Friday, January 21, 2011

Gay rights, in the US, Uganda

Blogging is fascinating.

I started simply to cry, to make for myself a space in which I could cry out. The internet, cyberspace became that to me. I don't mind the fact that fellow Ugandan bloggers kind of shun me. Matter of fact, I seem to thrive in the fact that I shout out and they may listen, but not respond.

Anyway, another thing that blogging allows me to do is to think.
To think, and examine, and come to conclusions... and explore a world of thought that is almost unreachable, but is reachable. Yes, I can touch the stars. I do, in my blogging. Ok, maybe not that. But, in the examination of thought, I seem to do that which is impossible.

I have become a keen follower of the gay rights movement in the US.

Something I have not really followed much is that in Europe. Why is it that gay equality was quickly accepted there than in the US? Why is the battle in the US?
Well, I can search the history.....!
Maybe I will, that is an answer I can get, surely.
The gay rights war in the US spills over to Africa. Makes me much more likely to follow it. And, follow the arguments, and convolutions. There, it is not a fight for survival, as it is in Uganda. Life is basic, life and liberty are. But, once those are established in the minds of society, then we have to go for other insidious points of discrimination.

So, in the US, don't ask don't tell seemed like something small. But it was big. That is why its repeal was celebrated. And, gay Americans have not sat on their laurels. There are other laws which go against the grain of equality. We cannot be equal when there are laws which target us, and make it impossible for full equality to be enjoyed. So, DOMA is next. The Defence of Marriage Act. Check out this action.

Again, the principle is simple. If the law says we are equal to the rest of our brothers and sisters, then we should be equal indeed.
Poor conservatives. They are strong, of course. But, when the law is challenged on the basis of simple logic, the fact that we are human and equal to other humans pales besides our identity of homosexual, stigmatised as it might be by others. Saying the judges are activists judges... well, it is just sore losers not being able to see why they lose, and continue to lose...

So, it was a victory in Uganda. A big one. When the rolling pebble was restrained.
And a big one, when don't ask don't tell was repealed...
And, there are other small ones which roll into big ones... and, make me realise how small my battle field is in the bigger war. Of course even gay rights are indivisibly part of the spectrum of human rights. Yes, big precedents are set, and enforced, from the point of view of gay people.

Here is one that kind of made me feel good, about being gay.... and bad about how zealous zealots are. It is from Religion Dispatches.
"A travesty of justice." That's what the religious right is calling the U.S. Supreme Court's refusal to hear a case challenging the District of Columbia's marriage equality law.

Rev. Anthony Evans, a D.C. minister who has worked with Bishop Harry Jackson, who brought the suit seeking to invalidate the 10-month-old same-sex marriage law in the District, accused the Supreme Court of forcing the law "down the church’s throat."

"[W]hat the Supreme Court has set up is the greatest civil war between the church and the gay community," Evans said. "And let me just state for the record, we don't want that fight. We love our gay brothers and sisters. But if the Supreme Court is not going to acknowledge the fact that we have a right as religious people to have a say-so in the framework of religious ethics for our culture and society, then we reject the Supreme Court on this issue."

Using civil war imagery to set up a false dichotomy of "the church vs. gays" doesn't seem advisable in an atmosphere already rife with violent rhetoric. It also doesn't jibe with Evans' next sentence expressing "love" for gays and lesbians. Usually, people who want to express love for someone do everything they can to help those people live the best life possible - not prevent them from achieving full equality.

Jackson brought the suit after the District's Board of Elections and Ethics ruled that the city's Human Rights Act prohibited the marriage law from being put to a popular vote. That's what really sticks in the craw of those opposed to marriage equality.

"In America, we respect the right to vote. That right is explicitly protected by the D.C. Charter, but the government has succeeded for now in suppressing the voice of D.C. citizens," said Austin R. Nimocks, senior legal counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund. "We had hoped the U.S. Supreme Court would restore this guaranteed right in the district. … We will remain diligent in looking for other legal opportunities to protect and defend the right of all D.C. residents to have their voices heard as the D.C. Charter clearly intended."

If we had put the rights of the minority to a majority vote back in the 1960s, I dare say Jim Crow laws would still be on the books here in my state of South Carolina. There are simply some matters, like the rights of minorities, that cannot be put to a popular vote -- though the rights of gays and lesbians seem to be put to the vote often these days.

Indeed, that war is still on. We do need cool heads to fight it. But, you know what? It makes me feel like there is something to work towards in life.

No. Am not gonna be 'radicalised'.....!

But, I am really gonna love following my little course of the freedom trail. It is a journey through rough terrain, with the hopes of getting to some lofty views, there, over the mountains. And, gosh, I would love that view from the top.

Have a great day.



KAOS said...

Not just in the US - there's a lot going on with gay equality in the UK too!

Keep up your good work GUG :)

Fg68at said...

Europe: It is not sciencific, but it my be some true background: Some say, we have expelled manoy narrow-minded Christians to the USA. (Amish, Pietism, Hutterite, Puritan (and with these the Baptist), Congregationalist polity, etc.) In Austria were longer time in the past all non-catholic (Protestant) thrown out of the core-nation. They go to US, to Germany and to the east (now Romania and Russia). When Germany is half Protestant and half Catholic, Austria is mostly Catholic.

Catholic is conservative, but also pragmatic. There is no much Ex-Gay, when there also also the Dutch Mr. Aaardweg. Austria has no punishment for adult homosexuality 2 years later than Germany, equal age of consent 10 years later and civil partnership also 10 years later. There was since 1971 also a law which was against "promotion of homosexuality and bestiality" and a law which was against associations which "promote homosexuality". But it was found a way to establish the "Homosexuelle Initiative".

In Spain the Franco-Regime was associated with the catholic church.

The nordic nations was more free minded. In Denmark was the first civil partnership in 1989. From there came also many porn to the german speaking countries. But Sweden has now one of the strongest laws for prostitution and it punished only the clients. More conservative is Finnland. From there was also the first TV-Documentation in which i heard about Ex-Gay in Europe.

From waht i read it seams that the strongest and fastest society development was in the little nation Iceland. It was not illegal since 1940, but there was much homophobia. Civil Partnership is since 1996, marrigae since 2010. And what i read now, homophobia is dealed in the family, circle of acquaintances, school. Now the Reykjavík Gay Pride has 80.000 observers. Reykjavík has a population of only 117.000 people and island as a whole 318.000.

From the german speaking countries different is Suisse. There are 4 languages, it was not direct involved in World War 2. It has many direct democraty. Since WW2 adult homosexuality was allowed by the law. There was after the war a center of the discret homophile movement. It was also there many work, but it seams that the controversity was not so strong, not so extreme and loud different viewpoints. It was calmer.

Netherland is also free mindeed. Sort of. There is a stronger life in different pillars, the "Pillarisation". They have also a little "bible belt". But in Amsterdam police find it better in the 1950s to allow three dance clubs then to deal with many more Cottaging. From there on Amsterdam became for long time the "gay capital of europe". But it not the "holy land" for gays as a whole.

France was in the 1960s and 1970s some open minded about love and erotic. i.e. in some films. France is a an kind of synonym for heterosexual love. There was also a free thinking cultural and philosophical leadership in France, where also lifed some US-citicens. And it has some laissez-faire. But i know not much about France.

In Europe it is also more common laissez-faire about simple nudity. (In the family, in the society) than in USA. In USA there is much possible, they have also more porn, but it is more divided. In West- and Middle- Europe there also began the non-sexual Free Body Culture / Nudism. One beginning was the movement against the other extreme, the corset for women.

So, it is not complete, but some hints.

spiralx said...

America is a very young nation - almost as young as most African nations! Europe, by contrast, is a much older, more established community. And you see that reflected in their ways of dealing with things.

Brash, colourful, dramatic, greedy for self-acclaim, often blindly enthusiastic - the Americas.

Slower, more reserved, more concerned with the wider impact and implications - Europe.

gayuganda said...

LOL..... someone standing up for the Europeans vs the Yanks?

spiralx said...

Not standing or sitting! Just pointing out the diffs.

Europe is less showy, less inclined to gaudy spectacle.

Makes them seem, sometimes, dull and bland. But they are less interested in direct conflict and in-your-face action, because they have centuries of experience of how badly it can turn out, culminating in a really nasty world war last century.

America, it seems, still has that lesson to learn (though you'd think their own noxious little Civil War, followed by Vietnam, Somalia, and now Iraq, would be pointing out the obvious...).

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