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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Rachel Maddow Show Reports Obama Will Allow Some Benefits for Same-Sex Partners of Federal Employees

maddowI just finished watching a segment of the Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC. As part of tonight’s show, which included a lot about the events in Iran, she reported that tomorrow President Obama will award benefits for partners of gay federal employees. The few details which were given came from NBC White House correspondent Chuck Todd via telephone.

It seems that this action might be in response to the amount of negative reaction to the Department of Justice’s defense against a case that might have gone to the Supreme Court against the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which basically denies federal recognition to same-sex marriages that are legal in some states and also says other states don’t have to recognize those marriages either. There are lots of details about this whole controvery on Americablog, Pam’s House Blend, and Towleroad, so go to these sights if you want more on this.