VOTE for STATES OF UNION because tolerance isn’t enough – we all deserve Acceptance.
Supporters may VOTE for STATES OF UNION: a project that supports LGBT rights online at: www.refresheverything.com/statesofunion
I Do Not Deserve Your Tolerance
By: David Badash (The New Civil Rights Movement)
I am an American citizen. I pay taxes. I vote. I have a passport. I volunteer my time and voice and donate money to charities or causes I believe in. I have a college degree from a pretty good school. For most of the time since I was fifteen I have worked, often 60 – 80 hours a week. I am in a committed relationship. I try to call my mother a few times a week. I hold the door open for anyone in front of or behind me. I’m generally the last one out of the elevator. I’ve contacted my local government when I believed something needed improvement. I have good, long-term friendships. I’ve given money to friends who needed help. I’ve lent countless items to friends, assuming they will not be returned. I’ve worked to help people I know who were in crisis get through the next day. I’ve sat on the phone for hours with people who were depressed. I have a dog, the second one I’ve rescued from a shelter. I feed and walk him, a lot. I pick up after him, every time. I am called upon to help or give an opinion several times a week. I’ve done jury duty. I have never been arrested. I am financially self-sufficient. I have a few credit cards. I have an apartment. I have homeowners’ insurance. When I needed a car for work I got one, kept it in good shape, kept it insured. I have a home air purifier. I take vitamins. I try to eat well and take care of myself physically and mentally. I have a primary care physician. I always bring a gift to a host or hostess when I am invited into their home. I say “please,” “thank you,” and, too often I’m told, “I’m sorry.” I sometimes send out Christmas cards. I call friends to say “Happy Thanksgiving.” I, not infrequently, get calls from people who used to work for me asking if I would given them a reference. I rarely say “no.” I rarely say “no” when asked to do anything for someone. No one knows this, but I am the only person in my building of over 300 apartments who calls the laundry company when the machines break. I sometimes go into the recycling bins and re-sort them when my neighbors mix paper and plastic. I always leave a good tip, usually more than 20%. I don’t yell at waiters or waitresses, though I have yelled at drivers who run red lights. I keep my TV and music at a reasonable level, especially late at night so I don’t disturb my neighbors. I’ve installed dimmers in my home to conserve electricity. I have a checking and a savings account. I almost always pay my bills on time. I have an excellent credit rating. I tip all the doormen and maintenance people in my building at Christmas. I’ve lived in the same apartment for nine years. I backup my computer. I buy extended warranties on expensive electronics. I try to share information as often as I can. I generally pay more than my share when going out to dinner with friends. I generally return calls within twenty-four hours. I keep my home reasonably clean. I subscribe to a daily newspaper, and try to read it almost every day. I keep abreast of current events. I receive my news from a wide variety of sources. When disagreeing with someone, I try to remain civil and respectful. I take my dog to the dog park several times a week. I know he would like to go more often. I compliment strangers sometimes. I call restaurants to cancel if I can’t keep my reservation. I try to validate my friend’s feelings and listen to their thoughts openly. I rarely boast or brag. I try to patronize local businesses. Although it’s hard for me to say this, I’m pretty certain I will have left somewhat of a positive impact on the world by the time I’m gone. I scattered my father’s ashes where he wanted me to. I flew with my family to attend my grandmother’s funeral. I was captain of the safety patrol in sixth grade. I was president of the theatre society in high school. I wrote to my congressmen to help save the dolphins from tuna fishermen when I was a boy. I want to get married. I can’t, because I’m gay.
I grew up feeling sad and different and sometimes ashamed.
I no longer am sad, I’m glad I’m different, and I’ll be damned if I’ll ever be ashamed of who I am or what I believe. Because what I believe is that we are all the same. We are all equal. We all deserve to love and have our love recognized.
I think I’m a pretty good person. I know I’m as good as anyone else. I have done little enough wrong to deserve your forgiveness. I’ve done nothing that deserves your pity. And I know that I am good enough to not deserve your tolerance.
Tolerance is for someone who doesn’t know better, like my dog who likes to jump on people. Tolerance is for someone whose views negatively impact your life, like people who want to stop me from loving the man I love, with all my heart. I do not want your tolerance. I do not deserve your tolerance. I will not accept your tolerance, any longer. What I will do is my best to ensure that we are all given equality and the legal right to love and marry the person who loves us back. From now on I will tolerate nothing less.
Supporters may VOTE for STATES OF UNION: a project that supports LGBT rights online at: http://www.refresheverything.com/statesofunion
VOTE for STATES OF UNION because even Laura Bush supports Gay Marriage and Equal Rights!
Lesbian/Gay youth who have been abandoned by their family are nine times more likely to attempt suicide because of feelings of isolation. A Pepsi Grant would fund the educational youth component of States of Union. States of Union is a multi-dimensional project that focuses on gay & lesbian couples/families. In depicting healthy and stable family life within the gay community, State of Union will help combat the high rate of suicides among gay youth. Through traveling exhibitions, educational workshops and an interactive community blog, the youth component of States of Union will encourage positive identity formation. Your grant will fund the technical development of a website where gay youth can find information about national/community resources, pose questions, and share stories about their coming-out experiences. It will also fund the execution of the traveling educational & exhibition program.
The Advocate is currently running story about States of Union. It can be seen in the “Arts and Entertainment” section through the link below.
Published Jan 9, 2010
By Theodore B. Olson | NEWSWEEK
Together with my good friend and occasional courtroom adversary David Boies, I am attempting to persuade a federal court to invalidate California’s Proposition 8 — the voter-approved measure that overturned California’s constitutional right to marry a person of the same sex.
My involvement in this case has generated a certain degree of consternation among conservatives. How could a politically active, lifelong Republican, a veteran of the Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush administrations, challenge the “traditional” definition of marriage and press for an “activist” interpretation of the Constitution to create another “new” constitutional right?
My answer to this seeming conundrum rests on a lifetime of exposure to persons of different backgrounds, histories, viewpoints, and intrinsic characteristics, and on my rejection of what I see as superficially appealing but ultimately false perceptions about our Constitution and its protection of equality and fundamental rights.
Many of my fellow conservatives have an almost knee-jerk hostility toward gay marriage. This does not make sense, because same-sex unions promote the values conservatives prize. Marriage is one of the basic building blocks of our neighborhoods and our nation. At its best, it is a stable bond between two individuals who work to create a loving household and a social and economic partnership. We encourage couples to marry because the commitments they make to one another provide benefits not only to themselves but also to their families and communities. Marriage requires thinking beyond one’s own needs. It transforms two individuals into a union based on shared aspirations, and in doing so establishes a formal investment in the well-being of society. The fact that individuals who happen to be gay want to share in this vital social institution is evidence that conservative ideals enjoy widespread acceptance. Conservatives should celebrate this, rather than lament it.
Legalizing same-sex marriage would also be a recognition of basic American principles, and would represent the culmination of our nation’s commitment to equal rights. It is, some have said, the last major civil-rights milestone yet to be surpassed in our two-century struggle to attain the goals we set for this nation at its formation.
This bedrock American principle of equality is central to the political and legal convictions of Republicans, Democrats, liberals, and conservatives alike. The dream that became America began with the revolutionary concept expressed in the Declaration of Independence in words that are among the most noble and elegant ever written: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
So there are now three classes of Californians: heterosexual couples who can get married, divorced, and remarried, if they wish; same-sex couples who cannot get married but can live together in domestic partnerships; and same-sex couples who are now married but who, if they divorce, cannot remarry. This is an irrational system, it is discriminatory, and it cannot stand.
Americans who believe in the words of the Declaration of Independence, in Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, in the 14th Amendment, and in the Constitution’s guarantees of equal protection and equal dignity before the law cannot sit by while this wrong continues. This is not a conservative or liberal issue; it is an American one, and it is time that we, as Americans, embraced it.
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Marriage is a civil and human right. The American public must come to know what gay marriage actually looks like such that they come to fear it less. What is more, as New York University professor Patrick J. Egan, explains, “opposition to same-sex marriage shoots up a bit in the month or two or three after a big court decision” in favor of gay marriage. However, over time and with further exposure, “people’s experience with the policy changes their attitudes.” Photographing couples and families from around the United States as part of States of Union, and then exhibiting the photographs will help promote this adjustment as well as show the general public whom they are voting against, in order to make relationship recognition a reality.