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Views & Voices

Separate but equal is never equal – Ever.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

I don’t want to rain on anyone’s LGBT Inaugural moment, however…

As happy as I was to hear President Obama say in his second inaugural address:

“Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law. For if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.”

… I was just an unhappy to hear White House Press Secretary Jay Carney the following day say that while President Obama personally supports civil gay marriage, he doesn’t believe gay marriage should be a federal issue.

AP File

To me this says the present Administration has no intention of pushing for any more action to make any of his words a reality for those of us in the gay community.

Even though the President mentioned Stonewall along with Selma and Seneca Falls in the same sentence, he doesn’t really see gay marriage as a civil rights issue that needs to be helped along by the federal government. For the truth of the matter is, no matter what President Obama may say, and no matter where he is when he says it – he still believes that marriage equality belongs in the hands of the States.

Do we really want the civil rights of a minority placed in the hands of the people?

Seriously – do you believe for one moment that blacks would have the right to vote in Alabama or Mississippi had it been placed in the hands of the voters of those States?

Just go look at the pictures and videos from the 1960’s in those places and you will understand that without the government stepping in – blacks would still be drinking from different water fountains and still riding in the back of buses.

The states that seceded from the Union in the 1860’s did so because of slavery.

You can try and spin it any way you choose, but one need only to read all their declarations of secession or take a look at their states constitutions to know the truth. Mississippi “…Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery…”

These people were willing to secede from the Union before they were willing to give up owning slaves. Think about that.

Do you believe that women would have ever been given the right to vote if that had been left up to the individual States to vote on? As it is – women are still looking for that equal pay thing to click in.

One has to only look at what the States are doing right now to the rights a woman has to get an abortion. They can’t take that right away from her, but… they can make the laws of the States so rigid that no doctor or clinic can possibly follow them thus abortions in some States have pretty much disappeared.

Look at a map of the United States and see what the States have done and are doing in terms of marriage equality.

And while there has been a shift in public opinion (Washington, Maryland, Maine, for example), one should never place the civil rights of a minority in the hands of the majority – ever. The minority will almost always lose – history shows us this time and time again.

A civil union is not a marriage and does not offer the same legal benefits, dignity and respect as a marriage – just as separate but equal was never, ever equal. It was, and is, merely – separate.

You can talk the talk, but walking the walk while you’re talking is what will bring about change.

Our work here is far from done…

Opinions and advice expressed in our Views & Voices columns represent the author's own views and not necessarily those of LGBTQ Nation. We welcome opposing views and diverse perspectives. To submit a article, column or video, contact us here. Due to the volume of submissions received, we cannot guarantee publication.

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8 more reader comments:

  1. I think everyone should take the opportunity to read that. Very, very well done.

    Posted on Sunday, January 27, 2013 at 2:11pm
  2. This is a very good article–and your point is phrased perfectly. Do you really believe that black people would have the right to vote in alabama or mississippi if we had left that civil rights issue in the hands of the states? Hell, women wouldn’t even have the right to vote in those states either. We didn’t receive the right to vote until sixty years after that!

    Marriage equality is not an issue that should be “up to the states”. We are talking about civil rights, here. Not roads, or public transportation, or whether we should fund another statue in town square.

    We’re talking about citizens, people, liberty. We are talking about being equal in the eyes of the law and we need to stop allowing those opposed to civil rights to pretend that isn’t the issue with gay marriage. This IS about civil rights. That needs to be the talking point–don’t even discuss the rest until we’ve made this abundantly clear.

    I’m so happy that Washington state allowed marriage–yes, I’m JUST going to say marriage, not gay marriage or any other way to phrase it–because finally my Uncles’ marriage is legitimate. After 20 years of being married, they finally are.

    Anyways, just saying, this is an awesome article. And we need more articles about this–not getting distracted about the nuances, or some other stupid distraction they throw in front of us. This is a civil rights issue and we’re never going to get anywhere if people are able to lie and say it isn’t.

    Posted on Sunday, January 27, 2013 at 2:14pm
  3. This is a new civil rights issue as Bayard Rustin said I have been called a nigger and a fag and I can tell you to the marrow of my bones the difference NONE!

    Posted on Sunday, January 27, 2013 at 2:19pm
  4. Neither of these would be allowed STILL here in Virginia. Either black rights or women’s voting rights. Only a FEDERAL change in the law will allow us to be equal.

    Posted on Sunday, January 27, 2013 at 2:24pm
  5. Does he really not “see” it as a civil rights issue, or is he afraid that pushing it right now will keep him from getting other things done? After all, he was never really “evolving” his beliefs on same-sex marriage. He always thought it was right. But it wasn’t politically the right time for him to “come out” in favor of it until Biden did it for him. I’m not trying to say bad things about our president. I personally think he is awesome! But he is a politician, and he has to play by the rules sometimes. We’ll see what happens. He may surprise us yet.

    Posted on Sunday, January 27, 2013 at 2:40pm
  6. I think he (Obama) is being very cautious on the issue give that the midterm elections coming up in 2014. Democrats stand a very good chance of losing the senate and I think he wants to toe the line just enough not to hurt their chances.

    Posted on Sunday, January 27, 2013 at 2:49pm
  7. This is absolutely correct. If ANY group of American citizens is having their rights violated, the federal government has a DUTY to step in. Period.

    Posted on Sunday, January 27, 2013 at 8:07pm
  8. The federal government is violating rights the most.

    Posted on Monday, January 28, 2013 at 9:11am