LGBT movement wins key marriage victories
Published Apr 24, 2009 9:43 PM
The struggle for lesbian, gay, bi and trans (LGBT) equal rights under bourgeois
marriage law won back-to-back victories this month with the extension of full
marriage rights to same-sex couples in Vermont and Iowa. These two states
joined Massachusetts and Connecticut as the only states to perform same-sex
Iowa’s Supreme Court ruled that banning same-sex marriage violates the
state constitution. The April 3 ruling made Iowa the third state in the country
to grant marriage rights as a result of a court ruling.
The Vermont Legislature made history four days later by becoming the first in
the country to vote for same-sex marriage. Gov. Jim Douglas initially vetoed
the bill, but the Legislature voted to override his veto.
The decision by Vermont’s Legislature to recognize marriage equality was
a sharp repudiation of the right-wing propaganda that the LGBT community could
only gain full rights through court intervention. Same-sex couples are entitled
to demand court recognition of their constitutional right to marriage equality.
The Vermont legislation simply demonstrates that the courts are not the only
available path of pressure for the movement.
The struggle for equality has gained momentum following the decisions in
Vermont and Iowa. New York Gov. David Paterson introduced legislation on April
16 that would extend marriage rights to LGBT couples in that state. The
legislation faces an uphill battle in the state Senate, where anti-marriage
forces are strong. Paterson ordered state agencies last May to uphold same-sex
marriages performed out-of-state.
Lawmakers in New Jersey, New Hampshire and Maine are seriously debating the
issue of marriage equality. The New Hampshire State House has already voted to
recognize same-sex marriage. The issue is now before the state Senate Judiciary
The District of Columbia Council voted unanimously to recognize same-sex
marriages performed in other states on the same day that Vermont recognized
LGBT marriage rights.
The Council vote is not the final word on LGBT marriage equality in the
district. Washington, D.C., a majority Black city, lacks full home rule. Any
laws passed by the Council can be overturned by the U.S. Congress, where
district residents are denied the right to representation. This extreme denial
of self-determination for the district’s Black community threatens the
marriage equality struggle for LGBT people of all nationalities.
Recent victories rebuff Prop 8 hate
The recent victories for the LGBT community represent a clear and positive
shift following the narrow passage of Proposition 8 in California last
November. Prop 8 is a ballot initiative that disenfranchised LGBT communities
who had recently won the right to marry as a result of a ruling by the
California Supreme Court.
Massive protests swept the country following the passage of Prop 8. The LGBT
movement signaled that it would fight for equal rights by organizing
demonstrations in cities large and small. Hundreds of thousands came out, from
San Francisco and New York to Bozeman, Mont., and Raleigh, N.C., to denounce
This militant display of resistance and struggle, not the generosity of state
legislatures or courts, deserves the credit for the recent marriage rights
victories in Iowa and Vermont. Continued struggle will be necessary to push the
movement forward to victory in California, New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire,
Maine and throughout the country.
Class society perpetuates LGBT oppression
Class society has introduced and perpetuates numerous forms of oppression
against the broad masses of people. All of them serve the functions of dividing
and thus weakening the political power of the masses of people and of
increasing the wealth and power of the ruling class. Discriminatory ideologies
are used by the ruling class to justify economic, political, social and
The sexuality- and gender-based oppressions faced by LGBT people are rooted in
the rise of class society, as is the oppression of women. The prejudiced
attitudes that have developed over the last six to eight thousand years were
antithetical to communal societies, the social form which prevailed during most
of human existence on this planet. In fact, gender variation and multiple forms
of sexual expression were highly valued by our pre-class ancestors.
The perpetuation of LGBT inequality serves to divide the working class and
prevent class solidarity in the struggle against capitalism. Same-sex couples
are right to demand equal rights under current marriage law, but true
liberation is dependent upon the overthrow of the ruling class and its
replacement with multinational, multigendered working class power that will
guarantee full rights for all.
Articles copyright 1995-2012 Workers World.
Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.
Workers World, 55 W. 17 St., NY, NY 10011
Email: [email protected]
Subscribe [email protected]
Support independent news DONATE