LGBT Equality: The Final Civil Rights Fight

There are many politicians that have come to support gay rights in recent years, but in most cases “support” is a nebulous concept that is more often used as political cover from both sides of a heated debate. In other words, there is a stark difference between being a supporter of gay rights and being an advocate for gay rights.

In my previous post I explained how I intend to answer the question of where I stand on issues by starting with those most clear and then working toward those that require more consideration. After identifying the system of corruption that has robbed over 99 percent of Americans of the basic civil right of equal representation as the first issue, let me now explain why I am not just a supporter, but an advocate for the estimated 9 million Americans suffering through the final major civil rights battle our country will ever face.

I expect fights for complete equality will continue as they do for gender and racial equality today, but it is time to end this last battle to end legal discrimination. Since the founding of our country, generations past have been on the wrong side of equal rights. We were once wrong on slavery, women’s suffrage, racial discrimination, and we are now on the wrong side of history for LGBT rights.

It is true that noteworthy progress has been made with 17 states now allowing same-sex marriage, but there are still 33 states that ban it. It is also likely that the Supreme Court will be forced to rule more definitively on whether there is a constitutionally-protected right to equality in marriage. Despite the court’s obvious reluctance to wade into an issue with such social and religious magnitude, I believe that a state’s right to discriminate simply will not stand against the rights guaranteed by our constitution.

As part of growing up in a modern Quaker family, I am no stranger to the religious implications of such a decision. In the summer of 1997, I was fortunate to witness the final discernment of 15 years of dialogue about marriage at the North Pacific Yearly Meeting, which passed the following minute without a single voice of dissent:

“North Pacific Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) is deeply concerned that access to civil marriage is presently denied to gay and lesbian couples. This injustice brings legal, financial and social discrimination against lesbian and gay couples and their children. We, therefore, support legal recognition of the marriages of gay and lesbian couples to permit them the same legal rights and responsibilities that pertain to heterosexual married couples.”

If the last standing argument against marriage equality is based on the separation of church and state, then which religion gets to decide which side the state upholds? This is not to say that churches that do not condone same-sex marriage should be forced to perform them, but rather that in a secular society, we cannot discriminate legal rights on religious grounds.

There are many pundits that would call taking a strong stance on such a divisive issue like this political suicide, but — unlike many other issues that have a variety of complex interpretations — my clarity on this issue is unwavering. We cannot call ourselves the land of the free so long as we continue to tolerate discrimination against our fellow citizens. It is time we cross the finish line of the entire civil rights movement and ensure that there is equality for all, regardless of gender, race, or sexual orientation.

Bruce Skarin is a Massachusetts independent candidate for US Senate. To Learn more about his campaign visit www.bruce2014.org.