I have been saying that, while we can take great gay pride in the advances the LGBT community has made in this country towards becoming fully equal under the law, that sometimes we suffer great anti-gay setbacks.
I mean, we have seen everything from Don’t Serve The Gays, here in this country, to Kill The Gays in Uganda, Gays Are Criminals in India, and finally Stone The Gays in Brunei, depending on where the Sultan stands on stoning today.
And so I am not all that surprised at what’s happened in Louisiana this week when lawmakers rejected a measure that would have made it illegal to refuse to sell or lease property to same-sex couples in the state solely because they are gay.
Let’s say that more queerly; in Louisiana you can be denied housing because you’re gay; if a seller doesn’t like The Homosexuality, well, you don’t get the house; if a landlord has a case of The Homophobia, you don’t get the house.
And there ain’t a damn thing you can do about it.
And sadly, three Democrats — Gene Reynolds, Katrina Jackson, and Stephen Ortego —joined nine Republicans on the House Commerce Committee in rejecting the measure though not one of the cowards would say why they did so. The committee had previously rejected a similar proposal that sought to protect gays from housing discrimination.
This new bill, by Representative Pat Smith, a Democrat, would have added sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran’s status, source of income, domestic abuse victim status and conviction record to the list of characteristics a property owner could not use to deny someone housing.
Opposition to the bill naturally came from one of those conservative wingnut groups — the Louisiana Family Forum — whose representative, Kathleen Benfield said characteristics like race and sex deserve protection, but not sexual orientation because some property owners are religiously opposed to homosexuality.
Look, Kathleen, you dumb f**k, discrimination is discrimination and if you want to discriminate against “anyone, anywhere any time, ever” — shout out to Claire Huxtable for that quote — then why not rid ourselves of every single anti-discrimination law? I mean, maybe I want to run a business where dumb f**ks like Kathleen Benfield and the Louisiana Family Forum should be denied service because, well, I don’t believe in you?
That sound okay, Kath?
Still, there was at least one voice of sanity in the discussion, and that was Democratic Representative Herbert Dixon who reminded folks that it wasn’t all that long ago that people used religion to justify racial discrimination, and that this was no better.
And when Benfield countered that using the Bible to condone racial discrimination was irrational, Dixon asked, “But this is rational?”
No, it’s not; it’s religious based fear and discrimination and, even though I am no Bible thumper, I know that the Bible doesn’t say anything about discrimination. It does say, Judge not lest ye be judged, so maybe we should all use our judgments to deny Kathleen Benfield, the Louisiana Family Forum, and those 12 asshats on the House Commerce Committee any rights.
Sounds good to me; I mean, what’s good for the bigot …
Sidenote; yet another bill seeking to protect gays from discrimination by adding sexual orientation and gender identity to a variety of anti-discrimination statutes across Louisiana law was pulled from consideration in a second House committee.
Like I said, every step forward requires a step back it seems, but the march will go on.