THE BLOG

MARRIAGE EQUALITY: It's a Beautiful Thing When Democracy Prevails

06/27/2015 01:10 pm ET | Updated Jun 27, 2016

Abolition didn't just happen -- people made it happen. Women's suffrage didn't just happen -- people made it happen. Civil Rights legislation didn't just happen -- people made it happen. And marriage equality didn't just happen, either -- people made it happen. It's a beautiful thing when democracy prevails.

The Supreme Court has now, in a landmark decision, established the right of those in the LGBT community to legally marry. Americans can be proud that despite some horrific mistakes and wrong turns we've made throughout our history, there are moments like this when we course-correct. In the words of Winston Churchill, "Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing...after they have exhausted all other possibilities."

It's appropriate for all of us to breathe in this latest, historic civil rights victory, honoring the memory of all those over the years who have suffered homophobic treatment under the law, and celebrating, particularly within the LGBT community, those who struggled and worked so hard to bring this victory about.

Then once the celebratory rituals have ended and we're all settled into this new, more enlightened reality for our LGBT citizens, let's turn our attention to our next great generational challenge: Creating the most powerful response possible to the oligarchic order now threatening our democracy. For this one, we won't be able to turn to the Supreme Court, because unfortunately the Supreme Court got us here. For this, we need the only Constitutional route that overrides the Court: a Constitutional Amendment establishing public funding of all federal elections.

Nothing short of that will override Citizens United. Nothing short of it will amount to real campaign finance reform. Nothing short of it will triumph over the nefarious ways that money now exerts an undue influence on our government, and such a destructive influence on our democracy. Nothing short of it reasserts the will of the people and allows democracy to prevail.

There will be no sane gun control as long as the NRA can use money to influence so many politicians; there will be no fundamental environmental sanity as long as fossil fuel companies can use money to influence so many politicians; there will be no serious peace-making efforts as long as the military industrial complex can use money to influence so many politicians; there will be no universal health care as long as health insurance and pharmaceutical companies can use money to influence our politicians. And the list goes on. It's time for this generation of Americans to decide -- for our selves and for our descendants -- who America belongs to. At this point, our government isn't "of the people, by the people, and for the people" any longer. It's "of the corporations, by the corporations, and for the corporations." And that -- like inequities such as slavery, segregation, marriage inequality or any others -- will not change until we, the people, decide to change it.

The LGBT community waged a brilliant strategic campaign, took the fight all the way to the Supreme Court and won a well-deserved victory. May their win be a blessing on all citizens whose lives will improve because of this expansion of their democratic freedoms, and an inspiration to all of us for the work that still lies ahead. None of us are free until all of us are free, none of us are equal unless all of us are equal, and none of us are free as long as the money we can spend on elections is the determiner of just how equal we are.