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New DC Group Challenges outdated LGBT “Establishment Think”

Another item of interest passed through the “internets” onto my laptop thanks to www.towleroad.com.

Maggie Gallagher’s organization National Organization for Marriage is now placing ads on DC Metro buses.  One would think that all local LGBT groups would have a problem with such a promotion of discrimination being paraded around as a civil liberty.  Unfortunately, according to a Washington Post op-ed groups such as Dc’s Gay and Lesbian Activist Alliance and the local LGBT Democratic Gertrude Stein Club NOMDCBusAd are supporting NOM’s freedom of speech.

Kudos to Full Equality Now! DC, a worthy offshoot of the National Equality March for taking the lead in writing the following letter criticizing the DC Washington Area Metro Transit Authority for their slap in the faces of LGBT citizens and tourists to the Nation’s Capital.

Lesson Learned: New voices in the LGBT movement are increasingly proving to be the the most clear and principled.

Dear John B. Catoe,

It has recently come to the attention of Full Equality Now! DC and other local organizations that the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s Metrobus system has been running ads on the sides of buses sponsored by a group called Stand for Marriage DC. The advertisement proposes that DC citizens vote on the fundamental right of same-sex couples to marry.

We are writing this letter to express our outrage at the messages on the WMATA buses – messages that advocate stripping certain civil rights from a segment of the population. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) residents of the Washington, DC area do not deserve to face discrimination when they get on the bus to go to work, to see friends, or to return home to their families.

While WMATA allows politically-oriented groups to purchase advertising on its transit system, this advertisement is not merely political. The specific request of this advertisement is that the majority be allowed to vote to restrict the rights of a minority, based solely on gender orientation – something contrary to the spirit of equality in the DC Human Rights Act, WMATA’s own non-discrimination standards and policies, and a culture of common decency and civility. Making these ads even worse, they comprise WMATA’s de facto endorsement of legalized discrimination, contribute to a climate where hate crimes become more likely, and are especially hurtful coming into the community via a publicly-funded utility.

We recognize the crucial importance of having an adequately-funded transit system for DC area residents, visitors, and transit workers. However, displaying discriminatory ads is not an acceptable way to increase revenue.

Ironically, again, a difficult fight for equality is taking place on buses. Like others who have worked, and died, to advance full equality for everyone in America, our basic transportation system is forcing a targeted group to face down discrimination as they board the bus, and in WMATA’s case, even walk nearby a bus.

To reiterate, it is unacceptable for LGBT persons, or anyone, to have to experience discriminatory messages as they go about their daily life. We are sending this letter to express our outrage at the messages we are seeing on our local WMATA buses and to state clearly our intent to stand up to any and all attempts to defend or advocate discrimination in this city.

We look forward to your reply on this issue.

Full Equality Now! DC

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