Tuesday, October 20, 2009

March for Equality

Photos: Gay Pope?; Bob and Ed at the Capitol
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In the morning paper openly gay Congressman Barney Frank was quoted as saying that the march for equality here in Washington, DC was an emotional release but a waste of time. But as Robert and I, along with thousands of others from all across America passed noisily in front of the White House, I felt a chill. I think it was hope surging through my body. At the same moment, I turned to Robert and said, I feel like crying - this energy, this sea of humanity surrounding us was certainly not a waste of time.

A call to action was echoing among us. LGBT people of all ages and walks of life had shown up from all over the country to be counted. We were getting organized for a national battle. Everyone seemed to share the sentiment that the city by city, state by state, struggle for equality was falling short. It was at the top, that we needed to assert ourselves. Without out pressing the issue of our full constitutional rights as American citizens our movement would continue to sputter along endlessly.

The spirit of the crowd was unified. It was past time to ask and high time to demand our rights. Our patience has worn thin and the rhetoric of our elected leaders rings increasingly hollow. Once again, we heard our newly elected President promise to lift the ban on gays in the military and repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. He spoke eloquently at a Human Rights Campaign black tie affair but all of us marching the next afternoon wondered if this promise was forgotten long before dessert was served that evening.

We need to turn the heat up. We need to force the issue of our equality at every opportunity. Change must come at the federal level. The issue of our equal protection under the law is our constitutional right. This demand must infiltrate every piece of legislation spinning out of Congress. There is no silencing us until we possess what we as Americans are entitled to.

As our procession heads up Capitol Hill I notice the hope on everyone’s faces. We all surge forward towards the voices of the speakers on stage calling us to organize anew and to be unrelentingly intentional in our fight for equality.

There is a young man from Montana speaking at the podium. With great emotion in his voice he urges all of us to stay involved. He then asks us to sign up online at Equalityacrossamerica.org or to text our e-mail address & zip code to 37686. Suddenly we are surrounded by a sea of electronic devices with screens aglow beneath the afternoon sun.

We will no doubt have to march together again.

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