This week the LGBTQ community suffered a temporary setback when plaintiffs funded by two out-of-state organizations sought and were granted a temporary restraining order, which put on pause the issuance of Domestic Partnerships in Oregon.
At the same time, LGBT Oregonians throughout the state found themselves protected, for the first time, from discrimination in employment, housing, education, public services, and public accommodations.
To be sure, the temporary restraining order is a legal hurdle that has real effects felt by families throughout Oregon. For those poised to enter into a contract with the state that would afford the protections not provided by any other means, save marriage, this pause means uncertainty. For those who sought the recognition of the state as nearly-full citizens, this decision feels unjust. And for those who looked forward to celebrating the creation of an almost-equal system for LGBT citizens, this is a bitter disappointment.
But it is temporary.
This legal pause is but a gasp, uttered by those fearful of the LGBT community as they realize that the march of history is toward an uncomfortable equality. This gasp is heard around the country, from the mouths of the same fearful people.
Today, while we are temporarily restrained from gaining the rights promised by our legislature, we are at least partially protected in our jobs, homes and public spaces. While we wait for the court’s ruling, as we have so many times before, we can take the opportunity to work toward a lasting victory.
As I’ve said before and truly believe: it is our humanity that will allow us to have lasting impact. It is our humanity that is our greatest strength.
Now is the time to talk with those we know about what equal rights mean for our families, about how we are personally affected by the historic legislation passed during the 2007 session. Now is the time to talk with our neighbors about their gardens and our schools and the importance of health care. Now is the time to help those who act out of fear to understand that we are human – not almost human, not similarly or separately human, but fully human.
Whatever the decision of the court, the real victories – the lasting victories – will be those we experience with our neighbors, our families, our coworkers and the guys in our bowling leagues.
So, start talking. And, while you’re at it, talk about how important it is to you that we elect fair-minded officials who appoint and confirm fair-minded judges.