Unfortunately, that has never been the real situation in the United States. In fact, our entire history has been a fight to live up to the noble words of both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Much progress has been made, but much more needs to be done. One of the major battles being waged right now is over extending equal rights to the LGBT community, particularly in the area of marriage rights. Too many right-wing fundamentalists in the U.S. still want to ignore the Constitution and deny marriage rights to gays and lesbians -- and they try to justify that bigotry by hiding behind religion.
Since 2004, six states (Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, New York, Vermont, and New Hampshire) and the District of Columbia have legalized same-sex marriages. In the upcoming November election, four states (Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington) will vote on whether to legalize same-sex marriage -- giving gays/lesbians the same right as all other citizens of those states. If one or more of these states approves same-sex marriage, it will mark the first time that it has been approved by a vote of the people of a state (since other state legalizations were done either by a court or the legislature).
And it looks like there is a good chance of at least one, if not more, of those states voting for the marriage equality of all citizens. Equality is leading in the polls of three of those states, and is in a virtual tie in the fourth. Here are the latest poll numbers:
Public Policy Polling
Hart Research Associates Poll
Survey USA Poll
Public Policy Polling
It's starting to look like the only thing that could prevent victory for equality in at least three of those states is a homophobic version of the "Bradley effect" (where voters tell a poll one thing and then vote the opposite way in the privacy of a voting booth). Hopefully, that is not what is happening. But we won't know for sure until election day.
Even if all four of these states vote for equality, the fight won't be over. There will still be 40 states denying equality to some of its citizens regarding marriage rights. But at the very least, it would be a few more steps down the road toward fully realizing the promise of the Constitution -- and as we know, most wars are won by a series of small victories.
Meanwhile, more people are speaking out for true equality every day. NFL kicker Chris Kluwe (Minnesota Vikings) is one of those people. He wrote an article for the Pioneer Press in Minnesota. Here are some of his memorable words:
All the hopes, all the dreams, all the wonderful potentialities life has in store are as dust before the scouring winds of intolerance (whether it be racist, sexist, or religious). Every time you propagate the message that being gay is to be less than human, that same sex marriage cannot be as filled with love and laughter and tears as heterosexual marriage, that gays don’t deserve to pass a legacy on to their family, you quicken that howling storm and sweep away a tiny bit more humanity from the world, drive one more child to contemplating the cold razor’s bite, or the yawning abyss of the overdose because they simply cannot deal with the unceasing assault upon their psyche.
Well I, for one, will not stand for it. I will not stand for a world that demeans those it finds ‘different’ or ‘gross’. I will not stand for an ideology that promotes slavish adherence to a single arbitrary standard, that sacrifices children on the altar of oppression and control. I will not stand for one more RED TINGED MUSHROOM CLOUD second of people thinking that they have the right to live someone else’s life for them, for the complete lack of empathy so often shown in our society.
I stand for gay marriage. I stand for the end of segregation. I stand for a woman’s right to vote. I stand for equality under the law, for treating others how I want to be treated, for the fundamental human right to live a happy life free of tyranny.
I stand for my children.