June 19, 2010 Melanie Nathan -
Senator Feinstein’s Declares progress for June Pride as follows:
“Each June, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month provides an opportunity to recognize the countless Americans who have worked to end the ongoing struggle against discrimination, and to pay tribute to the resilient spirit and significant contributions of LGBT Americans to our nation’s ideals of equality and freedom.
June was chosen for LGBT Pride Month to commemorate the Stonewall riots in 1969, which prompted the birth of the gay rights movement.
As we celebrate the rich and diverse LGBT community this month, we not only recognize many notable achievements, we are also reminded of the struggles and successes to live and experience the American dream.
In the past 10 years since this month was first declared, the LGBT community has triumphed over tremendous challenges. Hate crimes based on sexual orientation or gender identity are now a Federal offense and same-sex marriages are granted in 5 states and the District of Columbia. The LGBT community has also answered the call to service with over 600 openly LGBT appointed and elected officials in office today. While these landmark victories are remarkable, there is no doubt that much more still needs to be done.
My heart sank with the passage of Proposition 8, but the final verdict has not been rendered on this issue. As Californians come to know the 18,000 couples who were able to marry I believe that change will come.
The military’s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” is another important issue. Under this policy, over 13,000 men and women have been discharged from service. I have co-sponsored legislation and spoken on the floor because I believe that every American should have the opportunity to serve their country. Last month, both the House and the Senate Armed Service Committee approved an amendment to effectively end “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.” While this still has to make it through the Senate, I will support this every step of the way.
Great change is possible in our lifetimes; it can come quickly and easily or, as we’ve seen with many protections for LGBT individuals and families, over time with great struggles. Yet equal rights are closer now than ever. The LGBT community continues to march forward with determination and dignity. Though the journey is not finished we live in a country where extraordinary change is possible and I know that perseverance triumphs prejudice.”
I have always considered Senator Feinstein one of the most pro Gay Senators on the Hill. However I know this view has not been shared by many activists and that bothers me a lot. They do not approach the Senator with requests that make sense.
I remember October 2009, sitting in the Senator’s conference room in her D.C. office, speaking to a senior staffer. I asked why am I hearing from some of the LGBT non-profits here in DC that the Senator is not worth approaching on UAFA because “she does nothing for the gay community?”
When i heard this i was astounded. The Senator helped my lesbian family whenever we have asked, she has shown amazing compassion, and she gave Shirley Tan the introduction of a Private Bill, wherein she even mentioned Jay Mercado as Shirley’s partner; probably the first time a Senator has ever gone to that extent in the circumstances.
But to me more important than anything else – is that those who refuse to believe in the Senator’s goodwill, must and cannot forget that Senator Feinstein was one of the few who was not duped as was Bill Clinton, by the insidiously prejudicial Defense of marriage Act – as the Senator voted NO to DOMA.
When I told the Staffer what I had heard, it was as if I had put a dagger through her heart. She told me how upset the Senator would be if she ever heard such a remark. It upset me too because for as long as Senator Feinstein has been my California Senator, I have felt a sense of safety. Her office is a well run machine of proactive efficiency, more than any other Senate office. Her staffers are astounding.
Out of all the Senators I believe Feinstein is the one who could feasibly take a lead on the repeal of DOMA – I also believe she can work with President Obama to effect some resolution to the particulalrly heinous aspects og LGBT discrimination.
With this team in place – it cannot go on. Nothing should come before DOMA’s repeal or remedial legislation such as UAFA that asserts parity and equality for all couples in the immigration act.
Look at who the opponents are on this- snot nosed lockstep noblows like Jeff Sessions. The guy should not even be near the Senate, especially noting his background, overt prejudice and ignorance on most issues.
One only need look to the scathing he received from the late Ted Kennedy when Sessions sought to be Judge. (You Tube.)
He is a twig in the Jungle and Senator Feinstein, ought to put her next foot forward and tout her leadership to bring equality to our LGBT community. I believe she has the courage , the respect and the capability. I am hoping that my confidence makes sense and that the Senator will take her wise words to the next level.
So my plea during this June Pride month is one shrouded in gratitude for those who I do believe care – but a huge request – PLEASE no more proclamations or speeches. I cannot live any longer from Pride to Pride or Fundraiser to Fundraiser. I am so done! I want executive orders, I wand law, I want Equality, I want my rights, I want my children to be accepted in their lives; I WANT my Senators to lead the way and Get the equality for US. The non profits do not represent us.