This is a historic week for marriage equality with the Supreme Court hearing not one but two cases concerning the constitutionality of discrimination based on sexual orientation -- the Defense of Marriage Act, and Proposition 8 case from California which weighs the legality of a ballot measure denying same-sex couples the right to marry.
While I am honored and overwhelmed by the opportunity to participate in the marriage equality movement I also find myself wondering when the fight for equality will be over. Marriage equality is just one measure that progressives have been fighting -- but it seems that at every front, basic rights are under attack or being eroded to the point of invisibility.
Just this week while hundreds donned red and marched for marriage equality in the nation's capital, women's right to choose was all but obliterated in the state of North Dakota where Republican Governor Jack Dalrymple signed into law what many have called the "heartbeat bill." This measure makes abortion illegal once a fetal heartbeat has been detected -- which is as early as six weeks, when most women don't even know they are pregnant.
The very notion that all "people are created equal" with the right to pursue happiness and liberty is still out of reach for many.
For women it's having autonomy over our reproductive system and equal pay.
For the LGBT community it's enjoying the same rights and responsibilities as heterosexuals -- marriage being only one of them.
For immigrants it's a pathway to citizenship.
And for the poor it's the opportunity to thrive and gain a quality education regardless of zip code.
Yet, centuries after the Constitution proclaimed "We the People" -- millions still fight to be recognized as just that -- people. So, I ask when will we finally reach the mountaintop?
Sure, I'm thrilled that marriage equality is having its day(s) in court but at the same time it's infuriating that nine Justices get to decide whether or not my family deserves equal treatment in the eyes of our government. 40 years ago the choice movement also had it's day in court and we thought the battle was finally over, but here we are decades later chipping away at history and re-legislating a woman's womb -- I guess double jeopardy doesn't apply to a woman's body.
When will the merry-go-round of rights finally come to a stop so that everyone is able to get on board?
Sure, every now and again the equality ride may slow down allowing a few groups the ability to jump on board, but then it speeds up again leaving those on the ground in the dust and the rest of us hanging on for dear life.
Equality shouldn't be a game. It's about real people's lives and livelihood. It's about their ability to fully participate in the country they have chosen and/or been born into. Why should someone else, the nine Justices included, have the right to decide whether they deserve to be recognized as full and complete people? Didn't we fight this battle all ready?
It's 2013 and frankly I'm tired of climbing up the mountain. I'm ready to plant my flag, stake my ground and begin living my life the way I've always read the Constitution: In the pursuit of my happiness.
Originally Posted at www.threeLOL.com