New Indiana Law Shows That We Cannot Be Complacent.

Posted: March 30, 2015 in Call to Action

In from the Gay Liberation Network

New Indiana Law Shows

That We Cannot be Complacent

The passage of Indiana’s new “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” (RFRA), with anti-LGBT bills recently introduced in another 27 states, shows that any notion that the battle for LGBT rights “is over” is foolish.

Not only is the Indiana law a frightening attack on the separation of church and state, it is also a back-handed assault on one of the principal gains of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s — equal access to public accommodations.

Back in the day, racists used “religious liberty” as their primary defense of segregation, and today’s bigots are using the same strategy against equal LGBT access to businesses and other places of public accommodation.

Besides this connection with racism, it should be noted that a direct path to the Indiana law was laid by the awful “Hobby Lobby” Supreme Court decision against women’s access to contraceptive and other reproductive health care. By privileging businesses’ alleged religious rights over the rights of women to have health care, the same business “right” could be used against LGBTs and others.

Note to “gay rights only” organizations — we can no longer afford your narrow “my rights only” approach to political organizing. Ignoring attacks on other groups, or just putting out press releases about the attacks on them, is totally inadequate to the challenges we face.

Passage of Indiana’s RFRA should also be a wake up call for all in the LGBT community and our allies who thought “we’d won.” Rights are never won permanently. History is replete with examples of civil rights progress, but erasure of civil rights.

Having won so much in recent years, do LGBT activists in future years want to be like women’s rights activists in the 1950s, fondly looking back at the 1920 winning of (white) women’s suffrage and wondering how many more decades it will take to start moving forwards again? Is that how LGBTS activists a few decades from now will look back at 2015, when the Supreme Court likely will grant equal marriage rights?

Let’s not let it happen that way this time.  The Gay Liberation Network and others locally and around the nation are organizing rallies on Tuesday, April 28th to coincide with the Supreme Court’s oral arguments on the equal marriage rights lawsuits before the court.

With the Indiana law and dozens of imitators waiting in the wings, we need to press the Court to recognize not only our equal right to civil marriage, but access to public accommodations and other rights that come with full citizenship.

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