Wanna Get Out of Jury Duty? Just Say You’re Gay!

2 Mar

Over the years, we’ve thought of hundreds of ways of protesting the system which allows LGBT individuals to be second-class citizens. We’ve thought of protesting by not paying taxes – which could land you in jail. We’ve chained ourselves to the marriage bureaus – which just winds up with cut chains and a night in jail, maybe a few photos on a gay blog or two. We’ve even tried “Day Without a Gay” where LGBT people took the day off of work to show just how numerous we are – but in an economy like this one, we all need a paycheck, gay and straight alike.

Jonathan D. Lovitz (photo from Jonathan's facebook page)

Then yesterday, in a rather simple statement and wonderful declaration of his second-class citizenship, New York musical theatre actor and model, Jonathan D. Lovitz challenged one of his civic duties.

Jonathan posted on his facebook page about his experience while being considered for jury duty:

“had an intense day at jury duty. During voir dire we were asked who would not be impartial. I raised my hand and said “since I can’t get married or adopt a child in the state of New York, I can’t possibly be an impartial judge of a citizen when I am considered a second class one in the eyes of this justice system.” You wouldn’t believe how people in the room reacted. Was I wrong for saying that?”

Jonathan was excused from jury duty as the moment you say you cannot be impartial, you will undoubtedly be excused. So Jonathan not only got to stand up for himself as a self-respecting gay man, but he also got out of jury duty for the next few years! I highly recommend this same action for any LGBT individual that gets called in for service. If you want to take the chance and take part in a little civil disobedience, I’d even recommend sending in a letter along with your summons explaining your position – although this may be an arrest-risk. Your best bet is to show up and do the same thing Jonathan did.

Jonathan will soon be appearing on the Logo reality series “Set-up Squad.”

3 Responses to “Wanna Get Out of Jury Duty? Just Say You’re Gay!”

  1. Linda March 2, 2011 at 8:02 pm #

    OMG, NO NO NO! Members of disenfranchised groups NEED TO SERVE ON JURIES! If you or a member of your community ever has to be on trial, please let it actually be by a jury of your peers, not by a jury of wealthy retired people! Young people, people of color, LGBT people, please please don’t try to get out of jury duty!

    • Jamie McGonnigal March 2, 2011 at 8:22 pm #

      The same argument could be made for almost any other form of protest we could make. We’ve threatened to withhold our votes, but that means a less-progressive, possibly anti-gay candidate gets elected. We stay home from work as a form of protest – that only leads to us losing money. Most any other protest that actually gets notice is an arrestable offense. Yes, we are needed to serve on juries to make sure the disenfranchised get juries of their peers – but that’s also assuming that all LGBT people consider themselves disenfranchised and somehow sympathetic to other minorities. I think this is a great way to protest that won’t get you arrested and will get other people talking about equality in a productive way.

  2. paulhogarth March 3, 2011 at 1:19 am #

    I don’t have a very strong opinion on this issue, besides HOT DAMN!!!!! is he gorgeous …

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