poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Apartheid and homophobia -- both crimes against humanity

By Archbishop Desmond Tutu

A student once asked me if I could have one wish granted to reverse an injustice, what would it be? I had to ask for two. One is for world leaders to forgive the debts of developing nations which hold them in such thrall. The other is for the world to end the persecution of people because of their sexual orientation, which is every bit as unjust as that crime against humanity, apartheid.

This is a matter of ordinary justice. We struggled against apartheid in South Africa, supported by people the world over, because black people were being blamed and made to suffer for something we could do nothing about -- our very skins. It is the same with sexual orientation. It is a given. I could not have fought against the discrimination of apartheid and not also fight against the discrimination which homosexuals endure, even in our churches and faith groups. And I am proud that in South Africa, when we won the chance to build our own new constitution, the human rights of all have been explicitly enshrined in our laws. My hope is that, one day, this will be the case all over the world and that all will have equal rights.

For me, this struggle is a seamless rope. Opposing apartheid was a matter of justice. Opposing discrimination against women is a matter of justice. Opposing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is a matter of justice.

It is also a matter of love. Every human being is precious. We are all, all of us, part of God's family. We all must be allowed to love each other with honour.


New York Judge Called To Toss Gay Marriage Ban
by Beth Shapiro Newscenter
New York Bureau

(New York City) Saying that "tradition" is not a valid reason to prevent same-sex couples from marrying, the American Civil Liberties Union and the New York Civil Liberties Union today formally asked a New York judge to strike down the state's ban on marriage for same-sex couples.

In an 83-page motion filed with a state trial court in Albany, 13 same-sex couples asked the court to rule that excluding them and others from marriage violates the state constitution. The couples also said that preventing them from marrying denies them equal protection of the law and denies them the fundamental right to marry.

"The state's main defense of this law is that it upholds tradition," said James Esseks, Litigation Director of the ACLU's Lesbian and Gay Rights Project. "But tradition can never be enough reason to deny people the protection of the law. If it were, we would still treat women as the property of their husbands, still insist that people whose marriages had
failed could not remarry, and still allow the state to tell married couples that they can't use contraceptives."

"Marriage is about love and commitment," Esseks said. "If two people make the commitment to build a life together, they deserve the protection of the marriage laws."


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