Of course these have been some historic decisions today from the Supreme Court regarding the so-called Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8. I am quite thankful for the great steps that those decisions mean to the cause of the LGBT community. We need to be clear though that these are just more steps. The walk is far from over. For those living in one of twelve enlightened states or the District of Columbia, I want to wish you congratulations! If you are gay or an ally living in the other 38 states, including my home state, the Commonwealth of Virginia, leave the celebrating at a polite applause. There is much work yet to be completed.
Equal protection under the law and personal liberties shouldn’t be available to a minority of states. Frankly, even if every state held a vote and every one of them ruled in favor of marriage equality, it would still concern me that it actually had to come to a vote. Unless every marriage in this country is brought to a vote for validation, then we as a nation do not have equal protection under the law. There is still a two tiered environment where straight couples run willy-nilly down to the courthouse, pay a small fee for a license, and get hitched. Most of them would be entitled to literally hundreds of “benefits” that neither of my Alexandria, Virginia born kids can obtain.
As welcome as the Supreme Court rulings were, they stopped short of ruling that marriage equality should be the law of the land. This means we need to go back through the laborious legislative process and perhaps more referendums, etc. In the meantime my kids, like every one of us, will get older daily. How long should they have to wait before they’re considered your equals? That’s right; your equals. I’m putting it on you. Not on some faceless group in an electorate. If you are reading this and you’re a heterosexual, then I want you to explain to me why you or your kids are somehow better than mine. If you agree that you or they are not, then you need to make a stand with me right now.
Many know that I will soon be vacating the role of Board President of the Metro DC Chapter of PFLAG. Of course I’ll still have heavy involvement with this excellent organization, primarily in Virginia and with issues that pertain to national circumstances. One of the primary reasons for this change is simply that there have been successes in DC and Maryland, but not in Virginia. Of course there is still work to do on the north side of the Potomac River, but there is a strong and vibrant board ready to continue the work that is needed. My focus needs to be in my backward home state. As the Virginia Advocacy Chair I will work with other organizations such as Equality Virginia in a partnership that will help to ensure that meaning comes to the word “equality”, here in the home of Jefferson, Washington, Madison, and Mason. I know the founders of this country who hailed from Virginia would be disgusted to know that instead of leading the way, their state is behind the curve.
That will change. It will change with the help of many of my friends and colleagues that are determined to see this battle through to the finish. It will change if you are one of those that will be on my side in this fight.
Yes, I’ll still be talking too. You’ll still see me taking every opportunity to spread the PFLAG message. It’s a message that has given me an extra purpose here in the second half of my life and I’m not about to leave that behind.
Phil Hicks, President
PFLAG – Metro DC Chapter