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And a big one, when don't ask don't tell was repealed...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 :)

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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