“Only a man who knows what it is like to be defeated can reach down to the bottom of his soul and come up with the extra ounce of power it takes to win when the match is even.” ~ Muhammad Ali
The June 26, 2013,United States Supreme Court decision declaring D.O.M.A. unconstitutional 26, 2013, was with not doubt a huge step for the fight for equality and the LGBT community. However, as victorious as this decision was, it was only that, only one big step forward. The ones against equality are not even close to give up their fight, and will use any strategy in the book, wicked or ethical, using God, who gave us all free-will, as a shield, to impose their closed-minded ideas about love, family, and marriage to this democratic nation. In other words, the end to this war is not even close.
On July 1, 2013, Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kansas), and 28 conservative cosponsors, introduced a federal constitutional amendment in the House of Representatives, which would define marriage in the United States as the union of one man and one woman. To become a reality, For the proposed amendment would require a two-thirds vote by both the House and Senate and then must be ratified by three-fourths of the states. If this happens, the amendment would overturn laws in the 13 states and D.C. that currently have marriage equality, and it would prevent any future same-sex marriages in any state. This type of attack to our constitution and our democratic system, and specifically against equality and human dignity, is closely related to a recent law approved by Russian President Vladimir Putin on June 29, which makes it illegal to distribute any information to minors that references same-sex relationships in a positive way, and which had also made illegal to equate gay and straight relationships. This manipulation of propaganda, and therefore of the information and messages transmitted, is one of the worst attacks a government can make to its people. It is the easiest way to have control of the masses, and therefore manipulate their action and thoughts. Remember to “Never Forget” what a group of people was capable to do, not too long ago, to another group of people, with the use of destructive propaganda, only because they were considered different.
It is worth noting that in 2008, for example, a similar event occurred in Puerto Rico. The Commonwealth’s Senate passed a proposed referendum to voters better known as resolución 99 (resolution 99). The measure intended to amend the Puerto Rican constitution to establish that marriage is between a man and woman and that no other types of unions could be recognized as a marriage, making it harder in the future to allow civil unions or grant marital rights to unmarried couples. To the surprise of many residents of the islands, after the legislative committee studied the proposal and concluded not to recommend its approval, the Commonwealth’s House of Representatives did not approve the constitutional amendment. However, five years later, on 2013, Governor Padilla signed an order extending health insurance coverage to the same-sex domestic partners of workers in the executive branch. Then, on that same year, House Bill 488 was introduced to extend domestic violence protections to all households, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity, and after the House passed the legislation on May 24, on May 29 the legislation was signed into law together with Bill 238, which was introduced to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity but was also amended on May 24 to apply only to employment discrimination.
As we can see, the introduction of this type of constitutional amendment does not mean, and should not be perceived, as a defeat to the fight for equality and respect for human dignity. In addition to the example of Puerto Rico, and to the recent Supreme Court decision, on July 11, 2013, Human Rights Campaign (HRC) President, Chad Griffin, unveiling the results of a new, bipartisan poll, showed that Virginians are generally supportive of LGBT equality, with a strong majority of Virginians (55%) supporting marriage equality. Then, on July 24, 2013, the state of New York announced that it will refund estate taxes paid by individuals who survived their same-sex spouse prior to the Supreme Court decision declaring Section 3 of the discriminatory D.O.M.A. unconstitutional. And on July 25, 2013, one day before the one month anniversary of the Supreme Court decision on D.O.M.A., the Federal Election Commission ruled that legally married same-sex couples must be treated in the same manner as opposite-sex couples under election law.
Now, more than ever, we must understand that the fight for equality and human dignity affects us all, not just the LGBT community. It affects Hispanics, African-Americans, Asians, Europeans, in short, it affects anyone who might be perceived as different or as not complying with the generally accepted social norms. The Supreme Court decision declaring Section 3 of D.O.M.A. unconstitutional, as important as it is, is only one battle of many more to come. The proposed constitutional amendment should be the one battle to be focused on right now. These discriminatory laws are completely against the very essence of our democratic system. They hurt our freedoms of speech, religion and belief, and association, and make us frightened slaves of our own system. They are clearly the necessary step for opposing parties to move forward their discriminatory agendas, and in this sense, to enable more widespread discrimination against those from the LGBT communities, and against that might be perceived as different. We as a nation should not only not allow for this to happen, but we must also stand strong and together, and make our voices to be heard. We all deserve to be treated equal, and have our dignity respected.