We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
-Declaration of Independence.
The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
-The United States Constitution, Amendment IX of the Bill of Rights.
The Constitution of the United States of America is a document filled with the aspirations and hopes of countless Americans. "We the people" has changed and adapted over our country's lifetime. It has come to include people whom the writers and delegates to the Constitutional Convention would have been hard pressed to have imagined as citizens. Many millions of `The People" are gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT). We seem to be the last group to seek recognition of our rights under the law. The framers of the Constitution knew they didn't have it all correct. They understood that humans and governments are flawed. The Ninth Amendment contained in the Bill of Rights plainly points the way to justice for GLBT persons. The Constitution didn't mention homosexuals, domestic partnership benefits, civil unions, or same-sex marriage, but it didn't have to! The government may not deny us as law abiding citizens, these unalienable rights. Unalienable rights of our choosing, not of the governments.
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
-President Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address
President Abraham Lincoln found words to attempt to ease the wounds of a country gripped in the claws of a civil war. The blood of thousands of courageous men soaked the soil of Pennsylvania for beliefs. Two beliefs so closely intertwined with each other, yet so totally incompatible.
"We the People" was put to the test. Could a group of Americans decide to use the words of the Constitution to forge a new country, focusing on the rights of the individual and state, ignoring the basic proposition "that all men are created equal"? The courage of their convictions raised to its height as General Pickett led that valiant and fateful charge.
Would the rest of "The People" and the Government of the United States be able to let them go? Could those who had been given power by "The People" protect the Constitution from being shredded by slavery, racism, and economic servitude? Who would "We the People" be? A nation birthed in the cries of liberty once again rose up to fight injustice. Its face shown in the likes Colonel Patrick O'Rourke and his Rochester men as they charged unhesitantly over the edge of Little Round Top, unloaded guns and all, into a rain of lead.
Once again the nation faces a crisis over who "We the People" are. Gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender citizens are demanding to be heard. Our country "conceived in liberty" and baptized in the blood needed to break the chains of bondage, knows where to stand. All citizens are "endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights." It may feel uncomfortable for some, or even downright unpleasant, but freedom for us is not negotiable.
February 26, 2006
Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 6:52 AM PT: Wow, I reread this today after six years, and it's just as applicable as it was then.