July 2013 This past month has seen some major progress in the United States around civil rights for LGBTQ people, while at the same time the erosion of the Voting Rights Act is a cause for concern around civil rights of people of color. Dharma practice calls on us to see what is really true, and to step out of delusion. On the Voting Rights Act, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg writes in the dissent:”40 years has not been sufficient time to eliminate the vestiges of discrimination following nearly 100 years of racial discrimination” and ““Throwing out preclearance when it has worked and is continuing to work to stop discriminatory changes is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet,” indicating that to believe racism is not still at work in politics in these places and that these policies are no longer needed is believing a delusion. (see p 16 & 17 of her dissent for examples). So the work continues.
Meanwhile on the Prop 8 case, dismissed on standing, Chief Justice John Roberts finds that the plaintiffs could cite “no particular or personal injury” that would happen to them if same-sex couples were allowed to marry. That is, their objections and society’s fears around this are a fiction. The decision thus remains with each individual state, but since 81% of 18-29 year olds think it is no big deal, it is only a matter of time before there is justice on gay civil rights (after a lot of hard work along the way, of course). Meanwhile same-sex marriage is still illegal in 37 states, and you can still be fired for being LGBTQ in 29 states, which is why we need the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), so this work also continues.