365Gay: US Holiday Watercooler – Be a gay rights patriot

July 04 1 Comment Category: Blogs

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Holiday Watercooler: Be a gay rights patriot

By Ray Hunt, blogger, 365gay.com

It’s that time of year for barbecue’s fairs, picnics, concerts, baseball games and fireworks…yep it’s time for Fourth of July celebrations. I was wondering what to write for the long weekend festivities. Should I post more True Blood goodness? More Catholic church hypocrisy? More pop culture tidbits that tickle my fancy?

Nope. I was inspired by the Take Back Pride movement to encourage all of us to get politicized (or more politicized) and take back the 4th of July. If you are active, inspire others. If you give cash, give time. If you are just an informed citizen, get involved. Patriotism must  be defined by the patriot! And we can all define ourselves as human rights patriots (you too, straight allies).

Pick a topic that impacts the LGBT community and get to work. Below is a short list of examples to get you started and by all means post your own favorites. Happy 4th!

Marriage Equality. Why should we want to imitate the hetero-normative institution of marriage? Whether you personally want to get married someday, or not, fight we must.

There are 1,138 Federal benefits, rights and protections afforded to married couples that GLBT couples will never see because of the dreaded Defense of Marriage Act (thanks, President Clinton). Even if you are lucky enough to live in one six states (hello Iowa!) that allows same-sex marriage you will never be invited to the federal party until we win.

DADT. One of the most inane policies enacted (thanks again, Clinton!) by the federal government is Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

The House of Representatives recently voted to repeal the discriminatory policy and this summer the Senate will take up the issue. We may be witnessing the last breaths of a policy that is as silly (what? gays don’t serve?) as it is hurtful to our military readiness (especially in times of war).

More than 13,500 service members have been fired under this law since 1994. The law is a response to “homosexual panic” and seems to have been enacted to keep potentially gay soldiers from showering with heterosexual soldiers. Come on, butch up…you already do!

ENDA. In these difficult economic times, it’s important to be as secure in our livelihoods as possible.

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act would provide LGBT employees with protection against employment discrimination based on sexual orientation. The bill protects workers form discriminatory hiring, firing, promotion, or compensation practices, as well as retaliation for reporting such practices.

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