“Freedom To Marry” is the headline of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) platform, published late last night. The headline, at least, according to many in the media. But is it? LGBT Americans and our allies certainly are pleased that the Democrats have finally, officially, included marriage equality in the DNC platform, a document that should be a political party’s roadmap, but is often merely an offering to a wanting base.
Here’s what the DNC says about marriage:
Freedom to Marry. We support the right of all families to have equal respect, responsibilities, and protections under the law. We support marriage equality and support the movement to secure equal treatment under law for same-sex couples. We also support the freedom of churches and religious entities to decide how to administer marriage as a religious sacrament without government interference.
We oppose discriminatory federal and state constitutional amendments and other attempts to deny equal protection of the laws to committed same-sex couples who seek the same respect and responsibilities as other married couples. We support the full repeal of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act and the passage of the Respect for Marriage Act.
As it should be.
The fact is that marriage equality — while a strong focus on these pages — is critical to a forward-moving democracy, LGBT Americans have real day-to-day problems that don’t include marriage. Like employment, housing, paying our bill, and securing our future.
But the other side of that very same coin is that full civil marriage equality is the silver bullet to homophobia, ignorance, and anti-gay hate. It’s not as fast-acting, but over time, the more people see married same-sex couples living their lives, the easier and faster acceptance and equality will be.
Which is why anti-gay groups, like NOM, the National Organization For Marriage, and anti-gay hate groups, like the American Family Association and the Family Research Council, are working so hard to oppose marriage equality — they know that once same-sex couples receive full federal legal recognition, their hatred and homophobia will not last.
As the DNC 2012 convention begins today in Charlotte, I know there are many LGBT men and women who are thinking of not voting, who haven’t bothered to register yet, or who are even thinking of voting Republican.
Complacency and voting against your community are not the paths to full and equal citizenship. Claiming you’ll “teach the president a lesson” by with holding your vote is akin to handing Mitt Romney the keys to your rights. Is that really your plan?
The DNC Headline of “Freedom To Marry” is an important one. Symbolic, in a sense, but more real than you or I today can comprehend.
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