A few weeks ago the University of La Verne Rainbow Alliance reminded us all of the injustices gays and lesbians still face today. The alliance protested on the corner of D Street and Bonita Avenue, in regards to last year’s ban on gay marriage in California and the little progress that has been made since that forgettable vote. I hope the Rainbow Alliance will not stop what they are doing and keep fighting for this movement because it will result in one of the biggest pieces of civil rights legislation this country has ever seen.
Although no major pieces of legislation have been passed during the Obama administration, I, and I am assuming the Rainbow Alliance, are relieved to hear that President Obama will be giving what is being called his “major gay rights” speech on the eve of the National Equality Alliance March.
After eight years of avoidance, we finally have a president who is not afraid to put his name behind a cause that illustrates the energy of the movement, and contribute his oratory skills to the subject.
The march is expected to draw thousands of people to Washington, D.C., with a full slate of events throughout the weekend.
Imagine how far, albeit not nearly far enough, this issue has come in our public lives, when the sitting president of the United States gives a speech to a group of marchers on gay rights.
While Obama has not enacted any concrete change that expands equal marriage rights to gays and lesbians, this speech should hopefully demonstrate a level of understanding on his part, even if former Vice President Dick Cheney has a more liberal view of the issue.
I am reminded of the harassment that Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor recieved when she articulated how her life’s experience shapes the way she views social injustices. The Republican attack machine was in full gear after those comments.
But one of their own faced a similar situation. Cheney was against gay marriage while serving in office his whole life. However, Cheney has recently changed that position. Certainly this did not come from his party’s talking points, but perhaps it came from his relationship with his gay daughter who fights for equal marriage rights.
While frustration with Obama from gays and lesbians is understandable because of his slow approach on gay marriage and “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” it is important to note he has had to resort to convincing some small groups of people that he in fact will not kill your grandparents.
As much as this column is to inform people about the upcoming march on Washington and highlighting the impact President Obama can make with his speech, it is also to remind readers that what happened last year with Proposition 8 does not necessarily make the ban warranted. The fight needs to continue and the organization needs to grow.
I was inspired to see the Rainbow Alliance standing up for what they believe and putting their face behind something so dear to them. This country needs more of that, too often we think of the world as unchangeable, and we view ourselves as too small to achieve great things. Take the Rainbow Alliance’s lead and actively try to right the wrong that took place last year.
Kevin Garrity, a senior journalism major, is managing editor of the Campus Times. He can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.