Sunday, September 27, 2009

Not Feeling The Equality March

We are guaranteed equal protection by the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution. Free and equal people do not bargain for or prioritize our rights, so we are coming to DC this October 10-11 to demand equal protection in all matters governed by civil law in all 50 states. Now.

The march is not our final destination. It is our first step toward building a national grassroots network that will continue organizing until we have achieved full equality.

The Equality March is fast approaching. It's amazing how fast this has been put together, the number of sponsors compiled, and the long list of prominent activists, GLBT bloggers and organizations that have declared their support for the march that will take place October 11-12 in our nation's capital.

You'll notice that I'm not one of them.

I think the Equality March is a good idea. I just question its value and whether it will achieve its goal of full equality.

It also depends on what the organizers definition of 'full equality' is as well.

There's a group in Kalamazoo, MI battling the Forces of Intolerance that could use some major help, volunteers and cash in keeping their GLBT law on the books.

But what do you see when you click on the NEM website? Links to the No on 1 Maine campaign and none to One Kalamazoo.

So as I suspect, I'm anticipating and willing to put money on is that the majority of the messages we'll hear on that day will overwhelmingly pertain to and be about marriage equality.

That has led to my ambivalence about this march.

My ambivalence is fueled by several factors. It's being timed for a weekend in which Congress is on a holiday recess. Translation; there will be no congrescritters in town.

I understand the planners wanted to mark the 30th anniversary of the first national march on Washington for LGBT Rights and National Coming Out Day. But we have pending ENDA and hate crimes legislation being considered in Congress right now that could have benefited from a swarm of GLBT citizens hitting the Hill to speak to congressmembers about it

It's legislation that unlike marriage equality will benefit a wide spectrum of the GLBT community.

It is diverting scarce community financial resources in the midst of a recession.

“We will continue this fight in every state, in every county, every city and every town, but we are now determined to take this fight to the federal government, to our President Barack Obama, to the Congress and the Supreme Court of the United States.”

NEM organizer Cleve Jones, May 31, 2009, Fresno, California

Reading that quote, noting the action alert on the NEM website soliciting support of Rep. Jerrod Nadler's DOMA repeal bill and the silence on ENDA and hate crimes legislation has only crystallized that impression, not dispelled it.

“The Constitution’s promise to all citizens certainly extends to LGBT Americans-particularly the Fourteenth Amendment’s promise of equal protection of the laws.” President Barack Obama

While I agree with the concept of emphasizing the 14th Amendment to overturn anti- GLBT laws, I think the major thrust of this movement should be a cause that covers the broadest section of our coalition, securing ENDA and hate crimes legislation.

Marriage equality, while its a laudable goal, doesn't meet that test.


Gina said...

An awful lot of energy and resources for an event that's poorly timed. How many people (and who) are going to have the money travel to DC to do this? Couldn't all that effort and money be put to better use? Don't want to be a pessimist, but I don't see this march attracting the kind of turnout and community diversity which will make an impact.

Zoe Renee said...

I have to say I agree with this post and with Gina's argument, I am somewhat curious to go to the event and see exactly how it goes, but I'm not holding my breath