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A Space for Equal Protection Under Law at the Inaugural Parade

Just before the new year, VJack issued a call for gays, lesbians and atheists to find common cause and to…

suggest that an alliance between the atheist and GLBT communities might be worthy of serious consideration. We have a great deal in common. We also share a common “enemy” in Christian extremists, a group determined to treat us as second-class citizens with restricted civil rights.

I agree that one place for atheists and members of the gay community to find common cause is in the recognition of civil rights — rights guaranteed under the equal protection clause of the Constitution in the 14th Amendment, which mandates that “no state shall … deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” But Proposition 8 in California denied exactly that, and a major proponent of Prop 8 is being given special status in the Inauguration of our next president. Across the country, fundamentalist churches are trying to push preferential language for Christians and Christian institutions into the law, also subverting the equal protection clause… and President-Elect Barack Obama is in turn promising to funnel more government money to those churches. Rick Warren, the same preacher who pushed Prop 8 and is being given a special role in the presidential inauguration of Barack Obama, answered the question: “Does a person have to believe in God to be President?” with the answer: “I would say so.” Atheist Americans understandably feel the need to push back with the message that as guaranteed by Article VI, “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”

The bottom line is that gays, lesbians and atheists find their constitutional liberties threatened on some of the same fronts, and that provides a common front for gay, lesbian and atheist political action.

For gays, lesbians, atheists and their allies in promoting equal protection under the law, there’s a space for you to make your voice heard during the Inauguration. An “Oath of Office” demonstration has secured a permit right in front of the Department of Justice building on the Pennsylvania Avenue parade route — and the purpose is to advocate for a return to constitutional governance. Equal protection for all — in marriage, in pursuit of public office, and in other areas of life — fits perfectly under the constitutional umbrella of this activist event. So please, go ahead and use that space. We all belong there.

Oath of Office Demonstration for a return to Constitutional Governance
January 20, 2009, all day
Outside the Department of Justice Building, south side of Pennsylvania Avenue west of 9th Street
Web link:

Some thematically-appropriate banners if you’d like to spread the word:

14th Amendment Banner for Oath of Office Inauguration Activist Demonstration Article VI Banner No Religious Test for Oath of Office Inauguration Activism Protest

2 thoughts on “A Space for Equal Protection Under Law at the Inaugural Parade”

  1. tom says:

    Uh- this kind of assumes that we’re all still somehow “protected under the law.” Over the past 8 years we’ve documented how we are decidedly NOT protected, in fact we’re now all equally persecuted (via once illegal spying on citizens for no reason and without court order, random/warrantless search and seizure by police, and all the other rights which have been stripped from us to make way for the Homeland Security goons).

    So watch your back and notice who’s watching (if you can, since much of it will be electronically and maybe even spy-satellite driven), and realize we aren’t in America right now (the one you were born in, politically/rights and privacy speaking). Maybe, if Obama doesn’t want to use these same tyrannical powers grabbed by Bush, he’ll start to bring us back to the kind of democracy our country was designed to be by overturning all or most of the ugly, dictatorial laws that were passed under Shrub, prosecute his (and all his cronies) ass and make these jerks pay for totally screwing up (both here and abroad).

    Of course, we could just naively ignore it all and “look ahead” and hope for a brighter future.

  2. Jim says:

    Tom, you’re missing the point. This is a demonstration calling for Barack Obama to respect the Constitution and the principles incorporated therein, including equal protection under law. It’s entirely compatible with what you’re saying.

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