Date: Thu, 5 Jun 2008 17:06:18 -0700 (PDT)
From: Kenneth Decker <apollomournshyacinthus@...>
Subject: Letter to the editor, re: Marriage Partners
CC: Kenji Yoshino <kenji.yoshino@...>
Kenji Yoshino's article, Marriage Partners (June 1) offers a variety of helpful, practical strategies for heterosexual allies to aid the cause of same-gender marriage. He also calls on heterosexual Californians to do right by their gay and lesbian brethren with regard to a referendum designed to overturn that state's recent Supreme Court decision granting same-gender couples the right to marry. Hopefully, they will take note of the numerous examples American history provides of such
coalition building. For example, consider the following:
By 1820, the Underground Railroad was a well-established network, through which a slave could travel from Virginia to Canada within just a few weeks, even without the benefit of contemporary highways and motor vehicles. Ohio alone was home to 20 routes and more than 200 safe homes. This effort continued unabated despite the challenges posed by the Fugitive Slave Act, the U.S. Supreme Court's Dred Scott decision and the American Civil War.
In the first week of January 1909, in New York City, Mary White Ovington convened a meeting of a small group of multi-racial activists, out of which developed the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Many years later, here in Virginia, armed with the conviction that same-sex couples might not be the reason that 54% of
heterosexual marriages end in divorce, Virginia's chapter of the NAACP joined forces with numerous other agencies in a (regrettably unsuccessful) campaign against the Marshall/Newman Amendment.
In 1972, Jeanne Manford initiated an international movement by marching with her son Morie in New York Gay Pride Parade. 36 years later, Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) boasts more than 500 chapters nationwide, including 38 in California. This is yet another example of allies coming to the aid of an oppressed minority group. Hopefully, PFLAG and California's numerous other LGBTI rights organizations will form an effective coalition with other progressive groups to educate California voters to continue to provide same-gender couples with the basic rights, protections and responsibilities afforded their heterosexual counterparts.
Kenneth C. Decker
Board member and Transgender Coordinator, PFLAG Richmond
P.O. Box 71502
Richmond, VA. 23255