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Castor Oil for Cons

A Socially Speaking Commentary from Perry Redd

A Socially Speaking Commentary from Perry Redd

Never thought you’d see the day, did you? It’s about time. The conservatives, with their Tea Party activists in tow are getting their behinds kicked. A federal judge struck down Pennsylvania’s ban on same-sex marriage today, making it the latest of about a dozen states in which such bans have been declared unconstitutional in the past year. This is medicine that doesn’t go down well with conservatives.

As far as I’m concerned, anything that disturbs political conservatives is a win for me. Though I’m not gay, I am all for the equal rights of individuals who might be. This is the true definition of equality in America. No matter how you slice and dice it, it is right and just. US district Judge John E Jones didn’t stutter when he rendered his decision today: “When confronted with these iniquities in their own states, (these federal judges) have concluded that all couples deserve equal dignity in the realm of civil marriage,” Jones wrote. It is clear, and without equivocation, that the tide is changing.

I have to applaud the work and effort of the gay-rights community. They have been persistent, cunning, unwavering and tireless in their efforts to see constitutional justice afforded to their lot. This is the point in history where I wish that Black people would have as much persistence, cunning and tirelessness in the battle to maintain the civil rights that have been fought for over the past 50 years…no such luck.

As diligent as other states have been to adjudicate correctly on the issue of equality for all Americans—including this issue of marriage—some states have tried to defer the matter by stays during appeal, but Jones issued his order permanently, barring authorities in Pennsylvania from preventing same-sex couples from getting marriage licenses. That means individuals could apply for licenses right away. This is yet another punch in the mouth for the conservative right.

It is amazing to me how anyone could look at the 14th amendment to the Constitution, and still justify denying another American citizen any right that they enjoy. Conservatives say that they stand proudly upon the Constitution of the United States—until it offends their traditions. What we know from American history is that the traditions of conservatives have greatly offended people of color, and constituencies previously shunned by the purveyors of racism, sexism and homophobia.

As their numbers diminish, the lives of other people grow and flourish. The ability to hinder others from realizing the American Dream is growing dimmer and dimmer for the traditional conservative of America. For all of those who thought that the battle for voting rights protections was all but in the landfill, stop the garbage truck right there! The fight for constitutional protections is about to go into hyper drive. Yes, I am upset that affirmative action had a leg chopped off by conservative Supreme Court, but the only thing that can beat insane conservatism—even at the judicial level—are the people.

When I say “the people,” I don’t necessarily refer to referendums. You see, referendums give the opportunity for the majority to disenfranchise the minority; that’s unacceptable. When I say the people, I referred to the larger popular will that moves in the best interest of the entire country. That’s what the civil rights movement of the last century was about. Although it may not go down well, it is good medicine in the end. There are many of us who were opposed to same-sex relationships, but came to the understanding and realization that any resistance to denial of another’s personal choice of liberty is just as bad as any racist during the Jim Crow era of American history.

The embracing of this new era of change in America denotes the personal growth of any American. Undertaking the uncomfortable is a mark of boldness. I am elated to see the crunched up faces of neocons pissed off by progressive policies being implemented—from wherever they may come. Judge Jones will be accused of “judicial activism” by tomorrow morning. Just mark my words, the weekend’s Sunday morning talk shows will be rife with that language. My only hope is that progressives come to the mic prepared for linguistic battle.

The lawsuit, and others like it, followed the June U.S. Supreme ruling that legally married same-sex couples are entitled to federal benefits. The decision also cleared the way for same-sex marriages to resume in California. Since then, Rhode Island, Minnesota, Hawaii and Illinois have enacted laws allowing for same-sex marriage. New Mexico’s Supreme Court also issued a ruling allowing same-sex marriages, bringing to 17 the number of states in which gays and lesbians are allowed to wed. Colorado allows civil unions. The tidal wave has begun, and the conservatives that I have a surfboard.

As I take a step back and view the path of this issue’s history, I see that some Americans have grown up by taking their medicine, and some are still children…in need of a good dose of castor oil.

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