I had seen the video but never connected it, well I did to gay marriage, but not the personal side. The amazing singer? Mary Lambert, I guess she’s singing to her girlfriend, Rachel. Mackelmore, more than a one-hit wonder, has a gay uncle (well uncles – hey they legally multiply now! and talked about DOMA wonderfully, about the struggles ahead and support from him but also the future. Although it seems a little undramatic from here, which has had full partnership since 2004, and I posted about the assimilationist/internal LGBTQ political concerns (and the whole ‘why do you want to live in an institution?’ thing), it’s easy to ignore the wider emotional implications for many and I must say I was rather moved and tearful after learning more about the song and his words, from a personal level:
Today is a historic day for civil rights in America. By declaring DOMA unconstitutional, the Supreme Court has stated that the U.S. Government can no longer deny federal benefits to same sex couples. This means that people like my uncles, who have been in a committed relationship for over 20 years, will now receive the same rights that my parents have. Personally, I feel reconnected to my American identity, and am proud of the progress we have made in recent years. Today gives promise to the hope that we can and will change when our nation isn’t fair and just. It’s a victory not only for the LGBTT* community and those rejoicing with friends, family and loved ones, but also a victory for all who devote their lives to fight for what is constitutionally and ethically right.
While today’s ruling was monumental and imperative, we have a long way to go. There are still 37 states in our country that must shift legislation on same sex marriage before equality for same-sex couples is reached. But the real work lies in deconstructing the core of where the fear around same-sex couples comes from. Homophobia and intolerance continue to play a strong role in many households, schools, media and religious institutions in our country. Without directly addressing the real issues and where they stem from, America’s momentum towards justice will be stagnant and insincere.
This ruling gives us all an opportunity to address equality for same-sex couples in our homes, our schools and our social circles. We must continue to have dialogue and discussions around this issue, and push ourselves past the point of what’s comfortable and socially accepted. We, especially those of us whose rights are secure, are challenged to not sit passively in this crucial moment of cultural progress. True change lives in the minds and hearts of the people that make up our country, and must be cultivated, not mandated. We all have a part to play.
Yes we all have a long way to go…a very long way.
Weirdly I now want to check Mr Thriftshop out…I love the lyric which paraphrases something I’ve said here, and commented on about loving hip hop as a gay man:
“If I was gay, I would think hip-hop hates me
Have you read the YouTube comments lately?
“Man, that’s gay” gets dropped on the daily
We become so numb to what we’re saying
A culture founded from oppression
Yet we don’t have acceptance for ‘em
Call each other faggots behind the keys of a message board
A word rooted in hate, yet our genre still ignores it
Gay is synonymous with the lesser”
*LGBTT – what’s the extra T for?