Last Saturday everyone’s favorite groundhog in Pennsylvania did not see his shadow, which means that winter is ending early this year. Spring is an especially notable time on campus because the religious people with megaphones come out of hibernation to harass students into the arms of Jesus.
This year I think that we are going to need to be extra prepared for their wrath and angry posters because great things are finally happening to their least favorite community.
Gay people are getting rights!
President Obama became the only president ever to address LGBTQ issues in his inaugural address with his now famous quote, “Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law, for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal, as well.”
This probably seems like old news by now, but the statement is a very important one that I believe will set the tone for the next four years. It certainly proved to set a progressive tone for the last few weeks. We are already making huge strides toward equality both socially and legally, and I expect that we will see a lot more progress in the near future.
It seems that President Obama is really serious about this whole equality business too, because one of the first things that he did during his second term was vow to include same sex-couples in his proposal for addressing immigration reform.
Currently, foreign-born same-sex partners of Americans are not eligible for green cards, even if the couple is legally married at the state level. This means that many of the same people who fought for equal marriage rights in their home states are forced to leave the country to be with their partner anyway. Should the President succeed in changing this discriminatory system, same-sex couples would be treated just like any other married couple when it comes to immigration.
The more the marry-er!
But it’s not just adults that are reaping the benefits of LGBTQ progress. The Boy Scouts are debating repealing their institutional ban on openly gay members and troop leaders. The organization came out with a statement last week saying that they are “actively considering” ending the ban, after more than 1 million people signed various petitions on Change.org demanding that the Boy Scouts be inclusive to the gay community.
Here’s to hoping that one day soon no child will be denied the right to learn how to tie knots based on his sexual orientation.
Exciting things are happening closer to home as well in the form of a certain same-sex union bill. Colorado’s Senate Bill 11 has already passed through the senate committee and is inching closer to becoming law — legalizing same-sex unions in Colorado. The bill is expected to continue all of the way to Governor Hickenlooper’s desk due to overwhelming support from Democrats. The governor himself has been openly in favor of its passing.
SB-11 will gave same-sex couples many of the same legal rights that heterosexual married couples already enjoy; especially when it comes to medical issues and the right to adopt children together.
With all of this great news it might be easy to forget that we still have a lot of ground to cover before the journey to equality for our gay brothers and sisters truly is complete. There are still many legal obstacles that discriminate against same-sex couples across the country.
Openly gay children still are still bullied in school. Civil unions are still not marriage. Transgender, queer, and bisexual individuals especially still face a staggering amount of discrimination. Additionally, all of the issues that I mention in this article still need our support to become a reality at all.
Even so, we are undeniably on the right path for LGBTQ equality. This spring when your peaceful walk across the plaza is disrupted by a hateful old guy yelling about how god will strike us down for supporting gay rights, you can feel a little safer. If civil unions in Colorado really do cause the apocalypse, we will have more Boy Scouts to teach us about survival skills.