We shall overcome

America seriously needs a lesson in civics, most particularly the Bill of Rights. In three states this past Tuesday, as voters took a historic leap forward in electing Barrack Obama, they simultaneously said “separate and not really equal” to gays and lesbians. But we will not give up, we will not accept second class citizenship, and one day, we shall overcome.

We shall overcome
We shall overcome
We shall overcome some day

The issue in California will go back to the courts to decide whether this initiative measure meets Constitutional muster or not, so the battle continues, it has just changed the venue. But that does not address the appalling lack of understanding about equal rights by those who voted to ban gay marriage.

For some, they believe that being gay is a choice and therefore not entitled to legal protection. Ask any gay person and they will assure you it is not a choice to prefer their same gender, even if it is a choice whether to act on those feelings or not. How many heterosexuals do you know who say their orientation is a choice? Should gays have the right to prohibit opposite gender marriage? If not, what is the difference?

Some base their position on religion, and to them I say I won’t impose my views on their religion and ask that they not impose their religion on my life. If I don’t have the right to tell you who you can marry, why does your Bible have the right to dictate who I can?

The bitterest pill of all though comes from African Americans who voted overwhelmingly for these bans. One op-ed written by a self-described black lesbian contended it was, after all, just a white gay male issue and not a civil rights issue at all. She argued that gay white males didn’t reach out to her community to show why they should vote no on 8 (our proposition here in California).

My response is that no one from her community came to me when at age 17 I read about a demonstration against racial segregation in housing at a Los Angeles new tract of homes. That was 1957. No one had to tell me to keep marching, demonstrating, protesting, writing, voting and otherwise insisting on equal treatment for all ever since. No one came to me when, driving from L.A. to Texas with my buddies, one Hispanic, another Afro Cuban, we were denied service at every restaurant, motel and other facility along the way. I knew that it was up to me to stand for the rights of all people, so I insisted in sitting in at a lunch counter, the right to integrated housing at the Kiwanis sponsored convention in Texas, and even the right to sleep in an all “negro” motel on the way.

I just don’t buy all the excuses and explanations for those who cannot own up to their bigotry. Yes, that is what it is. I do not care what you think of my sexuality, I don’t care what your damn Bible, Koran or whatever has to say.

This is America. Our Constitution demands equal rights for all, not just those we are “comfortable with” or approve of. I may be going to hell in your way of thinking, but the Constitution gives me the same rights as you along the way.

We shall all be free
We shall all be free
We shall all be free some day
We shall overcome some day.


  1. Hal Brown

    Connecticut Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriages start today.

    Connecticut Supreme Court’s decision legalizing same-sex marriage: celebrations in HARTFORD COURANT

    In his majority opinion, Justice Richard N. Palmer agreed with the activists. He wrote that the “segregation of heterosexual and homosexual couples into separate institutions constitutes a cognizable harm,” in light of “the history of pernicious discrimination faced by gay men and lesbians and because the institution of marriage carries with it a status and significance that the newly created classification of civil unions does not embody.”

    In a dissenting opinion, Justice Peter T. Zarella wrote that “there is no fundamental right to same sex marriage.” from BOSTON GLOBE