A national call for nonviolent direct action
in the struggle for marriage equality
Jeff Lutes, M.S., L.P.C.
Last week thousands of lesbian and gay people and their friends filled the streets of California in peaceful protest. Outraged, these upright Californians chose to take action and publicly march against Proposition 8 and the LDS Church for financing the deceptive ads that helped it pass.
First, bravo to our California friends -- their moral indignation is healthy and just. Second, hooray for those in other parts of the country who have begun to follow suit -- let us not stop until every community has mounted sustained campaigns of resistance.
Despite our substantial legislative efforts, thirty states have now passed bans on same-gender marriage. That should serve as a wake-up call to our movement -- one that forces us to consider what we might be doing wrong.
Discrimination does not begin in our courts or in our government -- it ends up there. The fear and misinformation that drives unjust legislation gets its start within society, and the primary source of the problem is the sanctuaries, wealthy mega-churches, and powerful religious institutions of this country. With gigantic and captive national audiences, both Protestant and Catholic churches teach falsehoods that cause voters to cast their ballot against the constitutional promise of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" for their gay and lesbian neighbors.
In this election, like so many others before it, the call from the pulpit was clear: We must stop the gays. As millions of gays and lesbians had their hearts broken, some religious leaders rejoiced in that suffering. The Rev. James Garlow, senior pastor of Skyline Church in San Diego County, told the New York Times "It was a great victory. We just saw the people rise up."
It's time for all of us to rise up like thousands are doing now in the Golden State and elsewhere.
We are tired of defeat, token change, defending ourselves against charges of moral inferiority, and being told to "wait" in the land we love while liberation occurs in other countries. Martin Luther King, Jr. acknowledged that real change takes time; yet he also warned against the "tranquilizing drug of gradualism" and instructed the oppressed to demand equality now -- not on the convenient time schedule of those doing the oppressing.
Nonviolent direct action strategies such as marches, vigils, demonstrations, boycotts, public protests, and civil disobedience, seek to create what Dr. King called "healthy tension." This constructive nonviolent tension forces those who perpetuate injustice, and society as a whole, to pause, reflect, and consider the ugliness of their prejudices and the indecency embodied in their discrimination. In his Letter from Birmingham Jail, Dr. King wrote: "Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored." Public protests empower us and educate those who are still the victims of fear and division.
It's imperative that we remain nonviolent in our approach. Although it may provide short term emotional release, it's ultimately counterproductive to scream expletives at those who have harmed us. We must refrain from damaging property or trying to destroy the character of others and instead approach those who promote discrimination in a spirit of nonviolence. As both Gandhi and King taught, we must avoid violence of the fist, tongue, and heart and remember that in truth we are challenging unjust systems, not people. In due course, we seek to be in community with those from whom we currently find ourselves divided.
So, start organizing now. Don't wait on a LGBT rights group to take the lead. Most of the protests in California were organized by just a handful of people. You can do it too. Imagine the productive conversations around America's dinner tables if the evening news was flooded with coverage of peaceful marches in the other 29 states that ban marriage equality.
In the wake of our recent losses, let's rededicate our lives to speaking out with integrity and let's reclaim nonviolent direct action as part of that process. Let's understand that the vision of equality belongs to all of us and we are each responsible for taking direct action in pursuit of that dream. We all have the faculty to be powerful, influential, and prevailing. Let's reinvest in our movement for social change, believe in our own capacity to affect that change, and allow the boldness and hunger for justice to grow and contagiously spread to others.
Let's take it to the streets.
Rea Carey, Executive Director
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund
I know that right now, many of you are still shocked, saddened, and extremely angry about the passage of Proposition 8 in California — and let me tell you, so are we.
Losses on similar constitutional amendments in Arizona and Florida, and an adoption ban in Arkansas, are equally devastating. But we're picking ourselves back up here at the Task Force, and we're continuing the fight. And today I want to ask you to turn the anger you may feel at this moment into positive action.
Start by signing your name to our Anger into Action Declaration right now. This declaration is about showing wide public support for the fundamental rights of LGBT people. The latest marriage amendments and adoption ban passed by our fellow citizens are built on lies and deception, and we can't stand for it.
After you sign the declaration, think about what you can be doing in your own life to keep the visibility high and voice your support for full equality. Here are a few examples of what people all around the country are doing to keep up the fight.
Cathy and Ellen, married in California after the May 2008 Supreme Court ruling, are attending a rally and march tonight, protesting discrimination being written into our state constitutions.
Madeline in New York is keeping her "No on 8" button up on her Facebook profile, in solidarity with her Californian friends and family.
A straight ally wrote us a moving e-mail, letting us know he and his wife just donated $100 in honor of their six-month-old son — in hopes that, regardless of his sexual orientation, their child would grow up with the opportunity to share his life with the partner of his choice.
Brian is writing a letter to the editor of his local newspaper in Florida, sharing his views on how discrimination persists, even in light of the progress his state saw in the presidential election.
There is no action too small, and every action — symbolic or more tangible — makes a difference.
I am so proud, despite our losses, of our efforts this election season and continue to be moved by the outpouring of support from our community and our allies. We've called on you, our most loyal supporters, time and time again — to give, to knock on doors, to make phone calls, and to do everything you could to make sure that LGBT people are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.
(Authors note; The Task Force has been a Bastion of Solidarity for Queer and Transgender folks. A call for rational thought when emotions are high may be the last thing we want, but in the long run the results of will be admired by the very ones we currently are at odds with~:)k
November 11, 2008
Now that we have had a week to let the magnatude of the havoc that was wrecked on the GLBT agenda there have been a wide varance of responses. Some protest loudly. Some pray. Some are arrested( do not dance on patrol cars). Many of us wish to localize the pain and blame.
The responses are varied in focus and the expected amount of time for results. I do not advocate the exclusive use of one but will post all.
The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force has http://www.kintera.org/c.qkIWKaMZIxF/b.4746361/k.29E1/Anger_Into_Action_Declaration/siteapps/advocacy/ActionItem.aspx?sid=192351509&msource=anger2acte1&auid=4217042 Anger into Action Declaration for you to consider signing. Rea Carey, Executive Director asks that you sign this as an action, a first progressive step. Not a bad idea since we have morality and joesphine public with us.
The L.A Gay and Lesbian Center understandably has taken a direct route to a major orhginizer in the passage of Prop 8, the Church of the Latter Day Saints (Mormons). The Center is asking for you to make a donation in the name of the President of said institution for the defeat of marriage inequality. Not a bad idea.
I have done neiter of te above. I will not limit my advocacy, nor promise not to take action out of angrer or stupidity.
I am a woman of faith and find it objectionable to single out a religious leader for expressing his views. This individual is facing the indignation of the nation as the most cinical of Republicians are now asking "WHY".
For immediate release
Kelli Busey, Dallas Transgender Advocates and Allies (DTAA)
posted November 11, 2008
Dallas Transgender Advocates and Allies are thrilled to welcome to Dallas the Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson, Bishop of New Hampshire for a public conversation with transgender people.
Sheraton Dallas Hotel
400 North Olive Street · Dallas, Texas 75201 · United States
Map and Directions
November 22, 2008 from 1:00 until 2:00pm
Bishop Robinson will attend a "Transgender Conversation" with the Dallas Transgender Advocates, and Allies(DTAA) to share with us his wisdom and faith and to learn of the transgender struggle for equality.
Bishop Robinson has bravely stepped forward to answer questions regarding religion and it's influence on progressive social action, and to share with us what he has learned from the recent Lambeth and how his diocese situation parallels the Queer and Transgenders class struggle against social, religious and political exclusionary and revisionist agendas.
Who are the Dallas Transgender and Advocates Queers and Allies?
We are Transgender Questioning Intersexed Asexual Queers and allies. We comprise a nationwide network of diversity in ethnic, social, educational, economic, religious, gender identities, sexual orientations and political views. Our goal is to unite the Transgender Questioning Intersexed Asexual Queer community through realization of potential in soul and mind and moving forward as a whole in the cause of social, legal and religious equality.
Dallas Transgender Advocates and Allies
Donations are encouraged and appreciated to defray expenses. All remaining funds will forwarded to Carmens Place, an Episcopal home and outreach for LBGT youth, Astoria, New York
Allied and concerned organizations
Reconciling Ministries Network(RMN)
Dallas Peace Center
Dallas Peace Center.org
Left In SF
Left In SF
Organisation Intersex International, OII-USA