Thursday, March 04, 2004

The time is now

Watching the recent spate of cities and counties licensing same-sex marriages I am reminded of a movie I saw a few years back about the civil rights movement. The name of the movie escapes me at this moment (sorry) but the story was about efforts to organize southern blacks to vote back in the 50s and 60s. It primarily focused on a group of black teenagers who were working with a group of out-of-town civil rights organizers, training people how to vote and how to deal with the almost inevitable physical confrontations they would be facing. They trained and trained and trained, but the out-of-towners consistently refused to let the kids go out and actually start putting their training into practice because they, the out-of-towners, felt the kids weren't ready yet.

The climax of the movie came when some incident occured (again, my weakening memory fails me about what it was specifically) that sparked a spontaneous march by the black teenagers on the city hall. The out-of-towners rushed to the crowd of black men and urged them to turn back telling them, once again, that they weren't ready yet.

The kids as one essentially told the organizers that they weren't waiting any more for permission to assert their rights. The out-of-towners, seeing how determined the kids were, realized that the kids were ready and that it was them that had been holding them back. So, instead of fighting it any more, they worked with the kids to hold their protest ("If we're going to do this thing then we better do it right.")

There's a message here for those who would keep saying that the time hasn't yet come for people (in this case homosexuals) to assert their rights (in this case, the right for full legal recognition of same sex marriages): eventually those who want those rights won't wait any longer and even those who support them better get behind them when that happens.

If we're going to this thing then we better do it right.


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