New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg gave the commencement address at UNC this past weekend, and took a swipe at North Carolina’s voters who decided to ensure that gay and lesbian couples are second-class citizens in the state by passing Amendment One. Bloomberg, who was one of the driving forces for the legalization of marriage equality in the state of New York (and has officiated at the wedding of two of his own staffers), was blunt.
“Your freedom – coupled with the diploma you will receive today – is something that people around the world would risk life and limb for. Don’t ever take it for granted. It has been won through suffering and sacrifice – by freedom fighters and freedom riders, by abolitionists and suffragettes.
“It has been won at the ballot box and on the battlefield. In state houses and court houses. The path of victory has not always been straight or swift, but it has been sure and steady.
“That has been the story of America, stretching back to our earliest days. At our nation’s founding, African-Americans were held in bondage. Those without property could not vote. Catholics could not hold office. Women could not vote or hold office. And homosexuality was, in some places, a crime punishable by death.
“But over time, we understood that freedoms that are not fully shared are not fully safe. If government can deny freedom to one, it can deny freedom to all. Exclusion and equality are mortal enemies – and in America, every time they have met in battle, equality has ultimately triumphed.
“Throughout our history, each and every generation has expanded upon the freedoms won by their parents and grandparents. Each and every generation has removed some barrier to full participation in the American dream. That work is not over. Far from it.
“And – I would argue – last week’s referendum banning same-sex marriage shows just how much more work needs to be done to ensure freedom and equality for all people.
“When the torch passes from one generation to the next, the light of liberty always shines more brightly. And I have no doubt that in your lifetime, liberty’s light will allow us to see more clearly the truth of our nation’s founding principles, and allow us to see all people, and all couples, as full and equal members of the American family.”
In Jacksonville, NC, a 10-year-old has a better understanding of the right of civil marriage equality than the boobs who voted discrimination in our constitution. In this letter to the editor, she frankly demonstrates a better awareness of the issue than the majority of NC residents who didn’t even bother to go out to the polls over such a major decision in this state.
Directly following the passage of the amendment, my 10-year-old daughter bombarded me with questions. I explained to her that I was unable to answer her questions, and that the only way to get the answers that she is seeking, is by asking those who voted for he amendment. I suggested that she write a letter to the editor.
Her letter, addressed to “Dear North Carolina,” follows:
“Why would anyone vote for something that would hurt so many people? Did you even know what the Amendment was about before voting for it? I wore my NOH8 shirt to school today. I know what it means because my mommy and daddy taught me that it is not okay to hate anyone. In school, they teach that bullying is wrong. Is it less wrong when people vote for it? I can’t vote. It is your job to vote in ways that are best for the future. How is this for the best? What happens to your kids’ futures if they are gay? Is this best for them? What happens to my friend’s future when she gets sick and cannot go to the doctor? What do you tell kids who have two mommies and daddies? Black and white people were not always allowed to get married. I am mixed with black and white. Do you hate me too?”
And the counter-action to what happened at the polls continues…
LGBT Couples Will Apply for Marriage Licenses in Asheboro, N.C. on May 14th and Charlotte on May 15th
The Campaign for Southern Equality (CSE) is currently running the third stage of the WE DO Campaign, which began on May 9th and is occurring in eight counties across North Carolina. The WE DO Campaign continues this week as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) couples will request – and be denied – marriage licenses in Asheboro on May 14th and Charlotte on May 15th.
The purpose of the WE DO Campaign is to call for full equality under federal law and to resist unjust state laws that prohibit marriage equality in North Carolina and across the South.
Last week, LGBT couples in towns as diverse in size and locale as Wilson, Durham, Winston-Salem, Bakersville, Marshall and Asheville requested marriage licenses, with clergy, elected officials, family, and community members accompanying them in support. The couples are denied licenses because they do not meet the legal requirements for marriage in North Carolina, which stipulate that partners must be of the opposite sex. In each community, the WE DO event also includes a Prayer Service for Reconciliation led by clergy. In Winston-Salem and Asheville, a total of 10 participants engaged in peaceful sit-ins after the marriage licenses were denied, leading to their arrests of all 10 individuals and charges of second degree trespassing for each person.
“LGBT people and families live all across North Carolina and the South, yet do so as second-class citizens. The people taking part in the WE DO Campaign are standing up to say, we are equal and are calling for full equality under federal law,” says Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, Executive Director of the Campaign for Southern Equality.
The schedule of WE DO events this week:
May 14th in Asheboro – 9:30 a.m.
May 15th in Charlotte – 3:00 p.m.