That equality thing

I told Arthur, who is “New Zealand’s foremost gay American-born podcaster, blogger and such like,” that he ought to write a book about the parallels and divergences in equality issues in the United States and New Zealand.

It’s happening so quickly that I’m having a difficult time keeping track, but marriage equality has moved forward quite a lot in the past year since President Obama had given his support for same-sex marriage. Whether people support it, or not, there seems to be almost a sense of inevitability that it will happen nationwide, sooner or later, regardless of what happens in the Supreme Court this month. (Though if SCOTUS DOESN’T strike down DOMA, it will rather suck for a lot of people right NOW.)

National Basketball Association player Jason Collins comes out as gay this spring, and other than a lot of support, from the President to other sports figures, on down, the reaction mostly seems to be, “Hey, no big deal.”

All of this worries me. It seems that a level of complacency could easily set in. Moreover, when certain social progress takes place – lesbian couple on the cover of the New Yorker magazine – there is, most likely, a certain level of backlash.

I was listening to one of the podcasts of Arthur@AmeriNZ perhaps a year ago, maybe longer, and he, or Jason of 2political, was wondering whether the whole gay pride parade might be no longer necessary in certain places, such as in New York City. I would submit that because marriage equality came to New York State in 2011, it is MORE important to do so. It’s especially the case in the wake of incidents such as eight apparent NY Knicks fans wanted in an attack on a gay couple in the city not long ago, part of a wave of anti-LGBTQ crime which I’m convinced is in response to increased rights for gays.

Regardless, for me, it’s important to have such events in places such as Albany, NY. At my previous church, back in the 1990s, I asked Lillian Johnson, who was a pillar of the church before she died about a decade ago, what activities of support for gay rights we ought to be engaged in. This was not a single conversation, but something I brought up several times. Her answer was always the same. “We did something about that; we had a speaker here in 1975.” That was, BTW, well before I had attended the church, in 1982, or joined, in 1984. I thought that having another speaker, or several, might be in order.

Whereas my current church has participated in the city’s gay pride parade for many years, has a rainbow flag hanging from the bell tower every June, and in the church assembly hall the rest of the year. The Gay Men’s Chorus sings in lieu of the usual choir the first Sunday in June. The church has an active More Light Committee. There is no ambiguity in the church’s values or position, and I appreciate that.

This article suggests that people who now come out in support of marriage equality are not heroic, because there are so many other issues that LGBTQ people have to deal with, and that is true. But if the marriage issue has become “low-hanging fruit” easy to pick, then I say, “harvest away.”

I told Arthur, who is “New Zealand’s foremost gay American-born podcaster, blogger and such like,” that he ought to write a book about the parallels and divergences in equality issues in the United States and New Zealand. New Zealand passed marriage equality in 2013, which he wrote about extensively. BTW, he responds to a comment of mine in the first four minutes of his most recent podcast.

We were having this discussion in our adult education class at church, and it was suggested that the mainline Protestants are PERCEIVED to be less vocal about justice issues quite possibly because it is less hierarchical than the Roman Catholic church (with its cardinals) and less bombastic than the megachurch folks. Noted because I LOVE this: The Rev. Kathryn Johnson’s pointed memo…to the United Methodist Church is in response to charges being brought against the Rev. Dr. Thomas Ogletree. “He is facing charges in a possible United Methodist Church trial because he performed a same-sex wedding in New York City, where such marriages are fully legal. The wedding was his son’s.”

Great tweet by Evanier this month: “Donald Rumsfeld comes out against gay marriage; says if we stop it, we’ll be greeted as liberators.”
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