People are not born activists. Activists are created by circumstances. Circumstances that define our reality or circumstances that clarify the strength of our beliefs – circumstances that compel us to act.
Activists often marshal all their time and energy to fight for a cause that is unpopular or not fully understood, and as a result they can be ostracized as too intense, misguided, or zealots. Sometimes activists are believed to be a little bit crazy. But deep within their being they believe with a level of conviction that is unparalleled; as such, they are willing to keep fighting until they drop. That level of conviction is not held by many. We all may have circumstances that cause us to stand in support of, or against, something; but, most of us never arrive at the moment where our circumstances leave us no other choice but to stand up and act.
I have supported many causes in my years on the planet, but I would say that I only truly approach activist status as it applies to two issues – veteran suicide and autism. My circumstances as the mother of a veteran and the grandmother of two autistic children are what have sharpened my focus so succinctly that I feel compelled to step up and act. Yet, there are other topics that may not consume me, but that certainly garner my regular attention and voice.
Today, I raise my voice for one such topic – marriage equality. I have friends and family who are members of the LGBTQ community and I understand their angst when they are treated like second class citizens as it applies to marriage and the rights of spouses. They are, like you and me – U.S. citizens - they deserve the same rights to marry and enjoy spousal benefits as I do, as you do, as every American does…well, every heterosexual American. Because let’s face it – equality has not fully arrived yet. Members of the LGBTQ community are still being actively discriminated against. I do not understand the logic of that discrimination. Isn’t it supposed to be “liberty and justice for all”? Where is the liberty for the LGBTQ community? Where is their justice?
I was gratified today to read that the Supreme Court appears to be leaning toward striking down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) which denies federal benefits to same-sex marriages. Such a decision will be a good first step in the right direction in my estimation. The next, and bigger decision, will be recognizing the right of same-sex couples to marry under the constitution. When that day finally arrives, and I am confident that it is coming soon, I will applaud my friends who are gay rights activists and I will raise my voice in jubilation. So many good folks have poured their hearts and souls into this enduring quest for simple equality – so many activists formed by circumstances – it is time to let them go about their lives without having to fight an enduring crusade. It is time to allow them their equality…their chance to live a life where the right to marry is a given.
Day one thousand three hundred and fifty-eight of the new forty – obla di obla da