One national organization working to spread the word and get equal rights for GLBT persons in the US is Get Equal. It also has chapters in most if not all states, but Get Equal Texas caught my attention at the Austin Pride Festival 2011.
I’ve never been someone who was willing to engage in civil disobedience or to stand on street corners and protest, probably because I was afraid, but I have quietly admired those with that courage for years. Having said that, it is time for me to contribute to causes I believe in. Holding a picket sign will only advance the message for equality so far, and I believe that Get Equal’s message would be better served by making myself available to them for legal matters. Thus, by this post, I pledge my support to the cause of equality, equal rights, and justice for all through any peaceful, non-violent means.
I cannot think of a more basic request than to have equal rights and treatment as guaranteed by the United States Constitution, a document that as applied to many GLBT issues, is being blatantly ignored.
As a criminal defense attorney my primary focus is to ensure that a person’s legal and constitutional rights are protected against state and government actions. One cannot expect for GLBT persons to live in a state of bliss where there is no hate or unequal treatment or discrimination, at least not very quickly… even the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s is not 100% complete as evidenced by some attitudes against minorities. A slow and steady progression for positive change to ensure every person, regardless of whether they are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, black, white, brown or any other color is all that can reasonably be expected. Afterall, being given equal treament under the law is not a lot to ask for, and simply put, it is required by the Constitution.
My purpose is not to criticize anyone unless they are denying someone else his or her rights! Afterall, one person’s rights stop where another person’s rights begin! Drawing that line is not difficult like some would have us believe and the rights sought by Get Equal do not infringe on or threaten the rights of anyone else. For example, they want marriage equality in all states. In no way does a same-sex couple’s ability to marry impact a heterosexual couple’s right to marry. In no way does a same sex-couple’s decision to file a joint tax return injure anyone else filing a tax return. You get the idea….
The complete irony to all of this is that the vast majority of those fighting against the equal treament of GLBT persons stem from religious roots, which itself is a guaranteed right and freedom in the United States! Without those freedoms protected by the Constitution even the hateful, judgmental groups could not be heard. And, while I believe that would be better for society, they have a government guaranteed right to make their opinions known and despite my disdain for their messages I would never seek to restrict their right to make their views known. However, the fundamental difference in what they are seeking is that they want their beliefs and desires imposed on everyone else, even if it restricts other basic human rights and hurts other people.
- Equality, simply put. To be treated the same as any other person guaranteed legal protections and rights under the Constitution.
And as an attorney, it is my ability and education that allow me to seek the protection of rights of persons and the promotion of justice through law.