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Want to get out of jury duty? Just say you’re gay!

Saturday, March 5, 2011
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Jonathan D. Lovitz

Over the years, we’ve thought of hundreds of ways of protesting the system which allows LGBT individuals to be second-class citizens.

We’ve thought of protesting by not paying taxes — which could land you in jail. We’ve chained ourselves to the marriage bureaus — which just winds up with cut chains and a night in jail, maybe a few photos on a gay blog or two.

We’ve even tried “Day Without a Gay” where LGBT people took the day off of work to show just how numerous we are — but in an economy like this one, we all need a paycheck, gay and straight alike.

Then, earlier this week, in a rather simple statement and wonderful declaration of his second-class citizenship, openly gay New York musical theatre actor and model, Jonathan D. Lovitz challenged one of his civic duties.

Jonathan posted on his Facebook page about his experience while being considered for jury duty:

“Had an intense day at jury duty. During voir dire we were asked who would not be impartial. I raised my hand and said ‘since I can’t get married or adopt a child in the state of New York, I can’t possibly be an impartial judge of a citizen when I am considered a second class one in the eyes of this justice system.’ You wouldn’t believe how people in the room reacted. Was I wrong for saying that?”

Lovitz was excused from jury duty, as the moment you say you cannot be impartial you will undoubtedly be excused.

So Lovitz not only got to stand up for himself as a self-respecting gay man, but he also got out of jury duty for the next few years!

I highly recommend this same action for any LGBT individual that gets called in for service.

If you want to take the chance and take part in a little civil disobedience, I’d even recommend sending in a letter along with your summons explaining your position — although this may be an arrest-risk. Your best bet is to show up and do the same thing Jonathan did.

Lovitz will soon be appearing on the Logo reality series “Set-up Squad.”

Editor’s Note: The state of New York permits single LGBT and joint adoption, as well as second-parent adoption.

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