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marriage equality

some of you know I'm a has-been hardcore activist in Kansas.

In 2005, our state voted to amend our constitution to ban not only gay marriage, but any union or relationship that would even look like marriage... civil unions, contracts, the works. and I fought against that with every breath. Me, and about a dozen other core activists in wichita, and another 50 some volunteers, but I was an officer on the board of the organization, and helping to lead the fight. We went to houses and knocked on doors, made phone calls, hung out at bars to register voters... whatever we could do. And then, like the violinists on the Titanic, we had our hearts broken. We knew it would happen. Whenever you let people vote on how to treat a minority, what's their incentive to look out for them? It'd be like going into a meeting and asking everyone to vote on whether Bob here should buy us lunch. Yes, sounds great! So you ask a bunch of straight people whether same sex couples should have ANY rights, and of course they said no. And I was crushed. But I felt like I'd done the right thing.

I remember my parents asking me why I'd spent so much time on that campaign, because isn't politics just a pendulum? People will come around, just float with the tide, don't sweat it.

So Friday the supreme court ruled that marriage rights have to be extended to same sex couples. I went to the rally after work, hugged our chief lobbyist and he said to me, "Remember ten years ago? It's all washed away now."


But who's to say whether we'd be here if a bunch of us hadn't fought? We could have just let our state have the amendment, knowing it'd go away when people came around... maybe. But if nobody ever stands up and has a conversation, do people come around?

I wrote this entry about why I was glad I fought even knowing that we'd lose. And I still agree with every one of those points.

So that's my takeaway this week. Aside from the happiness, of course, that same sex couples can get married... I'm proud to say I helped fight for this. And I want to tell my people, especially young people, especially my kids someday... get involved. If you see something wrong with the world, make it better. It doesn't magically change.

Have hope. I didn't have hope, in 2005, that's for sure. Hearing people scream at me on the phone that marriage was MAN AND WOMAN, seeing my newspaper juxtaposition a portrait of Jesus Christ next to the homophobic side despite the fact that Jesus never said a word about homosexuality... it all wore on me. I just thought there were so. many. haters. How could we fight the flood?

I wasn't alone, that's how we fought it. But we gained momentum, the world change, those enthusiastic teenagers holding signs outside our pre-election concert reached voting age.

If nothing else I personally got to see it all and I'm really happy about that. So that's one reason to be involved... it makes you a better person.

And I know there's still things we need to fix. Deep issues. Things aren't perfect for same-sex couples, there are still questions to be answered, there's still discrimination, especially in my state. This was just a step.

But as always, I was there.


Posts from This Journal by “gay rights” Tag


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 29th, 2015 02:09 am (UTC)
Voting on equal rights or crying that the SCOTUS ignored "the will of the people" simply does not compute. If "the will of the people" was all that counted, we would still have slavery.

I am somewhat amazed still that the tide turned so fast. Think how long it took in this country for civil rights to become the law of the land - I certainly remember Anita Bryant, the John Briggs initiative, and so forth - all that less than 40 years ago.

it's been a good week.
Jun. 29th, 2015 02:13 am (UTC)
I honestly think if we hadn't been fighting as hard as we've been this would not have worked. We had it better here in MN, but it was still a fight and took a lot of talking and calling to convince people.

And of course there is still a long way to go.
Jun. 29th, 2015 02:39 am (UTC)
Well done! I agree with you: I think a lot of people were against same-sex marriage then who saw the fight and began to question themselves, and that's part of why opinions changed. And I do think those changed opinions, that changed climate, contributed to this ruling.

Jun. 29th, 2015 04:02 am (UTC)
Marvelous shirt
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 1st, 2015 11:23 am (UTC)
I saw this on the front LJ page and I like finding these kinds of posts too for the same reason :)
Jun. 29th, 2015 05:34 pm (UTC)
No, I don't think we would have gotten where we are today if not for the work so many of you have put into it! Sure people would come around but it would and will always need people to actively engage in it! :)
Jun. 30th, 2015 04:10 am (UTC)
Thank you for fighting the good fight!
It's efforts like yours that got us to where we are today. :-)
Jun. 30th, 2015 06:45 pm (UTC)
I firmly believe you made a difference, even though you'll never know exactly what. BUt here are some might-have-been stories.

-- Maybe someone was there in one of those bars who had never even thought of such a thing as gay marriage until then. Seeing a group of people - not caricatures but real people - fighting for it might have made all the difference to how they thoght about it.

-- Maybe one of those people screaming at you over the phone had a 14-year-old next to them who was just starting to realize that actually, he liked boys, not girls. Maybe knowing that people were fighting for his rights as a person was something he clung to in the difficult years and the battles that followed. Maybe sometimes that was almost the only thing he had to cling to.

-- Maybe a college student, just stepping out into the wider world, saw you fighting and had an epiphany abut what individuals could do, and became a fighter for whatever cause was closest to her heart.

And the thing is, you will never know. So you do the best you can to foster the healing of the world.
Jul. 2nd, 2015 03:44 am (UTC)
thank you. It's the squeaky wheel that gets the grease!
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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