Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
It's powerful because it lays out in just 45 words some of our most basic and unalienable rights. It's profound because it maps out the guiding philosophy of our democracy. In short, it makes us who we are and shows us what we believe. Namely, it tells us that we are free. We're free to speak our minds. We are free to worship (or not worship). And we are free to protest our government. Powerful stuff, good stuff. The stuff democracies are made of.
So it is with an eye to our First Amendment and our Declaration of Independence with its assurance of Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness that I look toward the National Day of Protest Saturday.
Nov. 4 was a watershed for the gay community. As we watched the election results we felt every emotion all at once. Pride and Anger. Elation and pain. While we were overwhelmingly overjoyed at the historic election of Barack Obama, we were also overwhelmingly saddened by our fellow citizen's decision to ban gay marriage.
The dichotomy of a country electing its first African-American president on the same night it uniformly discriminated against another group's civil rights will one day be looked back on with shame. Dreams deferred doesn't make the dreams realized less amazing. But they are a reminder that the struggle for all men and women to be truly seen as created equal is far from over.
Still, if there is to be a silver lining the passing of Proposition 8 and the country's other anti-gay initiatives it is that we, as a community, are now galvanized. Many of us tend to live in our own bubbles; we surround ourselves with make-shift families and like-minded friends. This is how we have survived for decades, centuries. But Nov. 4 was a reminder that there is a wider world that still wants to deny our essential personhood. And we need to let them know that that is not OK.
Make no mistake, the debate over gay marriage isn't really about marriage. It's about legitimization. In our society, marriage is the most legitimizing force for any relationship. While the anti-forces say they want us to have the same rights as them and that they just want to protect the “sanctity of marriage.” But what they really mean is your relationships are not worthy. That we aren't worthy. It really couldn't be simpler. And it really couldn't be more wrong.
So this weekend my crush is on all of you who will exercise your First Amendment Rights at the National Day of Protest Saturday. Find the location nearest you and let the world know that we are all free and all equal. Let them know that our love is worthy. We are worthy. Fight the H8. Happy weekend, all.