Ever since I was 12, I’ve been a gay rights activist.
Spurred first by Oregon’s Measure 13 in 1994 (which was the OCA’s follow up to Measure 9 in 1992), I continue to be inspired to research, write, speak out (mostly to conservative audiences), mobilize and fundraise in support of 100% equality for those in the LGBT community. I even leveraged the JESS3 team’s deep bench of illustrators to design “Prop 8: Love Not Hate” T-shirts to support the cause last year.
This week, I am ecstatic to see another step toward true equality with the shutdown of Prop 8.
“Proposition 8 served no purpose, and had no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California,” the court said. (LA Times)
What an incredible cause for celebration. I, along with countless others, hope to see the dominoes continue to fall in favor of gay rights. The decision made this week only helps to pave the way for a Supreme Court showdown on the issue, and I look forward to being there as an ardent supporter.
And if this wasn’t enough, Washington State Rep. Maureen Walsh, a Republican, delivered this incredibly heartfelt, compelling, honest and necessary testimony during a debate in her state’s House.
Her words are so powerful – and so spot on. I’ve transcribed a few passages here [emphasis added]:
“I was married to the love of my life for 23 years. He died 6 years ago. I think of all the wonderful years we had… I don’t miss the sex. You know. And to me, that’s what this kind of boils down to… I don’t miss that (I certainly miss it – chuckles) it is certainly not the aspect of that relationship… that incredible bond with that human being that I really, really genuinely wish I still had. I think to myself: How could I deny anyone the right to have that incredible bond to another individual in life. To me it seems almost cruel.”
“To me, it is incumbent upon us as legislators in this state to do that [stand up for the minority]. That is why we are here. I shudder to think, that if folks that proceeded us in history did not do that, frankly I do not know that I would be here as a woman. Or that others would be here due to their race or their creed. To me that is disconcerting. Someone made the comment that this is not about equality. Well, yes it is about equality. And why in the world would we not allow those equal rights for individuals who truly were committed to one another in life, to be able to show that by way of a marriage.”
And here is the kicker. Tolerance, civility and acceptance for any difference is directly related to how much experience an individual has with the difference. Rep. Walsh’s own daughter is gay and that’s where you can see that she draws her inspiration and her compassion.
“My daughter came out of the closet a couple of years ago. I thought I would just agonize about that. Nothing is different. She is still a fabulous human being. And she has met someone she loves very much… and someday, by God, I want to throw a wedding for that kid. And I hope that is exactly what I can do someday. I hope that she will not feel like a second class citizen involved in something called a domestic partnership, which frankly sounds like a Merry Maids franchise to me.”
Here is to someday being today.