András Simonyi

Original Source

I can’t hide the amazement I continue to have with New York. It prompts people to do inspired things. Fully in line with the crazy mess of New York, where I am currently visiting, I write this, this first blog of mine using a dictate-to-writing app about the amazing victory of the LGBT community last week, while walking to meet a friend, Bobby Saferstein on Union Square. New York has everything that is the best of America: it is inspiring, it is cutting-edge, it is modern, oriented towards the future, and demanding. It embraces equality and it is above all accepting. So it is only proper that I write this post from here.

Some thoughts pass through my head, randomly, as I walk on Park Avenue.

Last week’s Supreme Court decision handed a huge victory to the America, with a significance that extends way beyond the LGBT community. It has reverberated across all continents. We witnessed amazing positive responses from China to Central Asia, from Africa, Latin America and Europe and indeed, in the United States. It is time to celebrate, but perhaps a week later we are back to work. For all of us who believe that LGBT rights are the cutting edge of human rights, the challenges ahead of us are clear. We must use the platform of this historic success in the U.S. to make advances globally for the cause of equality for all.

Last week I heard voices of joy, but also some of concern and indeed, some loud outcries of outright opposition.

I have heard friends from the gay community suggesting that in spite of this victory they still stand alone in the fight for global equality. That’s okay, even though I believe they are less lonely by the day. Allies of the LGBT community must not be offended by comments like this. We must be understanding and patient; we are not seeking acknowledgement or reward and will continue our support, no matter what.

The global LGBT community needs allies. I have expressed many times my view that the fight for LGBT rights is not unlike the fight against anti-Semitism. Jews alone would not be able to eradicate anti-Semitism.  LGBT people on their own will not be able to eradicate discrimination, persecution on their own. You did not have LGBT judges on the Supreme Court making the right decision.

Some interesting news of the last couple of days: I have seen strong and unreserved support for the decision from many Republican friends, straight and gay. This suggests that it would be silly to suggest that this is a political victory of democrats versus republicans. It would be missing the point that LGBT rights are simply human rights. You can’t believe in human rights and randomly choose among many elements. According to the latest polls, 61% of young American Republicans support gay marriage and are now in their peer group part of the majority.

LGBT rights should not be an election campaign issue and there is a good chance it won’t be. It is good that the Supreme Court has made its decision way before the next election campaign is full blown. This is about the future; this is about modernism fighting the forces of the past. If the United States wishes to be the leader of the free world, then the president of the United States, Republican or Democrat, needs to embrace LGBT rights and human rights fully, without qualifications. It is good to see that a good number of Republican presidential candidates have already declared their full acceptance of the decision.

We must continue to explain the importance of strategic thinking, the geopolitical approach to LGBT rights. There are clear challenges ahead. One of the “dangers” is that the SCOTUS decision will be picked up by our adversaries, the opponents of our liberal and democratic values, as yet another sign of the “weakness of the West”. We need to push back hard on that. Russia will surely make an effort to portray the victory of the LGBT community as a decadent American thing. Mr.Putin will see the ultra conservatives’ opposition to the decision as an opportunity to strengthen his unholy alliance with anti-gay groups in the United States and his anti-American drive elsewhere. He is, I guess, anti-American first and anti-gay only thereafter.

I am inclined to think that the decision has geopolitical implications long term. On a daily basis, I worry about the Transatlantic relationship. The SCOTUS decision has, perhaps unintentionally, handed a huge support to those who believe in the great relationship between the USA and Europe.

Happy Fourth of July to all our American friends.

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