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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

LGBT Equality: A Tale of Two Cities

By David Mixner -

Prop_8_12_6_10_370x278 The contrast between the West Coast and East Coast Monday could have not been more striking concerning LGBT freedom.
In Washington, D.C., we saw the apparent failure of our government to cram DADT through the legislative process at the last moment. Majority Leader Harry Reid left us off his list of priorities, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates expressed his pessimism and many are writing that the repeal of DADT could be dead in the water. Maybe we attached our repeal amendment to the wrong legislation. Imagine if the President had made the passage of DADT as a criteria for the Bush tax cuts to be extended another two years. Would have loved seeing the Republicans explain to corporate CEO's why they had to pay millions in more taxes because of their opposition to equality for LGBT Americans.
On the other coast in San Francisco, we literally had our day in court. Anyone watching the judicial proceeding in the 9th District Federal Court could not help but be overwhelmed by this historic moment. There in all their glory were two of the best lawyers in this nation, David Boies and Ted Olson, arguing for our freedom with distinction and dignity. We could watch as the American system of justice unfolded fairly and with an effort by the judges to get to the facts. While this process could unfold over a long period of time, the power of the hearing was amazing. Ted Olson was brilliant before the federal judges.
In Washington we learned that political courage is needed for great change. In the case of DADT it came a year later and a penny short. In San Francisco, we saw the American system of justice at its best. Maybe the Executive Branch of government should be watching these hearings and perhaps - just perhaps - our President can use them as an opportunity to end his silly and harmful "marriage is between a man and a woman" crap.
Yes, indeed, it was the best times and the worst of times.

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