Friday, July 9, 2010

The Push for Equality Continues

Although it isn’t true, it seems that the fight for equality will be a non-ending one. Every time there is a step forward there is a step backward, or vice versa. This week was no exception. On Tuesday, Hawaii’s Gov. Linda Lingle ( R ) vetoed bill HB 444 that would have given gays and lesbians the right to a Civil Union. Although the bill was passed by Hawaii’s legislature Ms. Lingle used the following as basis for her decision:
There has not been a bill I have contemplated more or an issue I have thought more deeply about during my eight years as governor than House Bill 444 and the institution of marriage," Lingle said at a news conference. "I have been open and consistent in my opposition to same-sex marriage, and find that House Bill 444 is essentially same sex marriage by another name

Here is my translation: I have been a steadfast opponent of gay rights and consistent homophobe who is unwavering in my fight against gay marriage.

After all, what was the purpose of civil unions if not to give those who have had their rights taken from them some semblance of “Freedom and Equality” for all? Shame on Gov. Lingle for using the last of her days as Governor to once again allow bigotry to rear its ugly head.

Things did however get better. Yesterday U.S. District Court Judge Joseph Tauro ruled DOMA unconstitutional in two separate cases. In Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. Health and Human Services, the Boston judge ruled Congress violated the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. In the other ,Gill v. Office of Personnel Management, he ruled DOMA violates the equal protection principles under the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment. Judge Tauro emphatically declared:
Indeed, Congress undertook this classification for the one purpose that lies entirely outside of legislative bounds, to disadvantage a group of which it disapproves. And such a classification, the Constitution will not permit."

While this is great news for the LGBT community because of it’s implications and precedent, there are still lines unwritten. The rulings by Judge Joseph Tauro will most likely be appealed. If they are upheld, it will be a major victory for the gay civil rights movement and equality in America. There is still another case, that of Proposition 8 in California to be decided within the coming weeks. It is expected all three cases will eventually make their way to Supreme Court. This of course has Nom ( National Organization for Marriage) more than visibly upset. There are even talks of conspiracy! Brian Brown, it’s President referring to the Justice Department's brief which described DOMA as discriminatory, said of Judge Tauro’s two rulings:
Under the guidance of Elena Kagan’s brief that she filed when she was Solicitor General, Obama's justice department deliberately sabotaged this case,".

Mr. Brown was joined in his furor by NOM’s Chairman, Maggie Gallagher, who In likening the rulings to Roe V. Wade stated:
"Does this federal judge want to start another culture war?"

The fact is that we in the LGBT community will not stop fighting for our rights, any more than we stopped fighting for the civil rights of Blacks, the right of women to vote, and rights for the disabled. All civil rights which should have been passed without incident, just as the equal rights of gays. Yes, it seems that things are seeming warlike. Especially with groups such as Getequal and FightbackNY countering those like NOM. It is time for the courts to keep fighting for justice and equality, and follow the lead of “this judge” as Ms. Gallagher called him. Maybe she just couldn’t remember his name? Maggie, the judge has a name and a title, but you may call him “Your Honor”.

This post is now ended with prejudice.

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