The striking down of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and Prop 8 are great victories for justice and equality. But, with 5-4 decisions, especially on DOMA, the Supreme Court is still deeply out of touch. Or, even worse, perhaps our Justices are simply unwilling to unequivocally stand for the founding principles of our nation. For comparison, Brown v. Board of Education was decided 9-0.
Juxtaposed to these wins is yesterday’s decision on the Voting Rights Act (VRA). Long story short, it got destroyed. Two hours later, Texas moved to institute a Voter ID Law and redistricting plan previously struck down under the VRA. I’ve got a sinking feeling that for every homosexual who can marry, there’s a minority who won’t be voting.
And then there’s Texas. Last night State Senator Wendy Davis held the floor for over 10 hours to filibuster a bill that would have stripped women of the ability to choose in her state. In a desperate attempt to stop her from going until midnight, when the Texas legislature would have been legally forced to adjourn until their next session, Senate Republicans violated the Rules of Order and ended her filibuster early. But that’s the worst part: Republicans are willing to cheat process and Democracy. Jeers from the Senate gallery prevented the vote from actually being held before midnight and, while they attempted for a while to claim the vote had passed, the timestamp resolved the question: the bill is dead. At least until next session – which will likely be called by Governor Rick Perry as an Extraordinary Session really, really soon because this is just super important to the state.*
It’s been a roller coaster 48 hours for America with wins, losses, and wins that looked like losses but could still probably be losses soon, all sandwiched back to back. But stringing them together is a common thread: the equal rights and freedoms we cherish are really only protected by one thing – us. From the historical tidal wave, starting with the Civil Rights Movement and VRA which culminated to make it so clear DOMA and Prop 8 could not stand, to the derision in the Texas Senate gallery that delayed order for precious minutes until midnight.
So, it’s time to get active. The legacy of the Civil Rights Movement that brought us Marriage Equality has cloaked the murder of its genesis. Texas will very likely be voting again soon on the abortion bill, and a filibuster until adjournment will be significantly more difficult.
Any time you get involved is a good time – I did it four years ago – but this is a GREAT time. Battles that have been waged for decades are coming to their climax now. The struggle for individual liberties and social rights is being decided today. And for all it’s faults, America will always have one great thing going for it – everything is up to US.
But it never hurts to celebrate the wins, so please join us for what will undoubtedly be an amazing Gay Pride Parade this Sunday 6/30 at 12:00pm. We’re meeting at 38th between 5th and 6th. Contact Allie Feldman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*UPDATE: Gov. Rick Perry of Texas has called for a Special Session of the Texas legislature to pass the abortion bill.