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Proposition 8 and civil rights.

Hey, gang. Let's talk Proposition 8.

Let's forget about the marriage issue itself. Let's look at "gay marriage" in the larger context of "gay rights."

Proposition 8 is about repealing civil rights. It's not about the right to marry. That's just a front. What Proposition 8 is really about is excluding gay citizens from straight culture. And if homophobic opponents can do that by repealing California marriage laws, it will encourage them to go after more and more power over gay people, to push back in more and more ways, on more and more issues.

And that matters.

It's perfectly legal in this country for a man or woman to be denied health care because they're GLBTQ.
It's perfectly legal in this country for a man or woman to be denied a job because they're GLBTQ.
It's perfectly legal in this country for a man or woman to be denied employee benefits because they're GLBTQ.
It's perfectly legal in this country for a hate crime to be committed against someone because of sexual orientation.

Sure, there are some states in the U.S. that have these kinds of protections in place, but those protections don't go far enough.

They don't go far enough because state laws, with elections every 2 years, are more easily influenced by changing local politics and sentiment. They're easier to overturn than federal law. And not all states have them.

Example: right now in Virginia, Gov. Tim Kaine has extended an executive order banning state agencies from discrimination due to sexual orientation. But executive orders aren't law, and moreover, they don't always take effect:
    Former Martinsville, Va., resident Michael Moore, who is gay, said he was forced to resign from his position at the Virginia Museum of Natural History in 2006 because of his sexual orientation. While Moore filed a petition with the Office of Equal Employment Services in the same year to grieve his termination, the case has not yet been resolved.


And then there's the issue of hate crimes.

Everyone reading this needs to read this article on Satendar Singh, an American who was brutally killed by a group of immigrant evangelists who are now hiding his captor in Russia.

  • Because this crime is not classifiable as a hate crime under federal law, only one of the other members of the group that attacked Singh received sentencing, and the sentencing was light: less than six months in jail.

  • Because this crime is not classifiable as a federal hate crime, there is no way to add the weight of a federal investigation to the search for Andrew Vusik, who was primarily responsible for the beating. If this were a hate crime, he could be eligible for America's Most Wanted list, which would allow prosecutors to expedite the investigation in Russia.

    ______

    There's no direct connection between Singh's death and gay marriage, but add it up. He was killed by California evangelists who have in recent years organized a rabid anti-gay movement in Sacramento. If Prop 8 passes, it will only encourage more pushback on hard-earned gay rights around this country.

    If Prop 8 passes, it will only enflame and incite anti-gay passion in this country, even more than it already has.

    If you've been paying attention you know that the polling shows the outcome to be in a dead heat. At this point, the biggest advantage the anti-Prop 8 movement has on its side is money. And even if we aren't in California, that's an area where we can all help.



    Donate a dollar, donate ten, donate once and as many times as you can before the election. The more "Vote No" ads flood the airwaves, the more the polls swing towards "no," the more we educate, and the closer we can come to silencing homophobic voices in California. And we need gay marriage to stand firm in California, because we are not going to allow homophobes to set the precedent that civil rights can be repealed in one of the most liberal states in the country.

    Speak up. Act up. Fight for equality. Donate. Because defeating Prop 8 in California is every bit as important to the future of civil rights in this country as who we elect next Tuesday.
  • Tags: politics
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