Over the past few months, we’ve seen some strides being taken that will bring us ever closer to that dream of having equal rights for LGBT Americans.
We have seen the overturning of California’s “Proposition 8” which banned same gender couples from getting married in that state. We have seen Massachusetts courts rule that the “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA) is unconstitutional. We’ve seen courts rule that the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy (DADT) is unconstitutional.
We’ve heard our president Obama and others speak about “ENDA”. For those who don’t know, ENDA is a bill proposal (The Employee Non Discrimination Act) that would end discrimination based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in the work place.
There have been other strides this year in the realm of equality, many of which have given us hope that we will achieve this goal. Maybe even within my own lifetime.
These historical cases and acts are stepping stones to what we seek but, they are not the end all be all.
From all of this arises a new bill which will secure our place in America as equals rather than second class citizens. The bill has already been drafted by a group and is being dubbed “The American Equality Bill”.
It was drafted by a group called QueerSOS :
It’s been 46 years since America created the federal law – called The Civil Rights Act of 1964 – to protect people in every state from discrimination based on who they are. Envisioned by Martin Luther King, introduced by President Kennedy, and championed to victory by President Johnson and a bi-partisan Congress, that law should have included “sexual orientation” when it came to be in ’64 because we helped make it happen. But deep homophobia pushed aside our plight and our people, like the hero Bayard Rustin, a member of the black civil rights movement inner circle, who stayed out of the limelight for that cause because he was gay.
Yet it was Bayard Rustin who organized the famous March on Washington where Martin Luther King delivered his “I Have A Dream Speech.” Then that hope was denied Mr. Rustin and our community.
For this reason, the plan is to add Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity to the Civil Rights Act.
Today, Monday, Sept. 27, 2010, NYC activists will commence a daily vigil Standing OutSide of Senator Gillibrand’s campaign office at 15 W. 26th Street, from 10 a.m to 6 p.m. to urge the Senator to take action for LGBTQ inclusion in the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
I say, it’s about time we support a bill like this and help to actually realize the dream of Martin Luther King, that all Americans be treated equally under the law.
‘Til next time, I’m out.