An honest mistake – part two

Before heading to the concert to celebrate the signing of the Freedom to Marry Act, my son and I stopped by my parents for a quick chat. This was the first time my son had seen his grandparents since he was home for spring break.

My mother asked me what I was going to do now that the fight for marriage equality appears to be over. As I mentioned before, I plan to focus on ending marijuana prohibition. My mother was surprised with this response but I have actually been thinking about it for quite some time. She thought that I would focus my efforts on economic and labor issues.

I’m actually very concerned about economic issues. I think our current system is fucked and certainly economic and labor issues will not be ignored by me. I’m not going to ignore environmental issues, agricultural issues, infrastructure issues or immigration issues either. They are just really complicated and are going to move pretty slowly. Also, they don’t sound as much fun as legalizing pot. If you want me to join your revolution, you gotta throw a pretty good party. Granted, no one does a better job than the gays but I’m willing to give the pot heads a shot.

I’m also not taking for granted that the fight for civil rights is over. The rights of women continue to be under attack. That really bothers me. Fucked up voter suppression shit is going on these days which try to disenfranchise minority groups. I’m sure that a segment of the population will continue to try and erode the gains made by the gay rights movement. I also care greatly about ending violence and promoting the rights and dignity of people who deal with mental illness and disability. I’m not abandoning any of these causes.

The prohibition of pot just needs to end and I think it can happen. I think that society is ready. The supporters of legalization just needs to learn from the gay rights movement and COME OUT!

I think even my dad realizes that there is no good argument for marijuana prohibition because his attempt to argue with me went straight to a red herring.

“What about cocaine?” he asked.

“Yeah, I’m not talking about cocaine, dad. I’m talking about pot. I don’t think that society is ready to take on legalizing cocaine.”

But I would probably support the legalization and regulation of all drugs. I think we have way too many laws in this country as it is. We are all responsible to obey all the laws but it is impossible for us to even know all of the laws. That is not a recipe for a functional society.

In my house, I made one rule for my kids… always tell the truth. I don’t even  think that they knew it was a rule. It was just the expectation that they were raised with. They didn’t have to memorize it, they just knew it. Actually, it wasn’t until I made it clear that it was my one rule that it even got violated.

Now would this work for a society? Could we have one law; always tell the truth? I don’t know. It’s not like people follow the laws as they are but lack of interest in honesty is probably the number one cause of crime. People are dishonest and think they can get away with doing shit they shouldn’t do through deception. Sure, some people break the law through of ignorance, accident or necessity, but dishonesty is the key component.

People who do drugs lie because doing drugs is illegal but drugs are illegal because people who do them lie. Take a lesson from the gay rights movement. When people stopped lying about being gay and came out of the closet, people were forced to face reality. Soon marriage equality will be the law of the land.

We all fuck up, we all make mistakes – as individuals and as a society. The first step to improvement is honesty.

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What next

For twenty years I have been fighting for LGBT equality. In 1993 I marched on Washington and worked with the “It’s Time Minnesota” campaign to include Sexual Orientation in the state’s human rights act. The human rights protection  passed but in 1997 Minnesota passed it’s own version of The Defence of Marriage Act. Since then the fight has been for marriage equality.

The decision for me to get married in 1999 was a difficult one. To take advantage of a right that was denied to so many of my friends just seemed wrong. It felt like joining a country club that barred jews. How could I do that?  Both my partner and I were out and active members of the LGBT community. In the end it came down to putting our family first. Marriage was the best way to protect the health and security of our family. As an act of protest we applied for our marriage license as one man and one woman with me as the bride and my female partner as the groom. On February 22nd, 1999 I became her wife and she my husband and we vowed to continue the fight for marriage equality.

Today, April 14th, 2013 that fight officially comes to an end in Minnesota. At 5pm Governor Dayton will sign the Freedom to Marry Act into law making Minnesota the twelfth state in the union to legalize same-sex marriage. Granted, marriage among same-sex couples is still not recognized at the national level but it’s only a matter of time until it will. With cases currently being decided by the Supreme Court, it could be just a matter of months. Countries all around the world are embracing marriage equality. The tide has clearly turned. It has been a long and hard fought battle but the end is clearly in sight.

So what next? Obviously discrimination will continue. Not everyone is on board with acceptance of gay and lesbian people. To be honest, that doesn’t concern me. I support the freedom to hate as well. My concern is with laws that treat people unfairly and we still have lots of those. Personally, I think the next law that needs to be overturned in the prohibition on marijuana. I think it’s doable, I think it’s time and I think it will have great benefit for the nation as a whole.

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