Right to Marry: Participant Statements

WHY ARE PEOPLE INVOLVED IN THE RIGHT TO MARRY CAMPAIGN?

David Rodriguez, New York says:

Impassioned by black feminist and queer theory ideologies, I want to commit myself to the farthest extent of political action on behalf of queers in the state of New York, and eventually throughout America. My personal desire to exercise my right to marry comes from years of immersion in scholarship and personal growth. The real fuel for the fire comes from my participation in civil disobedience to protest the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy, part of the Soulforce Right to Serve campaign in 2006. Nothing could have prepared me for the politicatharsis that I experienced behind bars for 28+ hours. In light of that lived experience and others, I treasure the rights and liberties that I have and advocate for the rights that are denied to me and to others.

Kalil Cohen, California says:

I have been active in trans and queer political organizing in Los Angeles County for the past six years, beginning with campus activism at Pomona College, and extending to wider Los Angeles activism regarding access to health care for transgender people, as well as helping organize a queer women and trans people of color conference in LA. I have hosted house parties about marriage equality, run workshops about trans-inclusion in the marraige equality campaign, and collected signatures for the marriage equality petition currently circulating in California.

Meg Sneed, Arizona says:

A friend told me that we are making progress, that I should sit back and say cheers to the change that is happening. She told me that it may be slow change but it is change…Shouldn’t we show patience and wait until the country at large is more ready to embrace full marriage rights, she asked. I responded with not my words but the worlds of Martin Luther King’s famous "Letter From Birmingham Jail" Dr. King observed that he had never engaged in activism that was "well timed in the view of those who have not suffered." He continued, "For years now I have heard the word ‘Wait!’ It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This ‘Wait’ has almost always meant ‘Never.’ We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that ‘justice too long delayed is justice denied.’ " I will not sit silently and "wait" for America to be ready for myself and others to be treated as equals.

Bryana White, Massachusetts says:

As a heterosexual female, I have had the benefit of identifying with a culturally sanctioned sexual orientation; I do not face the persecution or censorship that is often experienced by homosexual, bisexual, and transgender individuals. The aforementioned is a privilege which affords me the opportunity and the obligation to speak on behalf of those who, as a result of biases against their sexual orientation, face discrimination. As an African American female, I am able to personally appreciate the need for people from all groups to speak out for injustices done against individuals who are often marginalized. Without the participation of non-black and male individuals in the initiatives of the Civil Rights and Suffrage movements in America, the significant gains that were made as a result of the movements would not have been possible. As a person whose orientation is "safe" from general bias in this heterosexist and homophobic country, it is important that I refuse to ignore the injustices that may be experienced by those who are different from me in terms of their gender identity and sexual orientation. I am joining Soulforce Q’s Right to Marry campaign because I feel that it is in the best interest of my country to acknowledge, protect, and ensure the rights of all people who live here and I know that it is my responsibility as a human being to fight for the rights of others.

Bryan Murphy, California says:

I am joining the Right to Marriage campaign because I believe that denying same-sex couples the right to marry is government sanctioned discrimination. Marriage in the past has been withheld first from slaves, then from interracial couples, and now from gays and lesbians. Withholding this right is just another way of saying "We do not value you as citizens" and that must change.

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