A close friend of mine wrote and posted this on Facebook today (http://www.facebook.com/charlierogers
). The last one is my personal favorite.
This is War: Some Ideas For Gaining Equality
Today at 1:53pm
Today the New York State Senate voted against a bill that would provide marriage rights to homosexual couples. The outcome was especially disappointing as eight Democrats, generally the party with which gay people identify themselves, voted no, and even more disappointing as the State Assembly had resoundingly voted for it, and the Governor had promised to sign it into law if the Senate had passed it as well.
This development comes just over a year after California's voters overturned a judicial decision that allowed gay marriage in that state, through the state's referendum process.
New York and California are generally considered to be the vanguards of American culture, housing almost our entire television, movie, publishing and music industries. And the right-wing often decries those same media outlets as being excessively liberal, which would suggest that NY and CA are some of the most liberal states in the country. But within a year, both have rejected gay marriage.
Not to mention the total nonstarter that is the repeal of the national Defense of Marriage Act.
Let me make something clear here. Gay marriage is not a question of why or how, but of when. There are simply no legitimate arguments against what is ultimately a violation of the civil rights of a segment of the population. There is no precedent of any other institution, aside from its own military, that any American government, at any level, supports while that institution practices discrimination. The religious argument will not hold, as long as special rights and privileges are offered to married couples, as we have a pretty clear rule in this country that we cannot allow any religion, or even a collective of all the major faiths, to dictate policy. It's stated quite plainly in the Constitution.
So gay marriage is inevitable. In fact, it already exists in a handful of states, and it's simply a matter of time until the other states have to fall in line. Simply a matter of time. But if you ask me, that time should be now. Not next year, not after the next election cycle, not in a generation, not even next week, but now. It is an ongoing violation of civil rights and it must be stopped.
It's a war. These people want, for no meaningful or supportable reason, to withhold rights from you. They want to take, and hold, what is rightfully yours.
I am not an expert but I do have a few ideas, possible ways to combat this distressing trend.
1. Be visible. Remind all your friends and relatives that a vote for any politician who does not actively support gay rights is a vote against your rights. Your civil rights. If your pleasant but conservative cousin broke into your house and took your iPod, you'd be less chatty with her at Thanksgiving dinner. But you'll let her vote for conservatives who deny you your rights, in essence stealing something from you.
2. Ask your truly pro-gay straight friends to do the same.
3. Don't sign online petitions as a way to convince yourself you're getting involved. They're one hundred percent pointless.
4. Rallies at City Hall are fine and all, but they're probably not more effective than online petitions. The rest of the country looks at us and says, "Oh, look, the gays are angry and protesting in a place that no one goes. Well, no matter, they'll be over it tomorrow anyway." If you want to get noticed you have to inconvenience people, preferably your enemies. How about rallies at churches that supported the legislation that keeps us as second class citizens? Pro-life people don't rally at city hall, they rally at abortion clinics and make people uncomfortable. We should do the same.
5. For the especially brave and vocal, actually attend services at these religious institutions and disrupt them. The point to a protest is to make people uncomfortable, to challenge people on their beliefs. Stand up during the sermon and shout louder than the priest or preacher or whoever. When they ask you to leave, go peacefully, but loudly. Anger is fine in these situations but when in a place of worship you'd do better appealing to the congregation's sense of charity and decency.
6. Write or call your elected officials and make your opinion known. Our opponents do this, in droves. Even contact the ones you didn't or wouldn't support; they don't know who you really voted for.
7. Possibly also let these elected officials know that you will not be paying taxes until you are given the same rights as the rest of the population. This can be done on a state or national level. I'm no expert, but if you intend to do this, I think it might be best to calculate your taxes as normal at tax time and put that money into escrow. There might be a legal distinction between simple tax evasion and an act of civil disobedience, and holding your owed money in escrow is a way of demonstrating that it's the latter and not the former. This could be really effective if enough people actually committed to doing it, especially at the state level in states like NY and CA that have famously imbalanced budgets.
8. Be proud. If you expend a lot of energy putting down other segments of the community, be it the aberzombies or leering trolls, or anyone in between, you are part of the problem. We are all just people and we are all just trying to make it through the same history of repression and oppression. Other gay men are not your competition, they are not dragging you down, they are your brothers and sisters, and we're never going to get anywhere if we can't stick together.