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Houston Voice, No. 1002, January 7, 2000
File 010
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Houston Voice, No. 1002, January 7, 2000 - File 010. 2000-07-01. University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. December 17, 2017. http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/5155/show/5135.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(2000-07-01). Houston Voice, No. 1002, January 7, 2000 - File 010. Montrose Voice. University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/5155/show/5135

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Houston Voice, No. 1002, January 7, 2000 - File 010, 2000-07-01, Montrose Voice, University of Houston Libraries, accessed December 17, 2017, http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/5155/show/5135.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title Houston Voice, No. 1002, January 7, 2000
Contributor
  • Hennie, Matthew A.
Publisher Window Media
Date July 1, 2000
Language English
Subject
  • LGBTQ community
  • LGBTQ people
  • Gay liberation movement
Place
  • Houston, Texas
Genre
  • newspapers
Type
  • Text
Identifier OCLC: 31485329
Rights In Copyright: This item is protected by copyright. Copyright to this resource is held by the creator or current rights holder, and the resource is provided here for educational purposes. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without permission of the copyright owner. Users assume full responsibility for any infringement of copyright or related rights.
Note This item was digitized from materials loaned by the Gulf Coast Archive and Museum (GCAM).
Item Description
Title File 010
Transcript HOUSTON VOICE • JANUARY 7, 2000 VOICES AND ECHOES VIEWPOINT Vermont should help bring us equality in the new millennium byMELINDASHELTON The 20th Century, fittingly, went out with a roar that has left the conservative right quivering in its bigoted boots. The source of their angst is the recent Vermont Supreme Court decision that same-sex couples should have the same marriage benefits extended to different-sex couples. While the case applies only to Vermont, it is sending Shockwaves to the very core of a conservative movement that works tirelessly to perpetuate discrimination against the LGBT community. This fear- and hate-motivated, anti- gay movement cloaks itself in carefully crafted rhetoric, using phrases such as "traditional family values" and "the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman" to garner support and to chill hearts in a public that traditionally supports equality and fairness. But the Vermont Supreme Court turned a deaf ear to the conservative din. Instead, the five justices largely based their decision on the state's constitution which contains a "Common Benefits Clause" that says the state's government should be "instituted for the common benefit, protection and security of the people, nation, or community, and not for the particular emolument or advantage of any single person, family, or set of persons who are part of only that community." In short, the state is violating its constitution that guarantees equality for all of its citizens In its wisdom, and undoubtedly because they understand how slowly the wheels of government can turn, the justices also ruled that the Vermont Legislature must act in an "expeditious fashion" in carrying out the court's order of either legislating same-sex marriage or providing a "substantial equivalent." Gay rights activists have reacted in a cautiously optimistic fashion. New Orleans gay rights attorney John Rawls criticized the Vermont justices for stopping short of ruling that "marriage is marriage and licenses should be granted to the defendants in the case. ... They're saying 'separate but equal,' but separate is not equal. They were very reluctant to use the 'marriage' word." While the ruling will be cited repeatedly in cases across the nation and is "a great victory" for the gay community, Rawls cautioned that it also will fuel the backlash against gay rights. "The fallacy of all of this is that equality is a bad thing. We've proven time and again that's not the case," Rawls said. The battle for—and against—equality dates back to the very start of the nation. Our founding fathers created the U.S. Constitution around the basic tenets of freedom and equality, albeit under their narrow understanding of such freedoms and their unwillingness to extend full rights and equality to everyone. In the 1800s, abolitionists fought for an end to slavery, and on Dec. 18, 1865, the 13th Amendment to the Constitution was declared ratified by 27 of 36 state legisla tures. Slavery was abolished. Although the battle for women's equality had already begun, the next victory proved to be less-than-equal. On March 30, 1870, the Secretary of State declared that the necessary majority—29 of 37 states—had ratified the 15th Amendment. The amendment stipulated that the right of U.S. citizens to vote could not be denied based on "race, color, or previous condition of servitude." Voting rights were extended to black men—but not women—although it would be decades before blacks could take full advantage of the polls. Some 50 years and countless battles and protests later, women finally were granted the right to vote. On Aug. 26, 1920, the 19th Amendment was signed after 36 of 48 state legislatures had ratified it. Alice Paul, a preeminent feminist leader, wrote an equal rights amendment and introduced it to Congress in 1921, and an ERA has been introduced every congressional session since 1923. Paul's amendment states: "Equality of Rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on account of sex." Those 23 words send shivers down the spines of conservatives and misogynists who to this day fight an ERA. The ERA passed Congress in 1972, and the National Organization for Women led the fight for its ratification by the deadline date of July 1982. The deadline mandate from Congress was designed to stymie NOW's national campaign, and it succeeded, although narrowly: 35 of the 38 needed states ratified the amendment. The quest for equality has not ended. Efforts are underway to introduce and ratify a Constitutional Equality Amendment that broadly protects women's rights, including reproductive rights, but also would forbid discrimination based on "sex, race, sexual orientation, marital status, ethnicity, national origin, color or indigence." Despite the ground gained in the '90s for gay rights, there is a backlash by a few who want the power to decide who should— and should not—be considered "equal" under the law. They expect gay men and lesbians to pay taxes, obey laws and essentially knuckle under and accept second- class status. They incorrectly predict that by extending equal rights under the law to our community, it will be the demise of "the traditional family" as they see it. Detractors used similar tactics to stop the end of slavery and to deny voting rights to black men and women. They fought desegregation, interracial marriages, equal education and job opportunities, and the civil rights and women's movements Now they are fighting the gay rights movement. Vermont opened the door last month, and it's up to us to make sure other states follow—however long it takes to achieve equality. Melinda Shelton is editor of IMPACT Neivs in New Orleans, a sister neivspaper of the Houston Voice. LETTERS More than a 'dot-org' at -work on the Net To the Editor: Thank you for your nicely written and generally accurate story, "New kids on the Net" (Dec. 17). But there are two things we'd like to clarify and comment on. In the story's lead, you ask whether a "dot-com" or "dot-org" by itself substitutes for "a constituency, bylaws, and the other traditional measures of an organization's legitimacy?" I would like to point out that NationalGayLobby.Org has a constituency—our members, and the tens of thousands of individuals (not hits) who visit our web-site each month. Not only does NGL have bylaws, we are the only national organization I know of that publishes its bylaws at its web-site. And, as for "the other traditional measures of an organization's legitimacy," NGL has in its brief, six month existence: • Been granted a corporate charter by the Commonwealth of Virginia; • Attracted members from all 50 states; • Seated more than one-third of its 29 board members; • Raised and spent in excess of $12,000 on start up, operating expenses and on projects; • Conducted activism on the Hate Crimes Prevention Act, including a silent vigil outside the White House on Nov. 6; as well as work on incidents ranging from the railroading of a gay man by a county judge in Michigan to the firing of a gay man by a SUNOCO affiliate in Indiana to protesting entrapment arrests in Virginia, NationalGayLobby.Org is much more than "just a dot-org," and that NGL meets all the criteria generally included in "traditional measures of an organization's legitimacy." NGL is also as non-profit as an organization can be. We have no shareholders and if we ever dissolve, our assets must be transferred to an appropriate non-profit entity. We have not opted to seek an IRS 501(c) designation because tax-exempt groups are too limited in their activities. Micliaei RonmneUo NationalGaylobby. Org Executive Director Open club's doors to gay men To the Editor: As a former employee of Sue Ellen's, a lesbian bar in Dallas, and being a gay man, I find it hard to believe in the reasoning of Alexis Wasifuddin in changing the policies at Club Rainbow to allow men ("Lesbian club opens its doors," Dec. 17). During my employment at Sue Ellen's, the incidents of straight men coming to harass lesbian customers were extremely rare. It was also my part of my job to watch any suspicious males that entered the club and to remove them if needed. I find it infuriating when a gay and lesbian business is discriminating. This is exactly what our community has been fighting against since Stonewall. We of all people should know better than this. 1 sincerely hope that we always cause a brouhaha when this happens. I just can't believe that ignorance is a valid excuse. Marshall Rainwater Houston Lesbian club should be proud To the Editor: I don't know exactly what transpired to make the owners of Club Rainbow feel the need to apologize ("Lesbian club opens its doors," Dec. 17) or defend its tagline "Exclusively for Gay Women." 1 am a gay woman and I can't tell you the number of times I have been denied entrance to most of the gay male clubs in this citv for silly things like wearing open toe shoes, when gay men with the same shoes were allowed in with no hassle. ! doubt very seriously that this lesbian club ever denied entrance to a gay man. 1 have to say I was excited to see the club open. I felt proud. We should all remember that we are a community and little battles like this do us no good. Ladies put your tagline back up and remember, in the world of business, it is a dog eat dog world. By surrendering to this type of silly whining only sets you up to be bitten by the other dog. Tut vour tagline back up and be proud. Wanda Houston Let us know what you think Send the editor your letters (400 words maximum) or op-ed submissions (800 words maximum). Names may be withheld upon request, but submissions must include a name and phone number for verification. Houston Voice, 500 Lovett, Suite 200, Houston, TX 77006 fax: 713-529-9531 • e-mail: editor@houstonvoice.com
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