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Adovcacy News - Bush mars celebration with discrimination

May 17, 2004

Bush mars celebration with discrimination
Two civil rights milestones celebrated

"The decision in Brown versus Board of Education did not end all segregation; did not even end school segregation for many years. The civil rights movement was still waiting on other heroes and cases and laws. Yet, all sides of the equation knew that on May 17th, 1954, a line had been crossed in American history."
U.S. President George Bush, Topeka, Kansas, May 17, 2004

Lacking any sense of irony, U.S. President George Bush was in Topeka, Kansas, today speaking about discrimination on the 50th anniversary of the civil rights case Brown v. Board of Education. Bush paid tribute to the courage of children who insisted on breaking down the race-segregated U.S. school system.

While Bush spoke about civil rights in the home town of the infamous Westboro Baptist Church (the people behind godhatesfags.com), same-sex couples in Massachusetts were actually living Bush's words through action. The 50th anniversary of Brown was best celebrated today with the arrival of legal same-sex marriage in the first of any U.S. state.

Bush undermined his own praise for civil rights by shamefully repeating his call to codify discrimination against gays and lesbians in the U.S. Constitution.

"I called on the Congress to pass, and to send to the states for ratification, an amendment to our Constitution defining and protecting marriage as a union of a man and a woman as husband and wife," Bush said from Topeka in response to achievement of marriage equality for gays and lesbians in Massachusetts.

We recall how Brown v. Board of Education came up in our own marriage case in Ontario, and how it and other U.S. civil rights cases contributed to the legal precedents that have led to same-sex marriage. So we celebrate the arrival of full and equal rights for our U.S. neighbours in Massachusetts and look forward to the spread of improved human rights through-out the United States.

Bush was speaking about those who worked on behalf of civil rights for racial minorities, and expressly excluding rights for gays, but we found his closing words to be appropriate for both civil rights celebrations that are taking place today, on May 17.

"America has yet to reach the high calling of its own ideals," Bush said in his closing remarks. "Yet we're a nation that strives to do right. And we honor those who expose our failures, correct our course, and make us a better people. On this day, in this place, we remember with gratitude the good souls who saw a great wrong, and stood their ground, and won their case. And we celebrate a milestone in the history of our glorious nation."

It would be nice to honor a President who truly understood those words and lived by them. In the alternative, Americans continue to respond to Bush's ongoing human and civil rights violations at home and abroad.

Congratulations to our friends, supporters, and neighbors in the U.S. who have worked so hard for this victory today. We stand in solidarity as the work continues against state-sanctioned discrimination.

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