Equal Rights: More Than a March

I just got back from the National Equality March that is taking place right now in Washington. Thousands of GLBT equality advocates have descended on Northwest D.C. and are in full force as they march from McPherson Square to the steps of the Capitol.

The march has been met with some skepticism, especially by openly gay Member of Congress, Barney Frank (D-MA), who told Associated Press: “The only thing they’re going to be putting pressure on is the grass.” He went on to allude to more effective ways the GLBT community could push their equality agenda – constituent lobby days and grassroots efforts in the states, such as Maine, where gay marriage will soon be voted on. But even with that valid point, the thousands of marchers in Washington had ample reason to be here.

Over the last two decades, our government has actually established legislation that prohibits equality. First there is Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT), a ban of openly gay people in the military, which reduces military effectiveness. Then there is the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which conflicts the Constitution by connecting church and state with a legal definition of marriage: between a man and a women.

On the other hand, you have the Employee Non-Discrimination Act (EDNA), a piece of legislation that protects people from wrongful termination – except GLBT people. In fact, in 29 states, employers can fire or not hire someone based on their sexuality. And the list of policies that dictate civil rights for a minority group in America goes on.

In sum, our government is actively producing policy that makes some U.S. citizens less than equals. We all know that no matter what, it is not right. But somehow that message has not reached all of America. Here are some people who want to change that.

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