Saturday, October 25, 2014

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Fordham: SCOTUS Marriage Hearings Were ‘Best of Times’ for Civil Rights

In the weeks leading up to the Supreme Court's decisions on same-sex marriage, Fordham University hosted Kate Kendell, the executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, to discuss "What a Tipping Point Looks Like: LGBTQ Rights and Future" as part of the University’s Be the Evidence Project.

According to Fordham's website, Kendell took the opportunity to paint the same-sex marriage issue as a civil rights struggle and praised President Obama for tipping the scale for the country on this issue. Sadly, Fordham's own story on the event, which appears on its website, seems to adopt Kendell's view.

First the marginalized come forward. Then their families, friends, and allies join.

But in all civil rights movements, it is when the unlikely allies step forward that a tipping point is reached.

 …“That’s how we hit the tipping point… People understood our humanity,” she said. “I’ve never seen, nor could I have imagined the time that we’re in right now—this sort of ‘best of times’ place for the LGBT community.”

Contributing to the “best of times” was the fact that while Kendell was presenting her talk at Fordham’s Lincoln Center campus, 230 miles away the United States Supreme Court was deliberating the constitutionality of Prop 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which restricts federal marriage recognition and benefits to opposite-sex couples.

Tina Maschi, assistant professor at the Graduate School of Social Service and the founder and director of the Be the Evidence Project, said in a press release promoting the event:

Everyone individual is entitled to be treated with dignity and respect, and within that is equality. But there are certain populations that do not have equality, and that is the LGBTQ population. If you have to negotiate your identity by not disclosing it, then you are passing for the majority, but you’re compromising who you are and your right to be who you are.

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