Wednesday, May 27, 2009

ACT UP -- For Marriage Rights?

On May 27th, 2009, the California Supreme Court declared Proposition 8 a valid amendment to the state consitution. These wise dudes in their black robes reached this decision apparently by daisy-picking. "It is; it isn't; it is; it isn't." You have a fundamental right to marry; you don't have a fundamental right to marry. A curious person might wonder just how these wise dudes in black robes define "fundamental."

Then again, a curious person might wonder when gay people are going to get tired of asking nicely -- of begging -- to be treated as full American citizens. Maybe it's time to stop asking and start demanding. I remember in the early days of the AIDS epidemic we walked through the streets singing, "We are gentle, peaceful people." That got us sore feet and blisters. But the landscape changed when Larry Kramer founded ACT UP.

Even Ghandi recognized the value of non-violent direct action. We made a good start when we exposed the names of Proposition 8 supporters. We made another start when we boycotted some of those businesses that made sizable contributions to Proposition 8. And we took the next steps when, following the California Supreme Court's cowardly decision, gay activists shut down various intersections and blocked streets. Maybe we need a lot more of this kind of action.

As we celebrate Gay Pride throughout this month, maybe this is the single image we should all hold in our heads.



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