Monday, June 27, 2011

Dignity: At Last and Almost

The American political system is a long and arduous road for those seeking major social change, costing much in the way of time, sometimes political careers and even lives. New York State made history on June 24, 2011, becoming the sixth and largest state to allow same-sex marriage in this country. For many it was a moment of jubilation in "closing the circle" between the Stonewall Riots of 1969 to finally being granted nearly equal civil rights more than 40 years later. Here in Dallas, Texas the event did not even warrant a sideline in "The Dallas Morning News" website.

I took a quick look around some of the other national papers the morning after the news broke which, of course, was emblazoned all over CNN.Com just as it was in the New York Times. The Denver Post had a link under the "National & World Video" section titled "Stonewall celebrates gay marriage." It was the banner headline in the Washington Post with several related articles, videos and op/ed links at the top of the page. It was at least front page news in the Chicago Tribune, the Boston Globe, the Los Angeles Times and the San Francisco Chronicle and was again the lead story in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Not surprisingly no mention could be found on the front pages of papers in Birmingham or Nashville but I was surprised not to find a front page story on the Philadelphia Inquirer website Philly.Com. The Statesman carried the story as the 5th headline for the good people of Austin, Texas while the Houston Chronicle ranked it the third story below an update on voter approval to have a Confederate flag specialty license plate. The Houston article was also quick to point out directly in the hyperlink that such unions are "not recognized in Texas." The article itself was a mish mash of feed from the Associated Press and Reuters discussing some of the last minute maneuvers, reprisals against the Republicans who supported the bill and the difficulty of getting a divorce in states like Texas where such marriages are not legal or recognized. For Dallasites there was an article on the Dallas Holocaust Museum featuring an exhibit on the persecution of gays in Nazi Germany.

Judy Garland, our beloved Dorothy, died tragically on June 22, 1969 with her funeral held five days later in New York City. It has long been debated whether or not her death was in any way a causal factor of the riots that took place the very next day on June 28th in Greenwich Village, New York City. It can certainly be said that, as is the case in most riots, the victims of systemic police persecution that day had had enough. The events seem coincidental when lined up on paper but surely most people know the feeling of being picked on and then, worst of all, being kicked when already down. Even that famous line from "What's Love Got to Do With It" comes to mind when Tina, fed up, had taken all she was going to from Ike: "I ain't in the mood today!"

The timing of the bill couldn't be better for its supporters. The New York Gay Pride March is this weekend. Stonewall, Judy, even the one year anniversary for my partner and I. And while some cities as expressed through their news media bury their heads in the sand and hope it will all go away or at least not come to them, life surely goes on and evolves through ever more enlightened eyes and increasingly inspiring ways.

Gotta go.

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