Fourth of July Notes
Two hundred and thirty-seven years ago, today, a document, justifying the separation the American Colonies from English rule, was bravely published. In that document was the phrase, “all men are created equal,” a daring, enlightened concept for the time. The words, however, did not include Black people in or out of slavery, or women. Blacks were not fully enfranchised as men until 1870 and it took women fifty years more to be included in the word all.
Gay people became closer to being part of all theoretically, with the declaration with that the Defense of Marriage Act, enacted by Congress on September 21, 1996 and California’s Proposition 8, both designed to forbid the legality of same-sex marriage, as unconstitutional. As Blacks and women have found, theory is one thing, reality is another.
The Supreme Court has recently vacated voting oversight and allowed new voter restrictions, in States notorious for previous offenses. There is continued effort to rescind the rights women have gained over their own bodies. The victory over both DOMA and Prop 8 were slim margin victories, foretelling continued harassment of same-sex marriage at a State-by State level, by right-wing, religiosity fueled fanatics. Nationwide, the ideal is not yet the reality, and may never be, if the voices of reason and inclusivity pause a second in the struggle.