I always thought that we were a country of freedoms, where all men — and women — were equal. Oh sure, I’m no Pollyanna; I know that isn’t entirely true, everywhere, all of the time. But isn’t it a principal of our country? Isn’t it something we strive for? I mean, that’s where this push for marriage equality came from: the desire for The Gays to have the same rights and privileges as everyone else.
But what people don't seem to understand is that discrimination is a virus; it will spread from one group to the next. First, you’ll discriminate against The Gays because, well, we’re the new Black, but then, maybe, someone will start talking about refusing to serve Muslims, or those brown-skinned immigrants … people who don’t speak English. It’s a huge step backwards and completely the wrong direction. Maybe, even, some business owner will refuse to serve any religious person because their religion flies in direct opposition to the business owner's right to be atheist or agnostic.
Oh, I see Christian heads exploding already!
See, that backlash against The Gay is directly in proportion to the forward steps we've taken, with marriage equality; and I think we'll be seeing more push back, everywhere we look: discrimination is just fine and dandy, if it’s discrimination against The Gays and if you say it’s because of Jesus or, and this is rich, because its good business.
In Arkansas last week, Governor Asa Hutchinson allowed SB 202, the anti-anti-discrimination bill that seeks to prevent cities and counties from protecting the civil rights of its LGBT citizens, to become law by not signing it. Hutchinson said he had reservations about the bill, but allowed it to become law without his signature, hoping, I imagine, to play both sides of the fence and not get his own hands dirty.
Governor? Doing nothing in the fight against discrimination is the same as standing up for discrimination.
Still, one Arkansas town took a stand against discrimination, although it will prove useless when the new state law passes. Following a 6-2 vote by the town council, Conway, Arkansas, just voted to protect its LGBT citizens from blatant discrimination … for now. Once SB 202 goes into effect sometime in May, Conway will be forced to discriminate, or at least, allow discrimination.
Even in West Virginia, where lawmakers are ramming through a bill similar to that in Arkansas, which would ban local cities and towns from enacting or enforcing non-discrimination laws that do not already exist at the state level. And those lawmakers — Republicans, of course — are disguising their hate as a ‘commerce bill,’ just as Arkansas has done. Texas is also considering an exact copy of that legislation, with more states are expected to follow suit.
Let me make this queer: you are shooting yourself in the foot because businesses that seek to protect their LGBT employees will look elsewhere, and your economy will suffer. And maybe some folks will more out of the state and find a place where discrimination isn’t legal.
But it’s not just in Arkansas. In Indiana, the state Senate passed a so-called ‘religious freedom’ bill that could allow Indiana businesses to refuse service to newly married same-sex couples; of course, the bill passed the House with full Republican support because, and let’s not mince words, the GOP is an anti-LGBT political party — the bill is conservative backlash because of the legalization of same-sex marriage — and it now heads to the House of Representatives.
In Indiana, the GOP is saying that The Gays can get married, albeit begrudgingly, but they are then allowing businesses to refuse to serve those newly married gay couples as what? A punishment because we won a fight for equality?
Let me make this queer: Where does that end? I mean, once you allow discrimination against one group, won’t it become easier to allow discrimination against others? I mean it just seems — and this is an oddly appropriate word — fair that if one group can discriminate against another, why can’t we all just discriminate against anyone we want and face no repercussions.
Oh yeah … America. Where it’s just The Gays who don’t deserve equality. Especially the ones that dared fight for equality, the ones that fought for the right to marry the person they love.
And then in North Carolina, the State Senate just voted to allow discrimination at state marriage bureaus by protecting magistrates with ‘deeply-held religious beliefs’ from having to perform their duties by marrying same-sex couples. And the city council in Charlotte just voted to allow discrimination against LGBT North Carolinians because of religious opposition.
Let me make this queer about that: find me the spot in the Bible where there are any teachings about hate, about discrimination, about treating people badly because you believe it’s what God wants.
God, Jesus, Mohammed, Allah, Buddha. Whomever. They weren’t created to spread hate and intolerance. They aren’t worshipped for their dislike of anyone else. Using your religion to keep people separate, to keep people down, is not very Christ-like at all.
God is watching and I know she isn’t happy.
How did we get to this place? Well, the simple answer is we got here because the LGBT community had finally had it with being treated as less than; we were sick of being fired for being gay; we were tired of being denied housing because we are gay; we don’t like rules and laws that apply to everyone else, but not to us.
We grew tired of not only sitting at the back of the bus, but not being allowed on the bus at all, and rather than simply saying that who we love doesn’t affect you at all, you have decided to work harder keeping us down, use your faith in God as a weapon to keep us down; to lie about who we are, to keep us down.
It won’t work for long, because we’ve been held down far too long and we will not sit idly by and let this happen.