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Fifty shades of red: The fight for equality marches on

Saturday, April 6, 2013
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On March 26, the day the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on the constitutionality of Proposition 8, California’s ban on same-sex marriage, significantly more Facebook users — roughly 2.7 million (120%) more — updated their profile photo compared to the previous Tuesday.

In fact, Facebook released this map, showing that each area of red reflects where someone changed their Facebook profile picture to the Human Rights Campaign’s red symbol for equality — the more intense color, the more users displayed the quality symbol

What struck when I looked at this map was the correlation of where the sparseness of red is on the map of red equality signs and where the red is on this map of the slave states.

I pointed this out in a post I made on Facebook, and a sweet friend of mine gently reminded me not to focus on the negative of the maps, but on the positive of how much red there is on the equality map.

I didn’t see the map in that way. I saw it in a racist, homophobic way, since this is what I’ve been programed to see and how I’ve been programed to react.

So – I went and looked at the equality map again with different eyes, and what I saw was a sea of red – a sea of support – a sea of love.

The Equality map is filled with red – there is even a solid red patch deep in the heart of Texas. Now that is progress.

I’m not saying there is still not work to be done because, judging from some of the emails I’ve received this week alone, some folks are still not convinced we should have equal rights. Some don’t believe we should have any rights what-so–ever, and some would be happy if we’d just leave the country.

I read this week that the leader of the Southern Baptist Convention, Fred Luter, said in a radio interview:

“I would not be surprised that at the time when we are debating same-sex marriage, at a time when we are debating whether or not we should have gays leading the Boy Scout movement, I don’t think it’s just a coincidence that we have a mad man in Asia who is saying some of the things that he’s saying.”

Just add the bombing – if it happens – to the list of things gays are responsible for: 9/11, tornadoes, hurricanes, the divorce rate among heterosexuals, and all the other evils that have befallen the United States of America.

There are just some people who will go to their graves believing what they believe.  That is their journey – that is their little bit of racism, hatred and discrimination they will have to answer for.

I believe at this moment in time, the red on the equality map needs to be celebrated. I believe the acceptance and support of our friends and families and co-workers and strangers needs to be celebrated, for these are the people who will stand by us and love us and help us to win whatever battles may lie ahead.

The equality map will never be a solid red – at least not in my lifetime.

Maybe someday when people put what is best for the people ahead of what is best for them, and when people understand that the separation of church and state is not there to protect religion from the government, but instead to protect the government from the clutches of religious zealots.

Maybe then the map will be a beautiful shade of red.

Until then… the fight continues…

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