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Commentary :: GLBT/Queer
Defend Marriage Equality - Now!
12 Apr 2004
The need to fight for equal marriage rights is now more important than ever. With anti-equality forces increasingly organized and vocal, supporters of gay marriage need to continue the struggle for justice by coming out in full force on May 17. After the two stunning victories won by GLAD in the SJC, gay marriage activists and supporters suffered our first defeat on March 29th. Many activists have already turned their sights to the November elections. That is premature. It takes for granted the outcome of what might be our most critical fight beginning to unfold—May 17th. The national and local leadership of the Democratic Party opposes gay marriage and Republican Governor Romney is determined to defy the SJC and prevent Massachusetts from issuing the first-ever legal same-sex marriage licenses in the US that day. We must be determined to get them and he must see that we are not willing to wait. Dr. Martin Luther King knew that lobbying and elections alone could not create that kind of social force. He argued that direct-action strategies were necessary to “create the kind of tension in society that will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood.”
After the two stunning victories won by GLAD in the SJC, gay marriage activists and supporters suffered our first defeat on March 29th. Despite our winning the support of many brave legislators at the ConCon, our state government has united in its opposition to equal marriage and intends to prevent it, either two months from now or two years from now. The national and local leadership of the Democratic Party opposes gay marriage, which means that, with the DNC in Boston this May, the pressure is on. On us to respond by building a broad movement that will fight for equality for everyone and win the support of people across the state. Our movement needs to take to the streets like every civil rights movement that has come before us. We have raised these movements’ slogans’—“No back of the bus”, “Separate is not Equal”—it is now time to adopt their tactics. Tactics that will help us ensure our licenses May 17th.

It is true that through hard work many legislators were convinced to vote against the amendment in the final months. But it is also true that the “no” votes were not all cast for equality, some were from conservatives who wouldn’t even accept civil unions. Our side was outnumbered in the ConCon and we lost the vote. We lost round one in the amendment battle, and it’s time for us to reassess our strategy so that we can win round two.

The focus of our movement on winning votes one at a time, has meant that many activists have already turned their sights to the November elections. That is premature. It takes for granted the outcome of what might be our most critical fight beginning to unfold—May 17th. Governor Romney is determined to defy the SJC and prevent Massachusetts from issuing the first-ever legal same-sex marriage licenses in the US that day. We must be determined to get them and he must see that we are not willing to wait.

We can no longer ask anyone else to defend our rights for us, not the Attorney General, not even the court. We must defend them ourselves. Thomas Reilly is an ardent foe of gay marriage, and while he is now doing the right thing by refusing to proceed to the SJC, he is also using a rarely used segregation law from 1913 to keep out gay couples from DOMA states. Are we ready to leave the protection of our rights in his hands?

And if Romney does get to argue in front of the SJC, can we say absolutely that the full majority will withstand the intense political pressure they will face? The partisan pressure of the Kerry campaign that opposes gay marriage, supports the Mass. amendment, and does not want gay weddings to be his backdrop at the DNC. History has shown that even a court as brave and unapologetic as this one, cannot enforce its ruling in the face of a hostile state government. We will need a loud, strong movement to bolster and defend it. Phone calls and letters won’t be enough. They will need to see our bodies, our friends, and our families.

We have suffered long enough and must now fight for ourselves. We must organize ourselves and build a movement that can win the hearts and minds of the citizens of Massachusetts. And keep Christian fundamentalists and the bullying state government reluctant to attack our rights or our safety. Dr. Martin Luther King knew that lobbying and elections alone could not create that kind of social force. He argued that direct-action strategies were necessary to “create the kind of tension in society that will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood.”

We need to plan now for May 17th. Let’s take the day off work and go to City Hall Plaza for the making of history. We need people from around the state and across the country to come and stand with us. The day when gays and lesbians finally win equality deserves state wide and national attention. We need to ensure it receives it.

And if Romney stops us, the country will bear witness to a great injustice. Injustice done on the 50th anniversary of the Brown decision which began the battle over desegregation. Either way, our next step is clear. On May 17th we receive our licenses, or we demand our licenses. Whether in struggle or in celebration, we must be together at City Plaza May 17th.

And to those who say ‘Wait! Let the legal and legislative processes play out’, or who say ‘the timing is wrong’ or ‘activism makes us look bad’, we say, we won’t wait for the marriage licenses that the SJC has twice ruled we are entitled to. We must, therefore, demand what is rightfully ours against forces that would gladly take our rights away. On May 17th we will be united, confident, and determined. There is a proud tradition of public protest in this country for us to look to now. Dr. King wrote this from an Alabama jailhouse: “We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct-action campaign that was ‘well timed’ in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word ‘Wait!’ It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This ‘Wait’ has almost always meant 'Never.’ We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that ‘justice too long delayed is justice denied.’”
-----------------------
The Equal Marriage Action Network (EMAN) is a grassroots activist organization dedicated to defending equal marriage rights. EMAN meets weekly in Boston, including April 14 at 7 pm at the Fenway Community Health Center. EMAN is currently planning a general mobilization of gay marriage supporters on May 17 in Boston.

This work is in the public domain.
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Re: Defend Marriage Equality - Now!
15 Apr 2004
NATIONAL CALL FOR SOLIDARITY ACTIONS

FOR EQUAL MARRIAGE RIGHTS &
AGAINST DISCRIMINATION, BIGOTRY & RACISM
ON MAY 17, 2004

We the undersigned call for a National Day of Solidarity Actions for equal marriage rights and against all forms of discrimination, bigotry and racism on May 17, 2004, the day that equal marriage rights for couples of all sexualities, sexes and genders go into effect in Massachusetts.

We call for social justice activists to organize press conferences, rallies and actions at city halls across the country on May 17 demanding marriage licenses be issued to same sex couples seeking to marry. We view the attack on same sex marriage as an attempt to divide communities of working and oppressed people.

We will not be divided --trade unionists, civil rights organizations and community leaders have come forward, recognizing equal marriage rights as an issue affecting all workers and our benefits.

We see this as a struggle for health care rights for all. We call for universal health care, regardless of marital status, including healthcare that is sensitive to the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

We see the struggle for same-sex marriage as part the struggle for civil rights in the US. We call for an end to all forms of legal discrimination against all oppressed peoples.

We demand the decriminalization of all undocumented workers and the immediate halt to the mass racist roundups and secret deportations of Arab, Muslim, South Asian and Latino immigrants. We call for the end of racist police brutality towards Black, Latin and Asian communities.

We demand LGBT immigrants have access to same sex marriage, with the full rights to naturalization and immigration afforded to opposite sex couples, when one partner is not a U.S. citizen.

We call on the US government to provide money for jobs, housing, schools, AIDS research and healthcare for all people, not to foster anti-LGBT bigotry, racism and war.

We call for unity across all nationalities, sexes, genders and sexualities in this and all struggles for civil rights.

We are determined to take this struggle forward to both the National Democratic and Republican conventions this summer.

We will accept nothing less than full equality. Equal Rights for All Now!

___ I would like more information about the May 17th National Day of Action
___ I/My Organization endorses the May 17th National Day of Action
___ Please add me to the mailing/e-mail list

Name _________________________________________________Telephone ___________________________________
Address ________________________________________________
Email _______________________________________
City/State/Zip ______________________________________________
Organization/School/Union ____________________________________ Title _______________________________________
(___ List as an endorser ___ Listed for identification purposes only)

Return to: Equal Marriage Solidarity
284 Amory St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130

Partial list of endorsers: Chuck Turner, Boston City Councilor; Margaret Cho, Comedian; Dianne Wilkerson, Mass. State Senator; Stephen Funk, anti-war resister, San Francisco, CA; ACT UP East Bay; Richard Brooks Alba, SEIU 790, SF/Labor Council for Latin American Advancement & SF/Pride At Work*; Andre' Powell, AFSCME L. 112, Exec. Board Member, Maryland; Boston A.N.S.W.E.R; Boston Lesbian Avengers ; Boston Stonewall Warriors; Boston Women's Fightback Network; Dyke March Organizing Committee, Boston, MA; Mass Transgender Political Coalition; Barbara Boyd & Pat Chin, NYC; Matthew Bronczek, Community Advocate, Charlotte, NC; Ed Childs, Chief Shop Steward, HERE L. 26, Harvard Univ. Cooks*; Kimberly Colley, Univ. of S. Florida*; LeiLani Dowell, Peace & Freedom candidate for House of Rep., San Francisco, CA; Leslie Feinberg, LGBT Caucus Steering Committee, National Writers' Union, UAW L. 1981 *; Steve Gillis, President USWA L. 8751 Boston School Bus Drivers*; Elicia Gonzales, Colorado Org. for Latina Opportunity & Reproductive Rights*; W. Brandon Lacy Campos, Chair, National Lavender Green Caucus, Green Party of the U.S.*; Larry Holmes, Natl Co-Director, International Action Center; Sally Holt, educator, PRIDE at the Univ. of So. Florida*; Beverly Heistand, RN, Steward-CWA 1168* Buffalo, NY; John Iversen, ACT UP East Bay; Labor for Reparations; Jeff Mackler, National Secretary, Socialist Action*; Arthur J Miller, Co-editor Bayou La Rose, Ship Builder's IU 320*, Tacoma, WA; Mahtowin Munro, co-leader, United American Indians of New England*; Letta Neely, Writer, Black Dyke, Boston, MA; National Lawyers Guild, Los Angeles; Minnie Bruce Pratt, lesbian poet & activist; Bryan G. Pfeifer, Western Mass ANSWER; PRIDE Alliance Faculty/Staff Assn at CSU Pomona, CA; Progressive Coalition of Gays in the Philippines; Rev. Dr. Daffne Burt, Assoc. Dean, Rockefeller Chapel, Univ. of Chicago*; Rev Dr. Victor C. Carpenter, Minister Emeritus, Arlington St. Church, Boston, MA; Rev. David Carl Olson, Community Church of Boston; Dave Sole, President, UAW L. 2334,Detriot, MI*; Gerry Scoppettuolo, Founder, Gay Men Fight AIDS, Inc., Portsmouth, NH*; Mike Shaw, RI Pride at Work, AFL-CIO*; Support Network for Armed Forces Union (SNAFU)

03/04 labor donated
* for id only

http://equalmarriagesolidarity.org
Re: Defend Marriage Equality - Now!
15 Apr 2004
The ISO's front group posts something, and the WWP's front group answers...fun!
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08 Jun 2006
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08 Jun 2006
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