Ask and do tell: A step closer to equality?

By Marcus Osborne, shades Magazine

I’ve not been allotted enough words to delve into the specific ramifications and next steps as they pertain to Tuesday’s ruling in San Diego by U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips.

The ruling essentially says that the United States’ policy regarding gays in the military – “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” – is unconstitutional.

No fair-minded American could logically disagree.

Far too often, I’m left wondering if my faith in the American people’s ability to adhere to the stated creed of our nation, “all men (and women) are created equal,” is misplaced. But more often than not, I am reminded that though the wheels of justice turn at a sometimes mind-numbingly slow pace … they do indeed turn. And eventually we do get it right.

That’s what’s happening here.

We’re knee-deep in the “getting it right” process. Not that this is at all comforting to the LGBTQ community – nor should it be. Our nation has a history of asking its most oppressed and discriminated against citizens to wait their turn. That’s unfair and immoral, because as a well-known southern preacher with a big dream once said,  “Justice delayed is justice denied.”

The very idea that one citizen has the power to “vote” on another’s God-given and Constitutionally-affirmed rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is absolutely un-American.

This is not up for debate.

When it comes to civil rights battles in the United States, the blueprint has always been to be aggressively patient – from race equality to women’s rights to gay rights. In other words, the plaintiff would stay on the offensive, knowing full well that they would eventually be on the right side of history.

So here we are at another civil rights crossroad – another small victory on the path to acknowledged equality. And this particular victory is a bit sweeter than others because it highlights a new ally in this war … Republicans.

The fact that the Log Cabin Republicans – a gay Republican political group – was the plaintiff in this case is yet another indication that the tide is turning and there’s reason to be optimistic.

Other prominent Republicans are also speaking out and joining the good guys as well. Ted Olson, the legendary conservative attorney who represented George W. Bush in 2000 in the famous Gore vs. Bush case that resulted in the election of Bush, is now one of the nation’s staunchest advocates for same-sex marriage.

Meghan and Cindy McCain, the daughter and wife of Arizona Senator John McCain, have jumped on the gay rights bandwagon as well. Former RNC Chairman, Ken Mehlman came out as a gay man (finally) and now he’s on “Team Equality” with the rest of us bleeding hearts.

Yeah, it’s taking some time, and it’s frustrating as hell, but looking at the big picture, that “hopey-changy thing” mocked by the oh-so-mockable Sarah Palin, is gaining momentum. And as Sam Cooke once sang, “a change is gon’ come.”

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