In The Parade - Where Will 2010 Take Us? Back Into Battle for Equality.
As we enter 2010, it’s tempting to look back at the last year, and indeed, the last decade. We are inundated with lists of the most popular celebrities, the most popular politicians, the best-selling books and the biggest movie blockbusters, not to mention life-changing world events.
It’s hard to resist making lists and labels of natural disasters, manmade disasters and the world pandemic that never happened.
Any attempt to find Time magazine’s person of the year remotely relevant to our daily lives sometimes requires a stretch. Given that our news cycle is now measured in seconds rather than hours or days, we can find the latest Tiger Woods groupie to be even less redeeming than news of the latest death of an actress.
I am driven to consider not the greatest or the least of these characters past. Instead I am driven to contemplate what lies before us.
Mexico City, the bastion of Catholicism in the Americas and former center of Spain’s New World colony is passing a law that allows gay marriage and adoption. The city’s population is more than 18 million, one of the largest in the world. The passage of this law is a huge political event.
Here is the list of the countries and U.S. states that have passed gender-neutral marriage laws:
• The Netherlands (2001)
• Belgium (2003)
• Massachusetts (2004)
• Canada (2005)
• Spain (2006)
• South Africa (2006)
• Connecticut (2008)
• Norway (2009)
• Iowa (2009)
• Sweden (2009)
• Vermont (2009)
• New Hampshire (2009)
There are about 196 countries on Earth, depending on whom you ask. Out of those, only seven have gender-neutral marriage laws. Of the 50 states in the United States, only five have gender-neutral laws, and Iowa’s was allowed only by a State Supreme Court ruling. California and Maine voters passed laws against gender-neutral marriage.
The future of gay rights must now be fully intertwined with civil rights for future efforts to succeed. The force behind civil rights has always been the black church. Unfortunately, many in the black church condemn homosexuality, believing that it is a sin.
The term the black community coined — down low — is just another way to say in the closet. Many black political leaders do not want their movement to be seen as leaving the moral high ground of voting rights, equal rights and civil rights. They seem to think that bringing gay rights into their fold lessens their moral high ground.
The political advances made during the last election will not last, as shown by the rancor in the U.S. House and Senate. States such as Ohio and Michigan should be our bellwethers. This is a call to political battle for the gay community not only in California and Maine, but also in Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska and anywhere else the readership of Camp may reside.
It’s time for the LGBT community to get behind organizations that support us as a group and to do political battle against any groups that want us returning to down-low status.
This is a New Year and indeed a new decade, but the same battle call.