compiled by Howard Israel
“The freedom to marry has come to America’s heartland, and Americans in Iowa and elsewhere have seen what people in countries from Canada to Spain to South Africa know: Ending gay couples’ exclusion from marriage helps families and harms no one, the gays don’t use up all the marriage licenses and there’s enough marriage to share. More and more voices have joined the discussion, and with each conversation, hearts and minds open and Americans move in support of ending the denial of marriage. (The) evolution in thinking and increased understanding of how the federal discrimination in marriage harms gay couples, harms states and harms America is a hopeful reminder that people change when we talk with them about why marriage matters and why we, gay and non-gay people, care. If we do the work of enlisting more Representatives and Senators to fulfill President Obama’s pledge to repeal DOMA, we can pass the Respect for Marriage Act. Now is the time.”
– Evan Wolfson, executive director of Freedom to Marry, in a column titled “Respect for Marriage Act Introduced in Congress: Time to Dump DOMA,” about the Respect for Marriage Act, a bill recently introduced which would repeal DOMA, http://www.huffingtonpost.com, Sept. 16.
“When you get down to the root of House Bill 176, it is not really about people being denied rights to basic needs, which is the premise the bill was sold on. It is about forcing acceptance of a lifestyle that many people disagree with. Lawmakers should not use the machinery of government to force people to accept lifestyles that they do not believe in. If I must blindly accept everyone’s lifestyle to be nondiscriminatory, then that is a price that I’m not willing to pay.”
– Ohio Rep. Jeff Wagner in a House debate before the passage of a bill protecting LGBT Ohioans from discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations, http://www.cleveland.com, Sept. 16.
“Federal recognition of gay marriage would, of course, be one solution to the problem – but it would only be a half measure in this case. It would do nothing for the partner of anyone whose job didn’t already come with health benefits. The solution that hits the nail squarely on the head is a health care system that offers coverage to all Americans, on equal terms, and certainly not as a function of sexual orientation, marital or class status. While gays, lesbians and unmarried heterosexuals face a specific burden in relation to their access to insurance, they represent just a sliver of the population whose lives could be improved – and in some cases saved – by a health care system that covers not just some of the people some of the time, but all of the people, all of the time.”
– Elizabeth G. Hines, in a commentary titled “Health Care: A Lesbian Mother’s Sudden Passion for Reform,” about America’s heath care system in which she found herself “facing the gated community that is American health care from the outside looking in,” http://womensmediacenter.com, Sept. 9.
“The time has come for the grassroots of the LGBT community in this nation to make a powerful statement against being used as a political football between the two parties. If you are unhappy with our progress, you will find at least thousands of others who feel like you do to march with you. The time has come to take a stand against the absence of progress and leadership. Don’t let them take you for granted any longer. Don’t buy into making others politically comfortable by delaying your freedom. Don’t allow the ‘Oh Lord, Not Now’ movement hold you back in your fight for freedom. Patience means sacrificing another day of living as not a free person. Is that really acceptable to you? The National Equality March will be an experience you will never forget. Know why? Because at least we are taking a stand. Standing up for freedom in a horrible political climate. Letting our political allies know that patience, waiting or negotiating our freedom away are certainly not on our agenda! We want full equality and freedom now. Not tomorrow, not next week, not after the elections and not after everyone feels nice and warm and comfortable. We want it now.”
– David Mixner, political strategist and LGBT rights activist, in his blog, encouraging LGBT people to “march, protest and stand up and be counted” at the National Equality March on Washington on October 11, http://www.davidmixner.com, Sept. 8.
“Before there was a straight-gay alliance in America, there was Al Gordon. When other people wouldn’t touch us, he did. He was a hero.”
– Rev. Troy Perry, remembering Albert L. Gordon, a dedicated attorney in Los Angeles, who helped advance gay rights by challenging discriminatory practices and laws, including a successful effort to decriminalize consensual homosexual acts in California, died recently at 94 years, http://www.latimes.com, Sept. 6. Gordon, a heterosexual whose twin sons were gay, was the leading pro bono lawyer to L.A.’s gay community in the 1970s-’80s.
“I do not believe the battle for LGBT rights will ever be won until we can diminish the homophobia in black communities and until more in the black LGBT community join the battle openly. (It is awfully easy for a straight man to say ‘come out’ – I can only imagine the scorn and derision that would follow some who did so.) I’ve often wondered what would be the result of black LGBT church goers standing up in the churches they attend and saying ‘I’m gay – you know me – I’m like you. I am what God made me. Why do you treat me so badly?’ (It is equally easy for a non-church goer like me to say that.) If not a church goer, I am an optimist – and I believe the day when equality for all reigns will soon come.”
– Julian Bond, social and civil rights activist, in an e-mail message to blogger Pam Spaulding about the NAACP’s struggle to move its members to support civil equality for the LGBT community, http://www.pamshouseblend.com, Sept. 4.