"There's a bit of magic in everything, and some loss to even things out." -Lou Reed

Friday, May 22, 2009

Harvey Milk Day and The Fight for Gay Marriage


Excerpt from a speech made by Harvey Milk in 1978

Today was Harvey Milk Day. And how fitting that the decision on Prop 8 will be announced in the upcoming week. I am so hoping that the court rejects Prop 8, and that California is added to the list of states legalizing gay marriage.
It pains me to think that tomorrow I could go and get married while some of the most beautiful people I know don't have that right. It is in fact ILLEGAL for them to do so. I can't wrap my mind around it.
I was listening to a book review on NPR the other day, and the book's author was talking about the main subjects of his biography- a couple in an interracial marriage in a time when this was more than frowned upon. As the author continued to talk, he touched on a time not so long ago when it was a FELONY to be married to someone of another race or ethnicity. I suppose I knew this on some level, but I still was in shock for a moment. How judgmental this country has been and continues to be at times still levels me.
When I hear people ranting in hate about this issue, when I hear people involving the church and quoting the bible for support, I am sickened. We need only take a look in our country's past to all the things that we read in history books with disgust--wondering how in the world this happened or that happened. I honestly believe that generations from now, people will look back on this struggle as asinine.
This isn't about religion or politics. It isn't about morals or sin. It is about every person's right to be treated fairly and equally. And speaking of history, do these words ring a bell?: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

May 21, 2009

Tomorrow is Harvey Milk Day

Guest blog post from Senator Mark Leno, chair, California LGBT Legislative Caucus

Today is the 30th Anniversary of the White Night Riots, when the LGBT community and its allies rose up in anger after a lenient manslaughter sentence was handed down to Dan White, the man accused of murdering Harvey Milk and San Francisco Mayor George Moscone. This miscarriage of justice is still with us today as we grapple with homophobia, Proposition 8 and inequality in California.

Just yesterday I heard the
discouraging story of a sixth grader in San Diego County whose A+ presentation about Harvey Milk’s life was censored by her school and labeled as inappropriate “sex education.” Her mother protested, and said "Harvey Milk was an elected official in this state and an important person in history. To say my daughter's presentation is 'sex education' because Harvey Milk happened to be gay is completely wrong."

The school’s action sends the wrong message to students — that being gay is shameful and that the contributions of LGBT Americans should be erased from our history books. Incidents like these are precisely why we need to honor figures like Harvey Milk and affirm our schools as safe places for ALL students to learn and grow.

Join me today in honoring Harvey Milk today, on what would have been his 79th birthday. Harvey was the first openly gay elected official in California and he gave his life for what he believed in. With courage and sacrifice he gave hope to an entire generation of gay and lesbian people whose basic humanity and freedom had been denied and dishonored.

Harvey’s leadership and inspiration brought LGBT people out of the closet and into civic life, but many people may forget that he also fought for important issues we still value today, including access to education, public transportation, affordable housing and protecting the environment.

I first introduced legislation to create Harvey Milk Day in California last year in the Assembly. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed the bill, arguing that Harvey should only be honored at the local level in San Francisco. Since then, Gus Van Sant’s Academy Award winning film, Milk, has introduced Harvey’s story to a new generation of Americans. His legacy and message of hope has now spread across the globe.

We need that message of hope now more than ever, which is why I reintroduced the Harvey Milk Day bill again this year. I urge you to tell the governor what Harvey Milk means to you, and
sign EQCA’s petition. With your voice, we’ll get his signature this time around.

If you’re in the Sacramento area, help me and my fellow members of the LGBT Caucus celebrate what would be Harvey Milk’s 79th birthday on the North Lawn of the Capitol from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. If you cannot be there, please wish everyone you see a happy Harvey Milk Day and if they ask who he was, please share his courageous story of hope.

Sincerely,Senator Mark LenoSenator Mark Leno represents the 3rd Senate District, which includes Marin and portions of San Francisco and Sonoma Counties.

article courtesy of http://ca-ripple-effect.blogspot.com/2009/05/happy-harvey-milk-day.html

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