#Equality For All

Rally4Rights MargeryMy name is Margery Hanson. Some of you may know me from Facebook, some of you may know me from Twitter, as TurboKitty. Some of you may know me as the woman whose voice, is loud enough to reach across 3 football fields and an estimated 3500 people. I don’t really need a microphone, but I’ve been told to use my indoor voice for today. I’m also the Progressive Democrats of America-Southern Nevada Chapter-Leader. For those of you who have been dying to put a face to the name and the voice, this is it.

With that being said, I have to blame somebody for what’s happening here in Henderson today. So first, I blame Cles Saunders, our P.D.A. Southern-Nevada Technical Advisor, for asking me if I wanted to participate in another E.R.A event. Second, I want to blame myself, for saying “sure, why not.” Those were my exact words. Third, I want to blame Robert Hanson P.D.A. Southern Nevada Public Relations, for putting up with my histrionics, because frankly, he had no choice. There is a reason he’s in Public Relations and last, but certainly not least, I want to blame Harriet Schutsch, Nevada State Director of UniteWomen.org. for jumping right in with her whole heart, for us all to see this event, become a reality. Credit where credit is due and all. This has been a labor of love for all of us. We want to see equality for every walk of life. This event is dedicated to the people who came before us, and to the people who stand with us now. UniteWomen.org and Progressive Democrats of America, bring you #Rally4Rights.

Now a little back story;

In 1920, women finally got the right to vote, but not before they were jailed, beaten, and even declared insane, for picketing the White House and carrying signs asking for the vote.

In 1965 the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Connecticut’s ban on contraceptives for married women. In 1972 it struck down Massachusetts’ ban on contraception for unmarried women. In 1970, Congress passed Title X of the Public Health Care Service Act, making grants available to agencies to provide comprehensive family planning and health care services. In 1973, the Court established a woman’s right to a safe and legal abortion. In 1994 Congress enacted the Violence Against Women Act and reauthorized it again in 2000 and in 2005. Congress had refused to reauthorize this Act because it has been broadened to extend to immigrant women and LGBTQ. In 2003, Congress passed a bill in response to women having been raped by U.S. contractors in Iraq. In 2011 a bill was introduced in the House to amend Title X, to prohibit family planning grants from being awarded to any entity that also performed abortions. Congress outlawed “partial birth” abortion in 2003. In 2012, the Senate attempted to amend the Affordable Health Care Act to allow any employer who has religious or concientious objections, to prevent birth control or any other medical procedure from being offered through health insurance policies. Seven states have fully defunded or attempted to defund Planned Parenthood. In 2011 and in 2012, 8 states have passed laws mandating medically unnecessary vaginal ultrasounds for women seeking an abortion. Then on December 21, 2009, President Obama signed Senator Al Franken’s anti-rape amendment into law. Just one small step, in the right direction.

Our Foremothers, Lucy Burns, Dora Lewis, Alice Paul, Pauline Adams, Edith Ainge, Berthe Arnold and Helena Weed, gave us the tools we have today, to stand up for ourselves and make our own choices. Today we have the voice to demand that our Elected Representatives, ratify the Equal Rights Amendment and bring equality to all. Women need 38 states to make this the 28th amendment to the United States Constitution. We have 35 states now and we only need 3 more. The 15 states whose legislatures have not ratified the Equal Rights Amendment are as follows: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, and Virginia. We only have to convince 3 states, only 3, out of the 15 states that I just listed, that have not yet ratified, the Equal Rights Amendment. Now let me bring to light, another battle for equality.

In March of 1970 Howard Efland, a gay man, checked into the Dover Hotel, was beaten to death, by officers of the Los Angeles Police Department. January of 1979 Tennessee Williams, was the victim of an assault in Key West, beaten by five teenage boys. In 1990 James Zappalorti, a gay Vietnam veteran, was stabbed to death. On October 7 of 1998 Matthew Shepard, was tortured, beaten, tied to a fence, and abandoned. May 11 of 2003 Sakia Gunn, a 15-year-old black lesbian, was murdered while waiting for a bus, after declaring herself to be a lesbian. Ebony Whitaker, an African American, trans woman, was shot and killed on July first of 2008. These are just some of the people, who have paid a huge price, for truly believing, that love knows no gender.

Same sex marriage is now legal in California, Delaware, Maine, Maryland and Washington D.C. Same sex marriage bans were struck down by Utah, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Virginia, Texas and Michigan, but sadly, were stayed in anticipation of appeals from the United States Court of Appeals.

America in essence, was based upon, freedom of choice. To live, to learn, to love, whomever we choose, equally throughout humanity, without fear of persecution. It is with awe, that I pay homage to Kimball Allen born in 1982 a writer, playwright, performer and author of “Secrets of a Gay Mormon Felon”. Chaz Bono, transgender son, of Sonny and Cher Bono, born in 1969. Stephen Donaldson born in 1946, early bisexual-identified, LGBTQ rights activist, founder of the first American gay students’ organization and the first person to fight a discharge from the U.S. military for homosexuality. Frank Kameny born in 1925, provided the push in 1972–1973 for the American Psychological Association, to remove homosexuality from its list of mental disorders, in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. Harvey Milk born in 1930, was the first openly gay person to be elected to public office, in California, where he won a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Chely Wright, born in 1970, the first openly lesbian, country music singer. Focusing on serving as a role model and mentor for children and teens, in order to prevent gay suicides in children. Last year, Jason Collins became the first openly gay, professional basketball player, and just last week, Michael Sam became the first openly gay, professional football player.This list goes on to include all the LGBTQ members of the world, who fight on a daily basis, for simple equality. We salute you and support you, in all your efforts to bring equality to everyone.

Foremost and above all else, we are human beings, we deserve the right to choose for ourselves. We deserve the right to be heard, regardless of gender, race, religion, or orientation. We are the spirits that truly believe, not only that love knows no boundaries, but that we are all entitled to equality.


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