in june of 1969, people began to stand up for the rights of gay and lesbian men and women following the raid on the bar at the stonewall inn in new york city. ever since, baby steps have been taken to recognize members of the lgbt community for exactly what they are – human beings no different than any other person on this planet. it’s interesting to me that in the same time period when tens of thousands of people fought for equality for people of color – a battle that was long overdue and vital to the continuation of society – another group of people fighting for equality battled in silence without gaining much ground. please do not hear this as comparing the plight of the african-american community to that of the lgbt community. that will always be The civil rights movement (capital “T”), but nonetheless this is “A” civil rights movement. but 40 years later, people are still fighting to be considered equal. this is not an “issue” but is about human beings.
many people, especially in the conservative church world, have to continued to advocate exclusion, judgment, and condemnation of the lgbt community. in spite of their efforts, progress has been made. one of the most significant steps forward came when the state of massachusetts legalized gay marriage. several years later, may of 2008 to be exact, the california supreme court overturned prop 22 (a ban on gay marriage) as unconstitutional which then launched the creation of proposition 8. in the midst of the battle over prop 8, connecticut even legalized gay marriage. then on november 4, 2008 the fight for equal rights for the lgbt community suffered an emotional blow: not only did prop 8 pass in california, but arizona and florida both passed constitutional amendments further defined the right of marriage away from the lgbt community, and arkansas passed a ban on adoption by gay couples. in one day, rights were taken away from a group of people who had been given rights, and rights were distanced from others even further.
throughout history, the church has been a voice of fighting for the rights of others: john wesley & william wilberforce in the fight to end slavery; William booth and the salvation army fighting poor working conditions for women & children in match factories; dr. martin luther king, jr. and the battle to end segregation. and now the church is leading the charge to deny a group of human beings equal rights under the law…the law. in the justification of “loving the sinner and hating the sin,” many within the conservative church compare homosexuality to rape, murder, adultery, etc. those “sins” are acted on other people against their will...people are entitled to their convictions, but voting yes on prop 8 acted those convictions on a group of people against their will. the right to live as the men and women God created them to be is not acting on anyone against his or her will. government’s role is not to legislate morality; it is to protect the rights and well-being of its citizens – all citizens, especially the rights of the minority.
my next post in this thread will be on the separation of church and state…
journeying in life, love, and the pursuit of Jesus…~aroll