Post SCOTUS, post DOMA and Prop 8 decisions, the “now what” in LGBT equality question is getting attention, and one response to that question comes by way of the Campaign for Southern Equality. The organization didn’t just come into existence, but they were very ready for this moment. Other LGBT groups are, too, of course, from local to state to national levels. I find the efforts of CSE to be particularly inspiring precisely because they refuse to comply with the “just move to where you’re more accepted” arguments ““ and we hear them regularly ““ but stay, and fight for equality. There are a lot of people doing that, in the South and other more “challenging,” but definitely changing toward the better, areas.
About CSE: (emphasis added throughout)
Based in North Carolina, the Campaign for Southern Equality is an effort to assert the full humanity and equality of LGBT people living in the South.
One of their projects is the WE DO Campaign, which
… involves LGBT couples in the Southern communities where they live requesting ““ and being denied ““ marriage licenses in order to call for full equality under federal law and to resist unjust state laws.
These WE DO actions serve to make the impact of discriminatory laws visible to the general public; they illustrate what it looks like when LGBT people are treated as second-class… citizens under the law.
Take less than three minutes to watch.
Since the Supreme Court rulings regarding DOMA and Prop 8, I’ve had multiple conversations with people, mostly those I’ve known for years, mostly LGBT but also allies, who have been involved in work toward LGBT equality for a long time. All of us are thrilled with the SCOTUS decisions, as we were with the repeal of DADT, as we are with each step into equality, from local to federal. One other thing became clear as our conversations continued over the last few days. It doesn’t take away from the celebratory mood, but there’s also a strong sense of “I’ve talked and written and argued for this for so long that I’m out of words.” As one friend told me, “When people ask me what I think, I’ve considered sending links.” And besides, we agreed, there are plenty of words ““ good, strong, ecstatic words ““ being spoken.
Inevitably, at about that point the conversations turned to “Now what?” What next steps and actions will help move us to the fulfillment of other, equally as important dreams? Stop to smell the roses (or whatever works for you; I’m inclusive, and would go for a field of blue bonnets), but don’t sit there until the flowers are bloomed out.
And, of course, many people are very well along in answering the “now what” question. CSE’s WE DO Campaign is one example.
Celebrations continue. Statements agreeing and disagreeing with the decisions are still coming, from the White House to “citizen on the street.” Most likely the next sermon topic was an easy one for many, pro and con marriage equality.
And lots of analysis, which is obviously important, continues being done. It includes wide recognition that while this really is one of those moments we can call “historic,” there are 37 states with no marriage recognition; there are big questions about how same-sex couples are treated in terms of the military and immigration; and among other things, there is no federal employment protection. None of that detracts from the celebration. In fact, equality proponents in all of those “issues,” and more, can be energized by the SCOTUS decisions.
At The Advocate, “Message at Rallies: Celebrate Today, Fight Tomorrow.” At a post-SCOTUS decision rally in West Hollywood, with about 4000 people present, screenwriter Dustin Lanc Black said:
“˜(I)t is time for each and every one of us to take that strength you now feel as Californians, and take it to Texas, and take it to Virginia … take it to Holland, Michigan … to Altoona, Pennsylvania. … You need to take your strength to these places, and share this feeling with this nation so we no longer leave a single one of our brothers or our sisters behind, no matter … which state they live.’
From the National Lesbian and Gay Task Force:
“˜Today’s historic decisions are a significant leap forward for freedom and justice for same-sex couples and their families, the LGBT community and for our nation “” and a lot more work needs to be done to deliver marriage equality to the rest of our nation’s same-sex couples and their families and full equality in every other respect for all LGBT people,’ said Rea Carey, Task Force Executive Director.
Parties continue around the nation, as they should. There’s a lot to celebrate. Statements and analyses will keep coming for a long time, I’d guess, as the impact of the decisions is made clear in practice. And advocacy and actions will continue, in all regions and states of the nation. Look to every region, including the South.
(We Do Campaign via Campaign for Southern Equality)