This past weekend, Phyllis Siegel, 77, and Connie Kopelov, 85, and many other same-sex couples were issued marriage licenses in New York, the sixth U.S. state to date to legalize same-sex marriage. This is certainly cause for celebration knowing how the LGBT population is still being mistreated today. And yet this is hardly ground-breaking. Why? Here are three reasons: 1) there are currently ten countries where marriage equality already exists (the Netherlands, as you may recall, celebrated their 10th year anniversary a few weeks ago); 2)same-sex unions have historically been documented since the Roman Empire (and here’s a link to a book I once read and love to reference); 3) perhaps the simplest reason there is is that same-sex couples exist. While the majority of the U.S. has been slow to legalize same-sex marriage, New York is a step in the right direction if you, like me, hope that one day, every citizen of the world will have basic human rights.
In Israel, women, today, are daring to sit in front of the bus, a section that is customarily occupied by the men, apparently for religious reason. It’s hard to believe that it was only fifty years ago when the Freedom Riders fought racial segregation in the U.S. South. These volunteers in Israel are met with physical violence and verbal abuse, just as the Freedom Riders were in the 60s.
Women in Saudi Arabia are not allowed to do many things. They cannot vote. They cannot be elected to high political positions. They are banned from driving cars. While many, supposedly, do not wish to change this, more and more women are daring to drive a vehicle. Driving, to these women, gives them a sense of control and independence. Saudi Women for Driving has appealed a woman U.S. diplomat and women members of Congress to stand with them in their desire to be issued a driver’s license.
It’s easy to get pulled in to the cynicism-complacency-complaining vortex about the possibility of big changes happening. My leaning-impatient nature has led me there and back and there again.
Hope may waver but this does not mean that change — real and big — does not take place. Rosa Parks certainly would not have said so. Phyllis and Connie from New York would certainly disagree.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. ~~ Margaret Mead
What status quo would you challenge if you could make a difference?