christian. He replies that conservatism "is about the basic rights of individuals" adding the "God created us" and that "the Founding Fathers based the Constitution off of Christian values." They go "hand-in-hand" he assures us. Damn better make sure the President adds him to his short list for the Supreme Court. Joe the Constitutional scholar. He further adds that he feels a connection to the Republican party "because individual freedom should not be legislated by the federal government."

There's more...

Camp Courage

The clapping started slow, grew  faster, stomping feet joined in and then the cheering became infectious. When the echo died away,  I knew I had become part of a new gay movement for social change.

Packed into a weekend and aptly named Camp Courage after its namesake organization, the COURAGE CAMPAIGN, I was one of approximately 150 civil rights advocates who gathered  Saturday morning at 9 a.m. at the Handlery Hotel in San Diego. Black and white, gay and straight,  participants ranged in age from their 60's into their teens. Upon arrival we were randomly assigned into groups of six, and this group became our home base for the weekend.

Here  we  told each other our stories, and like others in their own groups I quickly bonded with my own special gang that included Buddy, a gay man whose partner was in anther group; Nii, our gay black facilitator; Paul, a straight white guy who just didn't think we were getting a fair deal; Anita, a mother of a gay boy, motivated by love for her son to embrace a whole movement; Shelby and me, two white  older lesbians; and our other facilitator, Scotti, a young white guy from Fresno and proud of it.

Together, we comprised a powerful mixture of black and white, gay and straight and this zinged right inside the hard places where I had harbored hurt from the passageof prop. 8.  The black lesbian and gay facilitators and leaders as well as the  black particpants swiftly erased the blame after Prop. 8's passage that I had been harboring against all black Obama supporters [I had been for Hillary after all]  And happily, within hours I could see that this view had been wrong and stupid. I gave it up gladly.

On Saturday we listened to Cleve Jones, union organizer, advisor on the film MILK and rabble rouser extraordinaire. Within our groups we wrote down our own life story, then   we listened to each other, talked to each other, and all the while we cried and laughed and felt more empowered with each passing hour. Both days ended  in breakout sessions on canvassing, using the internet, house parties, phone banking, volunteer recruitment, leadership 101, and retention.

The training is powerful, and the organizers were clear from the start: an army of gays and their friends will win gay rights once and for all. Isn't it time? YESSS!! We all roared back.

Camp Courage is part of the Courage Campaign led by Rick Jacobs. It was founded by and is  led by gay veterans of the Camp Obama campaign who were lacerated by the defeats for gay rights in California in November. Co-founders Torrie Osborn and Mike Bonin who are amply aided by Lead Facilitator and Trainer Lisa Powell are ushering in a new movement which is bringing much needed Change to  the LGBT movement. Gone is the top down structure of a handful of leaders  dictating to the foot soldiers--a sadly bankrupt model which had dominated the movement for decades.

In its place is an organization dedicated to empowering the grass roots, to  training organizers and to marshaling support for a gay movement.  

This movement as you read this is becoming networked, allied and well integrated into the progressive movement, maybe even  leading it. From labor unions to church organizations, from kids to grandparents, Camp Courage is providing gays, gay organizations and their straight allies with all the tools and help required to win full civil rights for gays in every sphere of life where prejudice and bigotry have prevailed. We are on the march now and nothing less will be acceptable other than Full marital rights, Full military rights  and Full immigration rights.

I'm wearing a little white ribbon for marriage equality as I write this. And arrayed in my heart are the faces and voices of all I met this weekend. I fell a little bit in love with All the Camp Courage participants. We listened to each other and we loved each other. And we are on the march.

http://www.couragecampaign.org/

There's more...

Courage Campaign

The clapping started slow, grew faster, stomping feet joined in and then the cheering became infectious. When the echo died away, I knew I had become part of a powerful new gay movement for social change.

Packed into a weekend and aptly named Camp Courage after its namesake organization, the COURAGE CAMPAIGN , I was one of approximately 150 civil rights advocates who gathered  Saturday morning at 9 a.m. at the Handlery Hotel in San Diego. Black and white, gay and straight, participants ranged in age from their 60's into their teens. Upon arriveal we were randomly assigned into groups of six, and this group became  our home base for the weekend.

Here  we  told each other our stories, and like others in their own groups I quickly bonded with my own special gang that included Buddy, a gay man whose partner was in anther group; Nii, our gay black facilitator; Paul, a straight white guy who just didn't think we were getting a fair deal; Anita, a mother of a gay boy, motivated by love for her son to embrace a whole movement; Shelby and me, two white  older lesbians; and our other facilitator, Scotti, a young white guy from Fresno and proud of it.  

Together, we comprised a powerful mixture of black and white, gay and straight and this zinged right inside the hard places where I had harbored hurt from the defeat of prop. 8.  The black lesbian and gay facilitatfors and leaders as well as the  black pariticpants swiftly erased the blame after Prop. 8's defeat that I had been harboring against all black Obama supporters [I had been for Hillary after all].  And happily, within hours I could see that this view had been wrong and stupid. I gave it up gladly.

On Saturday we listened to Cleve Jones, union organizer, advisor on the film MILK and rabble rouser extraordinaire. Within our groups we wrote down our own life story, then we listened to each other, talked to each other, and all the while  we cried and laughed and felt more empowered with each passing hour. Both days ended  in breakout sessions on canvassing, using the internet, house parties, phone banking, volunteer recruitment, leadership 101, and retention.

The training is powerful, and the organizers were clear from the start: an army of gays and their friends will win gay rights once and for all. Isn't it time? YESSS!! We all roared back.

Camp Courage was founded by and is  led by gay veterans of the Camp Obama campaign who were lacerated by the defeats for gay rights in California in November. Co-founded by Torrie Osborn and Mike Bonin and amply aided by Lead Facilitator and Trainer Lisa Powell--Camp Courage and the Courage Campaign, under the leadership fo Rick jacobs, is bringing much needed Change to  the LGBT movement. Gone is the top down structure of a handful of leaders  dictating to the foot soldiers--a sadly bankrupt model which had dominated the movement for decades

In its place is an organization dedicated to empowering the grass roots, to training organizers and to marshaling support for a gay movement.  This movement as you read this is becoming networked, allied and well integrated into the progressive movement, maybe even  leading it. From labor unions to church organizations, from kids to grandparents, Camp Courage is providing gays, gay organizations and their straight allies with all the tools and help required to win full civil rights for gays in every sphere of life where prejudice and bigotry have prevailed. We are on the march now and nothing less will be acceptable except Full marital rights, Full military rights  and Full immigration rights.

I'm wearing a little white ribbon for marriage equality as I write this. And arrayed inside my heart are the faces and voices of everyone I met this weekend. I fell a little bit in love with All the Camp Courage participants. We listened to each other and we loved each other. And we are on the march.

the courage campaign can be reached at: www.ca

 

There's more...

Diaries

Advertise Blogads