Editor’s Note: LZ Granderson, who writes a weekly column for CNN.com, was named journalist of the year by the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association. He is a senior writer and columnist for ESPN the Magazine and ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter: @locs_n_laughs. He spoke at TEDx Grand Rapids in May. TED is a nonprofit organization dedicated to “Ideas worth spreading” which it makes available through talks posted on its website.
LZ Granderson says everything the gay community wants is in the Constitution
Civil rights for African-Americans didn't come through popular vote, he says
Congress and the courts took the lead and popular opinion eventually moved, he says
Granderson: In 29 states, it's still legal to fire someone because he or she is gay
I wonder if black people would be still in the fields picking cotton today if the 13th Amendment – the one abolishing slavery – was placed on the ballot back in 1865.
I wonder if Hillary Clinton would be at home baking cookies instead of serving as secretary of state if women’s suffrage was put to a vote back in 1919.
In other words, I wonder just how far along we would be as a society if the oppressive majority held all of the legislative and judicial power over the oppressed minority, essentially yanking the teeth out of Congress and the Supreme Court.
I’m sure you’ve heard a lot about the gay agenda, but may not know what’s in it. Here’s what you do: Download a copy of the United States Constitution, read it. Everything the LGBT community wants is in there.
Sounds like an oversimplification?
There’s not a single issue regarding the LGBT community that has been covered in the media or deliberated in courts that is counter to the articles of the Constitution. On the other hand, the fact that in 29 states it is legal to fire someone just because they’re gay flies in the face of the 14th amendment, particularly the passage that says “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States.”
That may not be consistent with one’s religion, and that’s fine. But the Bible and the Constitution are not the same thing.
I can’t think of a single major civil rights victory that came by way of a general election and so I am not surprised that all 32 states that have voted on marriage equality, voted against marriage equality.
It is human nature to resist change, especially change that may bring significant inconvenience to the vast majority of the people, those who are enjoying the spoils of the status quo. “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it,” was never said by the community that was demanding their rights.
It was always the mantra of those who liked their slaves; who liked their women barefoot and pregnant; who felt uncomfortable working next to someone with cerebral palsy; who get squeamish at the thought of two men falling in love.
We elect members of Congress to lead us, not appease us. This is why our history has so many civil rights victories come by way of Congress or the courts and so few if any civil rights victories by election. When it gets right down to it, culturally we’re like children who have to be forced to eat our vegetables.
We like the Constitution when it can be used to endorse life the way we think it ought to be and we ignore it, or vote against it when the Bill of Rights or the various amendments challenge our world view or force us to make accommodations – however big or small – for others.
This week election officials in the state of Washington announced that a referendum seeking to nullify the recently passed law legalizing same-sex marriage has qualified for the November ballot.
Washington joins Maryland, Maine and Minnesota as the next round of states that will put the civil rights of some of their citizens to a vote. Early polls indicate that at least one of them will indeed vote in favor of marriage equality, which is a victory for the 14th Amendment of the Constitution.
Though it’s a bit of a shame that the Constitution needs such victories and that history has taught us nothing.
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The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of LZ Granderson