This past weekend, the National Education Association (NEA) held a conference at which they passed a resolution supporting marriage equality and other forms of equality.
"Resolutions B-13 (Racism, Sexism, Sexual Orientation, and Gender Identification Discrimination) and I-13 (Civil Rights) set forth NEA's opposition to the discriminatory treatment of same-sex couples and its belief that such couples should have the same legal rights and benefits as similarly-situated heterosexual couples," Tips-Q reports.
The resolution states in regards to same-sex couples:
1. NEA will support its affiliates seeking to enact state legislation that guarantees to same-sex couples the right to enter into a legally recognized relationship pursuant to which they have the same rights and benefits as similarly-situated heterosexual couples, including, without limitation, rights and benefits with regard to medical decisions, taxes, inheritance, adoption, and immigration.NEA also voted to supported passage of a federal law prohibiting workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identification and expression.
2. NEA does not believe that a single term must be used to designate this legally recognized "equal treatment" relationship, and recommends that each state decide for itself whether "marriage," "civil union," "domestic partnership," or some other term is most appropriate based upon the cultural, social, and religious values of its citizenry.
3. NEA will support its affiliates in opposing state constitutional and/or statutory provisions that could have the effect of prohibiting the state and its political subdivisions from providing the same rights and benefits to same-sex couples as are provided to similarly-situated heterosexual couples.
4. NEA will take such actions as may be appropriate to support efforts to ( a ) repeal any federal legislation and/or regulations that discriminate against same-sex couples, and ( b ) enact federal legislation and/or regulations that treat same-sex couples and similarly-situated heterosexual couples equally with regard to social security, health care, taxation, and other federal rights and benefits.
5. NEA recognizes that the term "marriage" has religious connotations and that same-sex marriages may not be compatible with the beliefs, values, and/or practices of certain religions. Because of its support for the separation of church and state and the right to religious freedom guaranteed by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, NEA supports the right of religious institutions to refuse to perform or recognize same-sex marriages.
It should be interesting to see how LGBT opponents respond to this. And though I appreciate the support from the NEA and applaud their actions, I can't help but wonder what type of ammunition this will give to those who oppose us.
One of the major reasons Prop 8 passed here in California was the lie that the Yes on 8 campaign told in that children would be taught about same-sex marriage in schools, even worse, without any say from the parents. This was the turning point in the campaign which led to Prop 8 passing.
Do you think the NEA's resolution could backfire on us by giving more fodder for opponents to twist and lie about?
However, in the end, I truly don't care. The NEA took a brave stance, and without such vocal support from our allies, we can't make any strides towards full equality. If the NEA comes under attack, we'll be there for them.