January 17, 2011

Take Action

Dear Representative,

As I sit here penning this letter on a holiday reserved for self-reflection and societal examination I am reminded of this excerpt from Martin Luther King's Letter From Birmingham Jail:
I had also hoped that the white moderate would reject the myth concerning time in relations to the struggle for freedom. I have just received a letter from a white brother in Texas. He writes: "All Christians know that the LBGT will receive equal rights eventually, but it is possible that you are in too great a religious hurry. It has taken Christianity almost two thousand years to accomplish what it has. The teachings of Christ take time to come to earth." Such an attitude stems from a tragic misconception of time, from the strangely irrational notion that there is something in the very flow of time will inevitably cure all ills. Actually, time itself is neutral; it can be used either destructively or constructively. More and more I feel that the people of ill will have used time much more effectively than have the people of good will. We will have to repent in the generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence of the good people. Human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of men willing to be co-workers with God, and without this hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the forces of stagnation. We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right. Now is the time to make real the promise of democracy and transform our pending national elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood. Now is the time to lift our national policy from the quicksand of LBGT injustice to the solid rock of human dignity.
As you may have noticed I replaced "colored" and "racial" with LBGT to illustrate the point that although Dr. King's words were written in 1963 they are still relevant to the civil rights struggle of our generation. Millions of hard working gay and lesbian Americans are denied the right to express their love and commitment to each other through the institution of marriage despite having lasting bonds that any rational man or woman would accept as legitimate. Slowly some states and the national capitol have begun to allow gay marriage, but for millions of others that right is all too far away. Can you imagine, sir, if you had been denied the right to marry your wife? Would you not yell from the highest mountaintop that you deserve the right to marry and the right to marry now? Then how can we as a nation, in good conscience, deny millions of men and women that very right?

As Dr. King taught us, those that sat on the sidelines while injustices occurred were just as complicit in maintaining the status quo as those whom spewed bile and hatred. As a public official you will be judged by history on the actions you take as well as by the actions you do not. As an enlightened individual I know you are well aware that the people of tomorrow do not look kindly on those that stood on the side of injustice and inequality in the past. I hope that this knowledge will not be forgotten on this day of individual reflection and that you will formulate a plan to take outward action on this pressing civil rights issue.

On a holiday filled with platitudes and lip service to the ideals of Dr. Martin Luther King I feel it is disingenuous to celebrate his contributions to American life without taking action when there are pressing civil rights issues we are facing right now. Rather than help maintain the status quo I've decided to take the modest action of writing my Senators, Congressman, State Representatives and Governor on the issue of gay marriage and spread the word the best I can. I urge you to do the same.

Writing your Senators and Representatives is really easy. You can do it all online, I'll give you the links. If you don't have the time to write a letter of your own by all means feel free to copy and paste mine in it's entirety or even just the parts you like and make it your own. It'll only take you a few minutes, I promise. I'm aware one letter won't make a difference but enough letters will. In this volatile political time when Congressional seats are as up for grabs as musical chairs every vote does count. Tell your Congressman how to earn yours.

To write your Senator click here.

To write your Representatives click here.

To sign the Million for Marriage petition click here.

To read Martin Luther King's Letter From Birmingham jail in it's entirety click here.

Image taken from here: http://www.oprah.com/relationships/Write-a-Love-Letter-Sex-Homework


  1. There's only one thing that is ever going to lead to real political change when it comes to LGBT rights:

    The political disadvantages of supporting INEQUALITY have to outweigh the political advantages.

    As it stands right now, in MOST areas of the U.S., beating up on gays and lesbians during political campaigns will bring bodies into the voting booth...

    I've been out for years, and though I’m all for equality under the law, I don’t spend much time worrying about getting Middle America's blessing anymore...

    I AM glad there are people doing things like filing lawsuits and sending their reps letters, though...

  2. one of the greatest men to ever live.

    It sill shocks me to this how people can judge others by the color of their skin. But on the other hand there are a bunch of things in this world I still quite cannot understand.

  3. KatyDid: I agree that that is what needs to happen in order for this to be a politically viable issue. The only way that tide will ever be turned is if we make it known that the people in power will lose our votes if they don't support equal rights. If it is going to be a disadvantage to support inequality we'll need straight people to stand up and say what is right as well and I think that is particularly hard.

    watchmen: Yea, he was indeed a hell of a guy.

  4. Letter from a Birmingham Jail is one of my favorite pieces of writing.

    Thanks to your post, I signed the petition.

  5. something many don't realize is that the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) was never fully ratified - only 35 states ratified it, the last doing so in 1977, which means it never passed. We need to make sure women are given exactly the same rights as men first and foremost. We're not even mentioned in the Constitution, the same document that was written with slaves getting partial human status - and women NONE.

  6. Go you!

    With this post you have just made me want to be a better person, or more proactive/productive anyways.

    It is unfair that in a country where things are changing each day and becoming more progressive, this issue has not been put to bed. Why don't people realize that the heterosexuals of the world are not the better beings, they are in no way more normal or more privileged they have just been bred to be the norm.

    I am a Jew and I was raised in a Jewish house and I still say fuck it ! Let homosexuals have every right that anyone else does.

    Seriously what is wrong with the country that this has not been taken care of.

  7. Missed Periods: Me too, it really is an incredible piece.

    Eco: Maybe we could just kick out one of the states that didn't ratify?

    Penny: Well it's not hard to inspire when you've got a bunch of words from MLK to draw on.

  8. What a great way to mark the holiday.

  9. Funny how the different responses came in the military.
    Marines, "We're not too sure about that." Army, "We'll take what we can get." Air Force "Just keep it to yourself."
    Navy- "We stand to believe that our professionalism in our workplace will not deter our mission with the addition of these willing service members."

    I can’t believe that I am saying this, but I wished more of the world would be like the Navy. GLBT rights should be without question. They aren’t a hindrance, but a gift among us. I am proud to have any fellow American by my side, gay or not.

  10. Talli: Thanks, I thought so too.

    Tori: Very well said. I've been really impressed with the Navy and the other branches of the armed services have handled the don't ask dont tell issue. I was actually expecting a huge fuss so I'm impressed.


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