Friday, June 15, 2007

Lesbians & gays are finally free! Well, maybe, sort of, kind of...

By Diane Silver

Oh, the Internet is buzzing in the aftermath of the Massachusetts gay marriage vote. Kevin Drum is cheerful and positive the gays have won.

Kevin quotes Michael Kinsley who writes at Time Magazine that LGBT folk have carried the day in all areas of rights and fairness, or at least will soon.

Personally, I am pleased and downright delighted at what happened in Massachusetts. I am thrilled that my very own town will soon have a domestic partner registry. I am happy that Iowa just approved a statewide law protecting against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Every other victory we have won is sweet indeed.

But only someone who has never had to live as a lesbian, gay man or bisexual could possibly believe that we're free. We aren't even close to being free, or equal under the law or even to being treated fairly. Oh yes, society is changing, but our families and our children still suffer.

Our children can still taken from us for no other reason than the fact that we are lesbian or gay. We can still be fired from our jobs in almost every city and state in the country for no other reason than our sexual orientation.

And there is no state in the nation -- not even Massachusetts -- where we have equal rights with heterosexual couples. Even legally married lesbians and gays in the Bay State do not have the more than 1,000 federal benefits that heterosexual couples take for granted.

So yup, I am happy at what has happened and at all we are accomplishing. But it's not enough, and the fight for basic human decency and fairness, the fight to be treated as if this country actually believed in the Golden Rule, is just beginning.

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