Thursday, October 8, 2009

Gay-rights advocacy must shift to the national stage.

The march to end a century of persecution | Philadelphia Inquirer | 10/08/2009
This weekend, thousands of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans will march in the nation's capital. They won't be marching for marriage rights alone. They'll be marching for complete federal equality - an end to second-class citizenship.

Organizer Cleve Jones sees Sunday's National Equality March as introducing a shift in movement strategy, from an emphasis on the patchwork progress made in states and localities to an unqualified demand for national equality. Such a move would hold the federal government more accountable not only for its current policies - some of which, such as the Defense of Marriage Act, interfere with progress on the state and local levels - but for its long history of anti-gay discrimination.

Few realize how long that history actually is, but federal hostility to homosexuality is at least a century old. Indeed, 2009 can be considered a centennial that offers another reason to march: 100 years have passed since federal officials first began to build a citizenship policy that excludes or degrades gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people.....

[Consider the words of one young soldier accused of homosexuality who found herself in front of a military board facing an undesirable discharge. "I don't feel that I am being treated like an American citizen," she said. "I would like to know why."

The year was 1958, and this brave woman did not need the experience of 100 years of federal discrimination to motivate her very simple question. How many more years do we need to answer it?]

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