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Rev. Susan Russell

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An Open Letter to George Clooney (From the Archlesbian of the Episcopal Church)

Posted: 12/19/11 03:32 PM ET

Dear Mr. Clooney,

I read with delight the announcement last week that you have been cast in the West Coast premiere of 8, the play based on the Prop 8 trial, and I am writing to thank you for putting your talent where your mouth is by stepping out and standing up to support equality for gay and lesbian Americans.

These words of yours in the statement from AFER (American Foundation for Equal Rights) will, I know, be a source of encouragement and empowerment to so many in the LGBT community who still struggle to believe that it really will get better: "It is astonishing that gay and lesbian Americans are still treated as second-class citizens. I am confident that, very soon, the laws of this nation will reflect the basic truth that gay and lesbian people -- like all human beings -- are born equal in dignity and rights."

Martin Luther King Jr. famously said that "the arc of history bends toward justice," and I want to be among those thanking you your willingness to help bend that arc toward justice for LGBT people. Being designated the "Sexiest Man Alive" -- not once, but twice -- gives you a tremendous platform of privilege. Your willingness to use that platform to speak for LGBT equality is an enormous gift, not just for LGBT Americans but for all who believe in liberty and just for all, not just some, Americans.

And frankly, your timing could not be better. Your statement was a welcome contrast to the barrage of stories about GOP presidential candidates busily outdoing each other in their efforts to get out the anti-gay vote. We saw Rick Perry's ill-advised video spot using gay and lesbian troops as canon fodder for his campaign, candidates falling all over each other to sign the "marriage pledge" sponsored by NOM (National Organization for [Straight] Marriage) and Newt Gingrich's promise to reinstate Don't Ask Don't Tell and to investigate those who support marriage equality for alleged harassment. Just to name a few.

Rather than addressing issues that concern all Americans -- such as jobs, the economy, health care, education, and supporting our veterans -- they have been hard at work stockpiling weapons of mass distraction by turning gay and lesbian families into sacrificial lambs on the altar of partisan politics. Meanwhile, progressive voices of faith committed to a protect marriage movement that protects all marriages, and to family values that value all families, fight an uphill battle to be heard over the rabid rhetoric of the religious right. And it's going to get worse before it gets better.

I am, in point of fact, only the Archlesbian of the Episcopal Church by virtue of claiming the title from conservative bloggers who used it as a slam. But for what it's worth, Mr. Clooney, I write today to thank you, for using your voice to speak for those bullied and badgered into silence, for offering an antidote to the homophobia infecting our political discourse, and for bringing the power your celebrity gives to you to the fight for liberty and justice for all.

You rock.

 

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