Supreme Court Decisions on Voting Rights & Gay Marriage

Speech by Cathy Cade, Oakland Unitarian Church Steps, June 26, 2013

Cathy Cade

Cathy Cade

Yesterday the US Supreme Court struck down portions of the civil rights voting act, the state of Texas tried to reduce access to abortion. Today the Supreme Court struck down Proposition 8 prohibiting LGBT marriage and the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

I’ve recently been having opportunities to speak to students and teachers about the Southern Freedom Movement of the 1960s, the Women’s Liberation Movement and Lesbian Feminism of the 1970s and how they have been connected. I’ve also recently been reminded of our Women’s Liberation understanding that  “The Personal is Political”.

So I want you to know that I stand here today as a born and bred Unitarian, a white child who as a pre-teen learned about the support of the Montgomery Bus boycott in Alabama and the public stands against the killing of Emmet Till in Mississippi – through and by my Chicago Unitarian Church.

I stand here today as the young adult who worked on voter registration in Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi, who next summer will go back to Miscopy for a 50th reunion of those efforts where the black community, white allies, and other people of color who have just elected a very progressive black mayor of Jackson.

I stand here today the daughter whose mother – on every committee in her Unitarian Church and the first woman head of the board of trustees – had to find an illegal abortion for me in rural Arkansas.

Yesterday the Supreme Count denied sections of the voting rights act of 1965 that have been protecting the voting rights of African Americans and other people of color.

Yesterday a woman senator [Wendy Davis] in the state of Texas – an achievement in itself – stood for 13 hours to filibuster a bill that would severely reduce access to abortion. She was supported by almost 800 protestors. Together, Wendy and her supporters brought country-wide attentions to the issue and prevented the bill from passing.  I stand here as a 71-year-old elder wondering if she really went 13 hours without peeing and how.

Today the US Supreme Court struck down California’s Proposition 8 – and “DOMA is Dead.”

We get to celebrate  [I celebrate with my niece, her partner and child].

We also get to fight for voting rights for all, remembering that the lessons and the people of the Southern Freedom Movement were an important part of building the Women’s and LGBT Movements.  Remembering that our sisters and LGBT people are also People of Color who may be denied their voting rights.  Remembering that None of Us are Free Until All of Us Are Free.

We get to fight for reproductive choice and for health services for all —including access to donor insemination for all.

Beyond gay marriage we get to continue the fight for LGBT rights at the work place, for adoption, for immigration.

And, as we say at this church, thanks to Laila,



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