Double Anniversary

This photograph appeared in the front page of ...

This photograph appeared in the front page of The New York Daily News on Sunday, June 29, 1969, showing the “street kids” who were the first to fight with the police. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today marks the 43rd anniversary of the Stonewall Riots which began on June 28, 1969. It was a watershed moment for LGBT persons- when a few people at the Stonewall Inn in New York City decided they weren’t going to be pushed around anymore by a bullying city police force.

It was the beginning of the modern day gay rights movement. A movement which, I believe, has culminated in more progress in the last three years under the Obama Administration than it has in the last forty. Marriage equality, civil unions and domestic partnerships in some states and sovereign nations; partners’ rights upheld; local non-discrimination ordinances; repeal of don’t ask, don’t tell; passing of the Shepard/Byrd Hate Crimes Act; enormous Pride celebrations all over the land…. Much of the credit goes to activists all across the country whose tireless efforts against second-class citizenship have been rewarded by a population who now often sees discrimination against LGBT persons as archaic, draconian and just plain mean. The 5,000 people participating in Montana Pride 2012 among them.

We have a lot to be proud of, but this is no moment to rest on our laurels. The Montana Republicans may have removed the homosexual criminalization plank from their platform, but it was hardly touted as a move for equality:

According to state Rep. Keith Regier, who chaired the party’s crime committee at its convention last weekend that ultimately voted to remove the line, people were having a tough time getting the nuances of the law and subsequent court cases.

While the court’s decision in 1997 “addressed homosexuality between consenting adults,” Regier said in an e-mail, “it is still illegal with concern to solicitation, children, etc.”

“There has been confusion with this issue,” he said. “I felt the committee wanted to just remove the homosexual reference because of the confusion it caused as it was worded.”

But he added that “Removal of the reference to homosexual behavior does not mean Republicans condone that behavior.”

Like I said- not concerned with equality at all. Don’t get me wrong: I’m delighted it’s gone- but Montana Republicans have a long way to go to prove that they stand for equality- chief among them is taking the obsolete sodomy law of the books during the next legislative session. Oh, and not making homophobic ignorant remarks during testimony.

Sigh.

Oh, and the double anniversary? Today is the 21st anniversary of my ordination to the priesthood. Ironic, huh?

An Inspirational Man…

Howard Solomon, the uncle of a dear friend, has been profiled in the Portland Press Herald:

Howard Solomon was in his late 20s when he saw police cruisers screaming through Lower Manhattan and later read newspaper accounts of the groundbreaking riots that had erupted outside the Stonewall Inn in June 1969.

Solomon wasn’t at the now-famous nightclub that catered to New York City’s gay community.

“I was on a date with a female colleague,” said Solomon, now 69. “I was terribly closeted back then.”

A little more than a decade later, Solomon came out to his colleagues at Tufts University near Boston and began teaching some of the nation’s first college-level history courses that dealt openly with all aspects of sexuality.

Solomon, now retired and living in Bowdoinham, distinguished himself as a history professor at Tufts from 1971 through 2004 and as a vocal advocate for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

A gentle reminder that we stand on the shoulders of giants…

Give your Monday an inspirational start: Read the full story here.