Time For Dedicated Action

By Eric Radar

Viewpoint

President Obama made history last week when he proclaimed his support for LGBT equality in his second inaugural address. Never before in American history has a president declared support for gay rights in an inaugural address, indeed the word "gay" had never before been uttered by a president at his swearing in. The president actually made several references to equality in his speech, and in a particularly powerful passage, linked the struggle for LGBT equality to the fights for women's rights and African American civil rights. President Obama said, "We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths - that all of us are created equal - is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall." He went on to proclaim that the "our gay brothers and sisters" deserve equality under the law in the United States. In boldly and courageously taking a stand for LGBT equality in his inaugural address, the president certainly earned the honorary title given him last year by a national magazine: America's First Gay President.

Having the president on our side is a huge thing and is something we should all celebrate and appreciate. Just a decade ago, former President George W. Bush came out firmly in favor of a constitutional amendment to prohibit same-sex marriage. Even former President Bill Clinton, who now supports marriage equality and who prohibited anti-gay employment discrimination in the federal government, signed the extremely discriminatory "Defense of Marriage Act" (DOMA) at a time when standing for LGBT equality was viewed as politically risky. In the span of a few years, the LGBT community has gone from outsider status in our political debates to full inclusion by our president in his political priorities and agenda. This is the president who ended "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," and who refuses to defend DOMA in court. He is also the leader who publicly announced his support for marriage equality last May, right in the middle of his tough battle for reelection. President Obama has done far more for the cause of gay civil rights than any governmental leader in our country, and he still has four more years in office.

While the LGBT civil rights movement has moved by leaps and bounds in just the last few years, we all know there's a long way to go in achieving true equality for our community. Nine states plus Washington DC have passed laws granting marriage equality, but the majority of the states still prohibit same-sex unions. In March, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in two gay marriage-related cases. One of the lawsuits challenges DOMA, while the other concerns the constitutionality of a repeal of equal marriage rights by California voters in 2008. The tone and substance of the oral arguments in March will tell us a lot about where the court might go on the issue of marriage equality.

The next few years promise to be an exciting period for the LGBT movement in this country. We will continue to have a president who believes that we are just as deserving of equal rights as every other group in our society. President Obama has demonstrated time and again over the past four years that he supports us, not as a matter of political expediency, but out of genuine political principle. At the same time our president supports us, there still remain a lot of groups and leaders who oppose our community and will fight hard to prevent the enactment of any law that advances equality. It is up to us to back up the courage of President Obama with grassroots action. In the struggle for African American equality in the 1950s and 1960s, Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson all moved the government forward in using executive power to protect black citizens against discrimination. But none of the laws and orders enacted at that time would have been possible without the dedicated action of civil rights leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks, and quiet acts of civil disobedience and visible actions such as the March on Washington by average citizens. Ultimately, success for our community depends on the leadership of our president AND the hard work of people in the LGBT community. By his election and reelection, President Obama has helped to fulfill the dream of Dr. King, and now he has included us in that dream, too. There are great political challenges in the years ahead, but history teaches us that dedicated action by citizens and their leaders can make a difference. It's up to us to help make our president's bold words become reality.

President Obama's Second Inaugural Address:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/inauguration-2013


MI Marriage Trial

Michigan Same Sex Couples Demand Respect And Equal Treatment

Michigan Leaders React To Feds Recognition Of Marriages

MI Marriage: Schuette Asks For Full Appeals Court Review

The Stay Delayed Allows 315 Couples To Wed In State

Gay Marriage Defines Schuette's Reelection Campaign

Snyder Says Schuette Going Against Trend

Sixth Circuit Continues Stay

Michigan Marriage Ban Struck Down

Michigan Makes History With First Marriages

Elected Officials, Advocates Petition Schuette To Drop Marriage Aappeal

Pictures from Ingham County - Getting Married

Pictures from Oakland County Clerk's Office - Part 1

Pictures from the Oakland County Clerk's office - Part 2

Pictures from the Oakland County Clerk's Office - Part 3

Pictures from Washtenaw County

White Nationalist Group Files Brief Supporting AG's Appeal In Marriage Ruling

Discredited Witness Part Of Right-Wing Cabal

Schauer Celebrates Overturn Of Michigan Marriage Ban

Equality Michigan Circulating Petition to Drop Appeal

Why Are Governor Rick Snyder and Attorney General Bill Schuette Wasting Michigan Taxpayer Dollars On A Costly Appeal?

Michigan Marriage Ban Co-Author Goes 'Moral'

BTL's Wedding Expo: Like Pride in April

Snyder Says Marriages Invalid

Elected Officials, Advocates Petition Schuette To Drop Marriage Appeal

Request To Remove Stay Based On Process And Substance

Schuette Lies To Satisfy Political Base

DOCUMENTS: The decision, the stay, and more

BREAKING: Holder Asked To Recognize Michigan Marriages

Michigan Marriage Ban Ruled Unconstitutional

BREAKING: Sixth Circuit Court Of Appeals Issues Temporary Stay On Michigan Case

BREAKING: Same-Sex Couples Across Michigan Get Hitched

BREAKING: Judge Friedman Declares Michigan's Same-Sex Marriage Ban Unconstitutional

Judge Could Rule Late Today In Mich. Marriage Ban

Michigan Marriage Trial: And Now We Wait

Editor's Viewpoint: Our Long Journey To Justice

Federal Marriage Case Decisions Outside Michigan In Circuit Court of Appeals

Peers Distance Themselves As Regnerus Takes The Stand

Marriage Supporters, Protestors Brave Cold At Courthouse

Highlights From Michigan Same-Sex Marriage Hearing

Brown Says Schuette Instructed Clerks To Defy Court

Michigan Marriage Equality Trial Begins Second Week

Marriage Equality Trial Opens : Science v. Fear

Michigan Marriage Center Prepares State For The Possibility!

Michigan Marriage Case Begins

A Trial Full of Experts: Incredible and Not So Credible, In Hazel Park Case

like us on facebook follow us on twitter follow us on google+