DOMA Dead, Wendy Davis, and Miles To Go

So today has been a pretty great day. Wendy Davis was a complete bad-ass and struck down a particularly Draconian piece of anti-abortion legislation in the Texas state legislature. SCOTUS knocked down DOMA. It's been great.

So first let's talk about Wendy Davis, because she is going to be an icon in my mind. Let's take a look at how far she went to protect a woman's right to make her own medical decisions, and also to empower medical professionals to help women make medically sound choices. Davis filibustered for the death of SB 5 for 13 hours.
"This wasn't the kind of symbolic filibuster in name only seen in the U.S. Senate: Under Texas' parliamentary rules, Davis was required to speak continuously and only on the topic of the bill the entire time. She couldn't take breaks to eat, take a sip of water or go to the bathroom. She could not lean against anything for support. If Davis broke any of these rules, the filibuster would die and SB 5 would become law." - Rolling Stone
 There were numerous challenges to Davis' filibuster, all of which were ridiculous attempts to silence her. Protesters gathered to support Davis, and colleague State Senator Leticia Van De Putte arrived immediately following her own father's funeral to step up and challenge the leaders at the podium who refused to give her the floor.In the end, the filibuster succeeded, but the Texas state legislature even resorted to faking the timestamp on the vote in an attempt to pass it. What an absolute shame. Rule of law, ya'll-- no one is above the laws of our society if a government is to be functional. Luckily a reporter at the Texas Tribune reported the correct time and the truth was uncovered even after the Texas  State Senate website posted the passage of the bill.

Then there's DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act that served as the basis for most legal cases against same-sex marriage. The Supreme Court deemed it unconstitutional today. This is a huge step in the right direction and will strengthen the case for same-sex marriage across the country.

This is a huge, huge deal. This is not just about marriage on a level that could help change the face of America in a way paralleling the changes that followed Loving vs. Virginia. Loving vs. Virginia was the 1960s era Supreme Court case that made interracial marriage legal. You can expect similar changes to come to pass in the decades to follow not just legally, but culturally.

The DOMA ruling doesn't just say that the biggest legal basis of anti same-sex marriage legislation is unconstitutional-- it's an affirmation of the basic liberties we in the united states enjoy apply to those who don't end up with a person of the opposite sex. It is a stand for the basic dignity and humanity of our queer brothers and sisters.

To quote the Loving vs Virginia ruling "the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual, and cannot be infringed by the State." Hopefully we'll see that philosophy applied to more biological characteristics.

Today was a pretty great day to be a citizen of the USA, especially if you understand the importance of accepting, respecting, and protecting the diversity that exists within our nation.

But we have miles to go. 

This week the Supreme Court also struck down a law key in the Civil Rights movement that helped black and other non-white citizens vote in areas where Jim Crow laws made it difficult and sometimes near impossible to have their vote counted. Apparently Jim Crow-era discrimination no longer justifies the Voting Rights Act that would force states to get Dept. of Justice approval before changing voting laws.

The Jim Crow era may have passed, but if you think we're living in a post-racial America, you're not paying attention. Look at the way people raised a stink over the way Food Network dropped Paula Deen after her racist remarks. Trayvon Martin's death was only a short while ago. As an Asian woman I still can't go to some places in the South without feeling uncomfortable-- and I'm from Virginia, born and raised.

The DOMA repeal is a big step, but it's not a crossing of a finish line. Marriage isn't the only huge issue affecting the LGBTIQ community. Health issues like a dearth of doctors who treat them with respect and care is another huge issue. Homelessness is a huge problem among LGBTIQ youth, as well as bullying, suicide, and depression. A general lack of representation on the public consciousness is a huge deal as it perpetuates ignorance.

And women still have a long ways to go in term of battling sexism, both institutionalized and socio-cultural. We still don't all have full medical authority over our own bodies. We are still expected to believe that "we were asking for it" because apparently men are some form of beast who have no control over their propensity to commit assault. We are still paid less. We are still having to accommodate to boys clubs. We have people failing to stand up for sexual assault victims left and right. It should say something that while the entirety of the internet was blowing up with #standwithWendy, CNN and other major news sources failed to cover it.

We have a lot to celebrate today, but we are far from done. We are closer, but still sometimes majority rule trumps protection of the minority. Congratulations to every who has in one way or another worked for the better either on the grand political stage or just protecting the guy next to you from the bullshit that is discrimination.

In the words of Robert Frost: I have promises to keep / and miles to go before I sleep / and miles to go before I sleep.

We have miles to go-- let's not fall asleep just yet.



  1. wendy is awesome!! the news has been full of excitement this week

  2. great blog! thanks for sharing Harper!

  3. Wonderful post! I had the chance to be inside the Texas capitol when Wendy Davis was filibustering. What an incredible moment!