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MARRIAGE EQUALITY: IT’S A BEAUTIFUL THING WHEN DEMOCRACY PREVAILS

June 26, 2015

Abolition didn’t just happen; people made it happen. Women’s suffrage didn’t just happen; people made it happen. Civil Rights legislation didn’t just happen; people made it happen. And marriage equality didn’t just happen; people made it happen.

Americans can be proud today that despite the mistakes and wrong turns we have made in our history we do over time tend to course-correct where necessary. In the words of Winston Churchill, “Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing…after they have exhausted all other possibilities.”

This week it’s appropriate that we breathe in this latest, historic civil rights victory, honoring the memory of all those over the years who have suffered homophobic treatment under the law and celebrating particularly within the LGBT community those who struggled and worked so hard to bring this victory about.

Then once the celebratory rituals have ended and we’re all settled into this new, more enlightened reality for our LGBT fellow citizens, let’s turn our attention to our next great generational calling: the most powerful response possible to the new oligarchic order now threatening our democracy. For this one, we won’t be able to turn to the Supreme Court, because unfortunately the Supreme Court got us here. For this, we need the only Constitutional route that overrides the Court: a Constitutional Amendment establishing public funding of all federal elections.

Nothing short of that will override Citizens United. Nothing short of that will amount to real campaign finance reform. Nothing short of that will triumph over the nefarious ways that money now exerts such an undue influence on our government, and such a destructive effect on our democracy.

There will be no sane gun control as long as the NRA can use money to influence so many politicians; there will be no fundamental environmental sanity as long as fossil fuel companies can use money to influence so many politicians; there will be no serious peace-waging efforts as long as the military industrial complex can use money to influence so many politicians; there will be no universal health care as long as health insurance and pharmaceutical companies can use money to influence our politicians. And the list goes on and on. It’s time for this generation of Americans to decide, for ourselves and for our descendants, who America belongs to. For at this point, our government isn’t “of the people, by the people, and for the people” any longer. It’s “of the corporations, by the corporations, and for the corporations.” And that — like the inequities of slavery, segregation, marriage inequality or any others — will not change until we, the people, decide to change it.

The LGBT community waged a brilliant strategic campaign and won a well-deserved victory in America this week. May their win be a blessing on all the citizens whose lives will be improved because of this expansion of their democratic freedoms, and an inspiration to all of us for the work that still lies ahead. None of us are free unless all of us are free, none of us are equal unless all of us are equal, and none of us are free as long as the money we can spend on elections is the determiner of just how equal we are.

— Marianne Williamson

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