Americans headed to the polls in droves yesterday to weigh in on a myriad of issues and candidates, including many dealing with the LGBT community.
The good news: In Kalamazoo, MI, 65 percent of voters supported an LGBT non-discrimination ordinance; currently, domestic partner benefits are leading in Washington with 51 percent of the vote, but only 50 percent of precincts have reported; Akron, Ohio, elected it’s first openly lesbian candidate, Sandra Kurt, to city council.
The bad news: No on 1, the stance that would preserve gay marriage in Maine, has conceded as 53 percent of voters voted yes to reject marriage equality.
Of course today is reminiscent of this same time last year. In a country that had just elected it’s first black president, oppression was institutionalized for another class of people. This has happened yet again.
And while radical actions are great, when it comes down to it, we must still answer to the laws of our nation, and when those laws create privilege for some we must work to change them. We need to work both within the system and through radical action to make real change.
Marriage equality is a tired subject and maybe shouldn’t be the LGBT or queer movement’s top priority, but the inequality is still indoctrinated in American law at many levels and that must change.
Moreover, what has happened in California, Maine and other states that have embedded oppression and hate into it’s most sacred document – it’s constitution – are just symptoms of how America feels as a whole. Constitutions are a contract between the government and the people; apparently a majority of both are okay with having a gay marriage ban in this contract. This is about changing the way people view queers as second class citizens, not just about the institutionalized inequality.
So if you get the opportunity to support equality where you live take it. Even if you’re tired of hearing about gay marriage or you are too radical to support such an issue, because when it comes down to it, it’s about equality. Even if you don’t want to take advantage of marriage equality, someone else does. And wouldn’t you want their support if something you valued was being taken way?
And keep in mind the famous – and albeit trite – quote from Martin Luther King Jr.: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”