Black, Gay and Living in a Voting Rights, NO! Gay Marriage, YES! World

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Black, Gay and Living in a Voting Rights, NO! Gay Marriage, YES! World

racial minorities, especially in the South, no longer confront discriminatory barriers voting. At the time, the 1965 VRA applied to nine states in South—Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia.

But voter suppression is alive and well today.

Just last year, Florida deliberately reduced days available for early voting, making it difficulty for voters to cast their ballots who relocated to different counties within the state. And in Maryland, the 2010 gubernatorial Republican candidate Bob Ehrlich "hired a consultant who advised that 'the first and most desired outcome is voter suppression,' in the form of having "African-American voters stay home.'"

As a member of one of the early generations to benefit from the gains of the African American civil rights movement of the last century, these rulings hit hard. Many of us in the LGBTQ community are outraged. But a GLAD board member and beloved ally to Greater Boston knows the reality of voter suppression first hand.

"This ruling was an enormous setback for the hard fought for civil rights gains of the past. My home state of Alabama is one of those states that continues to try and block voting access, but those efforts has been substantially hampered by the provisions contained in the VRA" Jo Davis wrote in an email blast.

While many of us would like to think voter suppression only happens in the South, let me disabuse you of the notion with the scores of counties and municipalities in the North, like NYC, the Bronx and my borough of Brooklyn that was also covered in the 1965 VRA, and will now be greatly impacted.

If the Court thinks the VRA is outdated it only needs to read Huffington Post blogger Judith Brown Dianis’ “Top 10 Voter Suppression Moments of 2012” that overwhelming affected people of color.
The Supreme Court rulings force LGBTQ people of color, like myself, to reside a bifurcated reality in terms of full civil rights protections.

With advances such as hate crime laws, the repeal of the military’s "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell," the legalization of same-sex marriage in many states, DOMA struck down, Prop. 8 overturned, and with homophobia viewed as a national concern, the LGBTQ movement has come a long way since the first Pride marches four plus decades ago. Many note the perceived distance the LGBTQ community has traveled in such a short historic time—from a disenfranchised group on the fringe of America’s mainstream to a community now on the verge of full equality. But not all members of our community have crossed the finish line.

Will the LGBTQ community help those of us, like me, left behind?