DOMA and Voting Rights Don't Compare

The immediate reaction following last week's decisions ignored the history of blacks and gays.

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NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund lawyer Natasha Korgaonkar lays out some ways to draw relationships between the issues the court decided. "The marriage decisions are a very significant and important victory for equal protection. What these cases and issues share is that they're about equality, equality for everyone, regardless of who you are. That's a relationship I see between the two issues."

She continues, "People need to have an unencumbered right to vote in all states -- not only because the right to vote is enshrined in our constitution but because it's through that right we can make significant gains on all issues, including marriage equality." Korgaonkar calls on Congress to take action, as it did when it reauthorized the Voting Rights Act in 2006 under President George W. Bush. But it's far from a sure thing that this riven Congress will pass a bipartisan voting-rights measure amid the sequester and general legislative gridlock. 

In other words, the final act of the drama of American equality has yet to be written. With immigration, gender, sexual orientation and race all in play -- on the streets and in the courts -- it's hard but critical work to put the pieces of the political puzzle together. So, returning to the question of the day, is gay the new black? The best answer seems to be: That's apples and steak, isn't it?

Farai Chideya is a distinguished writer in residence at New York University's Arthur L. Carter Institute for Journalism. A contributing editor at The Root, she is  the author of four books and blogs at farai.com.

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