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Full equality and civil rights sought by GLBT

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As our country recently celebrated its Independence Day, I would like to point out that we still have huge strides to make in providing equal rights, opportunities and protection under the law. I am extremely patriotic and believe in "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" for all. Since our country was established, it continues to make steps in allowing these inalienable rights to all. For years, women had experienced oppression. The African-American community has long felt it, too.

Our local native American tribes also fell victim to harsh oppression. Many argue these groups to still be oppressed today. Our country has taken big steps in providing equality to all. But there is still another minority group that must take the back seat when it comes to equality: the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Community.

The GLBT Community has been the victim of extreme oppression in our country's history. Just as we, as a nation, have come to realize our error in discrimination against other minorities, we must again recognize our error toward the GLBT Community. Rights, such as marriage and healthcare decisions, are denied to committed, loving couples. While we celebrate the independence of our country, please remember that not all citizens of this great nation are equal. I encourage us all to stand together as one against oppression.

I am the president of the Itasca GLBTA Alliance. As our mission statement declares: we are an association of allied people working to promote within our communities full equality, civil rights and justice for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people and their allies. The purpose of the Alliance is to organize the GLBTA Community of north central Minnesota to promote the mission statement, educate our communities on issues facing GLBTA people and their families, and provide safe social outlets for GLBTA people in our communities.

Andy Mundt

President

Itasca GLBTA Alliance

Grand Rapids

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