A Community Working Together So Gays May Marry
Re “The Debate Over Gay Marriages: No Unity” (June 13): I am in full agreement that it is imperative for the gay leadership and gay community to analyze the “right to marry” issue and to form a savvy and well-planned strategy to gain this right. I also acknowledge that this will be a long hard battle, as have been all the civil rights battles in our country’s history.
However, while there may be disagreement among gay leaders, community and non-gay allies on the best long-term strategy, this does not mean that we disagree that equal rights for all people, including gay people, should not be granted.
The right for people of the same gender to enter into a legal and sacred bond would then give lesbians and gay men the same choice to be married that heterosexual people enjoy. Some heterosexuals do not choose to marry, but they do have the choice.
Those who wish to deny same-gender marriage sound as irrationally hysterical as those who were so zealous about keeping women and black people out of the mainstream and in second-class status. In this country we do not have a second class according to our Constitution. We just act as if we do until our laws change and we can no longer legally discriminate against people. Gay people are the last of our second-class citizens and this is un-American by definition. It is that simple.
Joseph Hanania’s article on the civil rights struggle for equal marriage rights may give readers a mistaken impression that the lesbian and gay community is hopelessly divided on this issue.
In fact, quite the opposite is true. This topic has united our community as no other struggle has before. An unprecedented 30 groups--Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Community Services Center, Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, Stonewall Democratic Club, Log Cabin Republicans and the ACLU to name just a few--have been working together for over a year under the banner of the Los Angeles Freedom to Marry Coalition.
A coalition similar to ours exists on a national level, and others are being formed locally throughout the country. Of course some debate exists among our community groups about strategy and timing in our struggle. That is a normal, healthy process, a free exchange of ideas that will move us closer to our common goal of equal rights for all gay and lesbian Americans.
Steering Committee Member
Los Angeles Freedom to Marry Coalition