by Dr. Karen Oliveto, Pastor
February 23, 2011 is a new marker on the United States civil rights time line. On that day, the Obama administration declared the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) as unconstutitional and will no longer defend it in a court of law. While marriage equality for glbt persons has not yet been achieved, it is one step closer to becoming reality.
You and I have been privileged to be a part of our generation’s civil rights issue. We stand on the shoulders of those who came before: those who worked to end the legal right to “own” another person as a slave, struggled to win the right of women to vote, and risked much in the fight for racial equality. The road to justice is never easy and it is never finished. We must all remain vigilant. Even today, as the glbt movement for justice takes a step forward, there are still forces that seek power over instead of power with: women’s rights remain fiercely under attack, as do the rights of workers to organize. The immigration issue polarizes cities and states, separating people into “us” and “them”. Quality education for all, which ultimately is a struggle of class, power and privilege, further erodes the dream of a nation where every child has the same rights and opportunities to thrive.
While we celebrate now, let us continue to stand on the side of love, bearing witness to the truth that we are all created in the image of God. Let us stand up against powers that seek to oppress, demean, and dehumanize. Let us be allies for each other, co-advocates for justice and equality. The future generation of justice-makers depend on our actions today.
Years from now, when your children and great-grandchildren ask you what you did to further equality, will you be able to tell them of how you stood on the side of love?