FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Why I’m Going to the Big Gay March in Washington

Since movement veteran Cleve Jones announced plans for a national gay rights march on Washington following the passage of California’s Prop. 8 last November, reactions from the LGBT community have been mixed. Supporters of October’s National Equality March are adopting a grassroots lobbying strategy, demanding “Equal protection in all matters governed by civil law in all 50 states,” and promoting a more direct appeal to the federal government for LGBT rights. Lukewarm supporters and skeptics of the march, mainly organizations like the Human Rights Campaign and state Equality groups, are concerned that the march will drain resources from the state-by-state approach for marriage equality. Critics of the march movement are also concerned that this march may share the fate of previous gay rights marches in ’79, ’87, ’93, and 2000, which seem to have accomplished little.

I have been a supporter of HRC for most of my adult life, and I have worked with both state, local, and campus organizations in South Carolina and Georgia. While I will continue to support such organizations, I think a national approach offers more hope for me and other South Carolinians than anything HRC or state-by-state marriage equality can offer.

South Carolina is one of only five states that has no hate crimes laws; other than a limited policy in the city of Columbia, there are no laws banning discrimination in employment or housing based on sexual orientation or gender identity; and the 2006 constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage in SC passed by 78%. For people who do not live in California or Massachusetts, for those who are part of otherwise disadvantaged communities, for those who live in constant fear of employment discrimination and physical violence because their states give them no protection, for those whose lives and relationships are invisible to most of America, marriage equality in progressive states is nothing more than a symbolic victory, and symbols cannot help them provide for their families or protect themselves from discrimination.

I do not plan to spend the rest of my life in SC. But for those LGBT folks who call South Carolina home, gay marriage fights in states like Maine and California offer little more than momentary comfort against communities in which they will remain second-class citizens for the foreseeable future unless the federal government intervenes. The state-by-state approach to equality seems meaningless in a state that has historically been several decades behind the rest of the country in terms of civil rights. If the federal government had left the battle for desegregation up to states to fight on their own, de jure segregation would arguably still be in place here in SC and a few of its neighboring deep South states.

We need to build support behind a federal gay rights agenda, because if we leave our rights up to the conservative majorities in states across the nation, we will never achieve equality. LGBT Americans should ALL enjoy the same civil rights as their heterosexual counterparts, whether they live in San Francisco or Atlanta, New York or Charleston. The federal government must step in and defend our civil rights in places where our community cannot adequately defend itself, and we must show Washington lawmakers that we are looking to them to change laws as we go about the work of changing hearts and minds.

So this is why we march on Washington on October 10-11. We march because at no time in our nations’ history have gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender people been more visible and political. We march because marriage is but one of the many rights and privileges that we deserve as citizens of this country, and because it is time for the Obama administration to make good on its promises to the LGBT community. We march because as Americans, our civil rights should not depend on our sexual orientation or gender identity, nor should they depend on what state we live in. We march because visibility matters and is the key to dismantling the foundations of prejudice and discrimination. And we march with the hope that standing in solidarity with each other and asserting our place in this nation has transformative potential.

BETH SHEROUSE is a Graduate Assistant in the Department of History at the University of South Carolina.

 

 

 

 

More articles by:
bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
December 09, 2019
Jefferson Morley
Trump’s Hand-Picked Prosecutor John Durham Cleared the CIA Once, Will He Again?
Kirkpatrick Sale
Political Collapse: The Center Cannot Hold
Ishmael Reed
Bloomberg Condoned Sexual Assault by NYPD 
W. T. Whitney
Hitting at Cuban Doctors and at Human Solidarity
Louisa Willcox
The Grizzly Cost of Coexistence
Thomas Knapp
Meet Virgil Griffith: America’s Newest Political Prisoner
John Feffer
How the New Right Went Global — and How to Stop It
Ralph Nader
Why Not Also Go With “The Kitchen Table” Impeachable Offenses for Removal?
M. K. Bhadrakumar
Sri Lanka Continues Its Delicate Dance With India
Robert Fisk
Meet the Controversial Actor and Businessman Standing Up Against Egypt’s el-Sisi
Dahr Jamail
Savoring What Remains: Dealing With Climate PTSD
George Wuerthner
Bison Slaughter in Yellowstone…Again
Scott Tucker
Premature Democratic Socialists: Reasons for Hope and Change
Julian Rose
Polish Minister of Health Proposes Carcinogenic 5G Emission Levels as National Norm
Dean Baker
Coal and the Regions Left Behind
Robert Koehler
Envisioning a United World
Weekend Edition
December 06, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Eat an Impeachment
Matthew Hoh
Authorizations for Madness; The Effects and Consequences of Congress’ Endless Permissions for War
Jefferson Morley
Why the Douma Chemical Attack Wasn’t a ‘Managed Massacre’
Andrew Levine
Whatever Happened to the Obama Coalition?
Paul Street
The Dismal Dollar Dems and the Subversion of Democracy
Dave Lindorff
Conviction and Removal Aren’t the Issue; It’s Impeachment of Trump That is Essential
Ron Jacobs
Law Seminar in the Hearing Room: Impeachment Day Six
Linda Pentz Gunter
Why Do We Punish the Peacemakers?
Louis Proyect
Michael Bloomberg and Me
Robert Hunziker
Permafrost Hits a Grim Threshold
Joseph Natoli
What We Must Do
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Global Poison Spring
Robert Fantina
Is Kashmir India’s Palestine?
Charles McKelvey
A Theory of Truth From the South
Walden Bello
How the Battle of Seattle Made the Truth About Globalization True
Evan Jones
BNP Before a French Court
Norman Solomon
Kerry’s Endorsement of Biden Fits: Two Deceptive Supporters of the Iraq War
Torsten Bewernitz – Gabriel Kuhn
Syndicalism for the Twenty-First Century: From Unionism to Class-Struggle Militancy
Matthew Stevenson
Across the Balkans: From Banja Luka to Sarajevo
Thomas Knapp
NATO is a Brain Dead, Obsolete, Rabid Dog. Euthanize It.
Forrest Hylton
Bolivia’s Coup Government: a Far-Right Horror Show
M. G. Piety
A Lesson From the Danes on Immigration
Ellen Isaacs
The Audacity of Hypocrisy
Monika Zgustova
Chernobyl, Lies and Messianism in Russia
Manuel García, Jr.
From Caesar’s Last Breath to Ours
Binoy Kampmark
Going to the ICJ: Myanmar, Genocide and Aung San Suu Kyi’s Gamble
Jill Richardson
Marijuana and the Myth of the “Gateway Drug”
Muzamil Bhat
Srinagar’s Shikaras: Still Waters Run Deep Losses
Gaither Stewart
War and Betrayal: Change and Transformation
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail