We’re in the midst of Gay Pride Month, and we have much to celebrate and much yet to achieve.

In May 2008, California became only the second state following Massachusetts to allow same-sex marriage. Currently, 26 states have constitutional amendments stating that marriage can only be between a man and a woman. And 43 states have statutes restricting marriage to two people of the opposite sex.

When I consider this issue, I think of Mildred Loving, the black woman who had to leave her home state of Virginia to get married to a white man. To avoid a jail term after their return and arrest, they were forced to leave the state again.

Before 1964, 17 states prohibited men and women of different races from marrying.

But the Lovings kept fighting — all the way to the Supreme Court.

And on June 12, 1967, the court ruled in their favor and outlawed miscegenation laws. The court said they had a fundamental equal protection right to marry across race.

Mildred Loving, who died this May 2, simply wanted to be able to marry the person she loved.

That’s all that gays and lesbians want, too.

Fortunately same-sex couples are no longer arrested for being together. But the fundamental right to marry eludes us in 48 states,

The prohibitions against marriage based on race and same sex are the same core civil-rights issues. It is a fundamental equal protection right.

May California and Massachusetts lead the way.

Happy Gay Pride Month.

Akilah Monifa is a lesbian of African descent and a freelance writer based in Oakland, Calif., where she lives with her partner and their two children. She writes about how race and sexual orientation intersect with politics, entertainment, and pop culture. She can be reached at pmproj@progressive.org.

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Forty years ago the UN General Assembly passed a resolution against "hostile environmental modification techniques...

The beauty and the tragedy of everyday life in a war zone.

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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