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HomeCivil RightsDoug Sturm’s Letter to The Editor of The Daily Item

Published in The Daily Item on 7/14/2013

I was deeply offended by your editorial, “ACLU needs to give peace a chance” (July 11) for two reasons.

First, the editorial declares that the ACLU in its current legal action in Pennsylvania on the subject of “gay marriage” constitutes “a bit of self-indulgence from a group known to grab headlines at the expense of achievement.”

The central mission of ACLU, founded nearly a century ago, is to assure that all citizens are extended the rights and liberties to which they are entitled according to the US Constitution, particularly the Bill of Rights.

Pursing that mission vigorously often captures the headlines of the media given the import the issues to which it attends. Gay marriage is precisely such an issue in our time, and how it plays out is critical in how thoroughly we are committed to those constitutional rights.

Second, the editorial, in opposing court action by the ACLU, promotes instead to allow a “gradual” approach to social change. That is reminiscent of those who, while uneasy with racial segregation in the US, promoted a policy of “gradualism.”

About that tack, I remember the insistent words of Martin Luther King, Jr., in his “I Have a Dream Speech” fifty years ago: “This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy; now is the time to rise from the dark…valley of segregation to the sunlight path of racial justice.” Surely that same sentiment pertains to the issue of “gay justice.”

The ACLU has taken that advice in its action regarding the rights and liberties of our gay brothers and our lesbian sisters.

Douglas Sturm

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