Thank you to my dear friend and LGBT ally, Jennifer Carey, and Arturo Schultz, for inspiring me to write about this week’s Bigot. Despite the Death of DOMA, Texas wants to create its own laws and refuses to abide by the Supreme Court’s decision. Recent actions by the Texas National Guard refuse to treat LGBT people as equal citizens of the United States. Yet again we see Texas on the wrong side of history. Lest we forget the misogynistic Rick Perry beaten back by the amazing Wendy Davis.
Sadly, The Texas National Guard refused to process requests from same-sex couples for benefits on Tuesday, September 3, 2013. Despite a Pentagon directive to honor these requests, they tried to justify this discrimination by citing the state constitution’s ban on gay marriage. Interestingly enough, Maj. Gen. John Nichols, the commanding general of Texas Military Forces, wrote in a letter, …”the Texas Constitution defines marriage as between a man and a woman, his state agency couldn’t process applications from gay and lesbian couples.” However, in this rather convoluted state of confusion, he added that ” the Texas National Guard, Texas Air Guard and Texas State Guard would not deny anyone benefits.” How to reconcile these statements is unclear. And incidentally, what about the rest of the LGBT population in Texas?
To my surprise and delight, National guard officials in Florida, Michigan and Oklahoma – all states that ban marriage equality for LGBT couples – said they will follow federal law. I say with a great sigh, when will the rest of the South and the rest of country abide by Federal Law and work towards equality and equity for all LGBT people?
While I am able to enjoy and appreciate the steps towards progress, I cannot rest in that place. When do each of us actively work to stand in solidarity with all targeted people? When do we say enough to racism, homophobia, misogyny, and when do we pull together to eradicate poverty and look at a more equitable distribution of wealth?