Gays, Iranians: Both Must Continue To Push To Achieve Rights

Two bigissues in the news: the ramifications of the elections in Iran and equal rights for gay people in the U.S. These may not be on some people’s hottest news items, but for me they are.

I can give only my perspective on them, but actually, they seem to have quite a bit in common despite taking place half a world apart.

First, they both concern people’s equal rights: in Iran, that every person’s vote counts no matter whom the candidate was that he or she voted for; and here, in the U.S., that each person has the right to pursue whatever job or establish a marriage without discrimination no matter what his or her sexual orientation is.

There is another obvious similarity: “the squeaky wheel gets the grease.” Because the people are protesting so adamantly, things are going to change in Iran even if the same government stays in power. The current leaders know that there are just too many people who are demanding change.

The same is true in the case of gay equality here. Finally, because so many people reacted to the lack of any action on gay issues as Obama had promised to do in his presidential bid, not to mention the derogatory, demeaning language put forth by the Department of Justice last week, the President today gave some–though minimal–benefits to some federal employees. He also mentioned that he was in favor of getting rid of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA); however, he did not say anything about Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT).

The key in both of these countries is that those in power do not make changes on their own. In one way or another they have to be pushed by the people, and in both of these situations, they should and must be pushed hard. In both situations, the people will have to continue to let their voices heard in order to get the results that they want.

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