Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-02-22



A time to act: Promoting LGBT rights here and abroad
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Rabbi Max Weiss

This article shared 3330 times since Tue Jun 24, 2014
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

For well over a decade, June has been celebrated as LGBT Pride month in cities across the United States, marking the anniversary of the Stonewall riots, a major milestone of the LGBT rights movement. While we have lots to celebrate in the U.S. this year, there is much to worry about when it comes to the rights of LGBT people in some other parts of the world. Thankfully, we have an opportunity this month to make a difference by supporting a critical new bill that will focus U.S. foreign policy on promoting LGBT rights worldwide.

This year, the United States made great strides in the march toward equality for LGBT people. Our country was founded on the principle that all people are created equal—and now, thanks to the hard work of activists, LGBT individuals are coming closer than ever to achieving the equal rights that flow from that principle. While full equality for all still hovers just out of reach, it is a goal that now seems achievable with the fall of the Defense of Marriage Act last year, the passage of marriage equality laws in 19 states, and new rules set forth by the federal government and the national trend revealed by recent polls, that most Americans now support equal rights for LGBT people.

While we celebrate this remarkable progress, it is important to recognize that LGBT individuals are still suffering and dying because of discriminatory laws and practices. Here in the U.S., stigma still drives too many gay teens to suicide; institutions and families ostracize LGBT people from their ranks; and many states continue to deny basic civil rights.

But beyond our borders, the situation is even more grave. Same-sex sexual activity is illegal in 77 countries—and punishable by death in five. In many countries, the situation is growing progressively worse: just this past February, Ugandan President Museveni signed into law the Anti-Homosexuality Act, which punishes same-sex sexual behavior with life in prison and criminalizes funding organizations that provide services like healthcare to LGBT people or promote their human rights.

We in the Jewish community are particularly sensitive to prejudice encoded in law. We recognize the devastating and deadly effects of bigotry—especially when it becomes a tool of the state. As Jews, we feel a unique outrage when a government implements laws that punish a person because of his or her identity. It is imperative that we act on that outrage, and stand with our brothers and sisters around the world who are persecuted today because of their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

Fittingly in honor of LGBT Pride Month, we have an opportunity to take action to do something about this injustice. Recently, U.S. Sen. Edward Markey ( D-Mass. ) introduced a new bill in the Senate that aims to promote LGBT rights around the world. If it passes, the International Human Rights Defense Act will make preventing and responding to discrimination and violence against the LGBT community a foreign policy priority, and will ensure that our government devises a global strategy to achieve those goals. It will also create the position of "Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBT People" in the State Department, which will be responsible for coordinating the U.S.'s efforts to defend human rights for global LGBT communities.

I believe that this is not just a law, but an ethical imperative. The Hebrew bible teaches that we are all made in the image of God. We are all infinitely precious. No one of us is any better than the other. This radical equality of humanity is also an American principle borne witness to in our Declaration of Independence. "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."

Social change efforts have led, with great effort, to extraordinary advances in human rights in the United States and around the world—from the end of American slavery to the end of apartheid; from the right of women to vote to laws that protect the rights of laborers, children and refugees. Our recent gains in the fight for marriage equality in this country are the latest milestones in this ongoing struggle for equal rights for all. But there is still so much work to be done, especially for our LGBT brothers and sisters beyond our borders.

That is why I support the International Human Rights Defense Act, as part of American Jewish World Service's "We Believe "campaign, which seeks to act on our belief that no one should be hated for who they are or whom they love.

During June, as we rejoice in the great strides made in LGBT rights in the United States and celebrate the impact LGBT individuals have made in making our world a better place for all, please take a few minutes to call or write to your senators and urge them to cosponsor the International Human Rights Defense Act. With persistence and vision we can make a difference and bring true equality for all closer to our grasp.

Rabbi Max Weiss is the rabbi of Oak Park Temple B'nai Abraham Zion, in Oak Park, Illinois.

This article shared 3330 times since Tue Jun 24, 2014
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


Gay News

Editorial: In praise of Drag Story Hour 2023-03-14
- Drag Story Hours have really come to the fore in our political consciousness in the last few years, as the radical right has strategically targeted events raising the visibility of individuals who are gender-nonconforming, transgender or ...

Gay News

VIEWPOINT The scrutiny of Kamala Harris 2023-03-07
- President Biden had a cancerous lesion successfully removed from his chest last month, which was just now reported. At 80, questions continue about Biden's fitness to serve a second term. But questions also abound concerning Vice ...

Gay News

Patriarch Kirill: Darth Putin's Altar Boy 2023-03-01
- Christianity—based on the person and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, who preached love as the most important expression of religion—has often been co-opted and distorted to support wars, persecutions and ...

Gay News

Opinion: LGBTQ+ candidates are there as Chicago politics prepare to shift 2023-02-08
- The exhausting Chicago election cycle continues. Once the midterm and gubernatorial races were resolved this past November, the Windy City was already midstream in campaigning for the 2023 municipal elections Feb. 28 (with runoffs April 4). ...

Gay News

VIEWPOINT The FBI, Loaves of Bread, Corruption, and Reform 2023-01-25
- When I was 13 years old I used to ride shot gun with my uncle A. on his Italian bread truck deliveries. My job was to enter the store with him and remove the old, stale loaves of bread while he ...

Gay News

NATIONAL Democrats and trans issues, political wins, gay bars, HIV drug 2023-01-08
- Republicans and Democrats differ widely in their views on gender identity and transgender issues—but there are notable differences among Democrats, too, especially by race and ethnicity, according to Pew Research. Overall, 60% of U.S. adults say ...

Gay News

Letter to the Editor: Pope Benedict XVI passes away 2023-01-02
- The Rainbow Sash Movement mourns the passing of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI on Dec. 31 in the Vatican. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, known most recently as the pontiff who renounced the papacy—but who was situated squarely ...

Gay News

VIEWPOINT It's The End...again and again and again ... 2023-01-01
- Jesus thought the end of the world would occur during his lifetime.* As Jesus hanged dying on the cross, he had to deal with the fact that the world had not ended. Paul thought he understood ...

Gay News

Dignity USA: LGBTQ+ Catholics recall Pope Benedict XVI's reign as causing LGBTQ+s tremendous damage 2022-12-31
-- From a press release - Dec. 31, 2022. The passing of former Pope Benedict XVI "marks what is, hopefully, the end of a long, painful era for LGBTQIA+ Catholics, our families, and the entire church," said Marianne Duddy-Burke, Executive Director of ...

Gay News

OPINION Remember the youngest victims of anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination 2022-12-19
- On Dec. 13, the Ohio State Board of Education voted 10-7 in favor of a non-binding resolution opposing proposed changes to the federal government's Title IX protecting LGBTQ+ students. It was just one more blow for ...

Gay News

Respect for Marriage Act passage important step but not equity says LGBTQIA+/ally Catholic group 2022-12-09
-- From a press release - Dec. 8, 2022. DignityUSA, the nation's foremost organization of Catholics working for justice, equality, and full inclusion of LGBTQIA+ people in our church and society, is pleased that both houses of Congress have now passed the ...

Gay News

VIEWPOINT What are the most banned books: take a guess 2022-11-18
- The Latin word for book is liber. It is also the Latin word for "free," as in not a slave but a person who enjoys freedom (liberty). The word library means a home for books, a place of liberation, a sacred ...

Gay News

VIEWPOINT The geopolitics of being Brittney Griner 2022-11-18
- WNBA All-Star Brittney Griner was arrested a week before Russia invaded Ukraine. On Feb. 17, the Russian Federal Customs Service detained Griner at Sheremetyevo International Airport for allegedly transporting cannabis-derived ...

Gay News

GUEST EDITORIAL The Workers' Rights Amendment is a vote for equality 2022-11-01
- It is the American Dream: Work hard and you can achieve a middle-class life. This narrative is a broken bargain for too many in today's workforce. A far worse bargain exists for the LGBTQ+ community, especially ...

Gay News

VIEWPOINT The cults of Jesus, Putin and Trump 2022-10-21
- Originalist Christian nationalism. They say politics makes strange bedfellows. There is none stranger than the curious linking of Jesus to the cults of Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump in the faith and politics of an alarming ...


Copyright © 2023 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.






About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.