Saturday, June 27, 2015

Rainbows, Reveling and Resistance

The Supreme Court has spoken, and it’s just “marriage” now. Celebrate! Parades and flowers! The law is beginning to treat us equally. Beginning. But lest anyone think that the battle for LGBT equality is anywhere near complete, think again. Among those who fear sexual preferences and marital practices that offend their beliefs also anger their view of God, that global warming and natural disasters are really retribution from God for our seeming immoral practices, the war against LGBT is just beginning.
There are more people who are LGBT in the United States than there are Jews or a host of other minority religions. According to the National Health Interview Survey, in the U.S., “1.8 percent of men self-identify as gay and 0.4 percent as bisexual, and 1.5 percent of women self-identify as lesbian and 0.9 percent as bisexual.” Those numbers come only from those willing to admit their status, still a risk in an overly-judgmental world. And how too many people all over the planet hate the notion of LGBT at any level!
It’s not just about anti-gay statutes in Russia or Uganda, it’s still a big issue here in the good old USA. The Supreme Court itself noted that social struggles among those virulently opposed not just to same-sex marriage but what they perceive as deviant behavior that demand legal limitations continues. The SCOTUSblog notes: “Much of the ongoing debate will focus on claims that same-sex marriage will intrude on the religious rights of those whose faith tells them that the institution should be open only for opposite-sex couples. A number of legislatures already had begun anticipating [these] rulings, passing measures to give businesses and others a legal right not to accommodate same-sex couples.
The overwhelming accumulation of opposition to anything LGBT comes from fundamentalist Christians sitting in judgment of others, casting the first stones and learning to abhor their neighbors. While they aren’t remotely as extreme as ISIS that will execute a LGBT human being on the spot, they would purge what they perceive as a “scourge” on society, people to be suppressed, erased and condemned. They say it’s about protecting our children and adhering to their strict view of the Bible – even the Pope is more open-minded – but the statistics do not support their fears.
While there are Christian militia fomenting domestic terrorism, try and picture a gay militia or a LGBT gang extorting a neighborhood. See my June 26th blog: Racism is Bad; Racism with Guns We Let Them Have… Unforgivable. With an estimated $2.6 billion added to our economy every year by our LGBT fellow citizens, you’d think the business world would be pleased to accept that segment of America purely on a greed-basis alone. But feelings run deep, and there are politicians who owe their tenure in office to opposing anything LGBT. Watch those un-Christian legislatures in purportedly Christian-values states move! But it’s not just such legislatures that define governmental attempts to crush anything LGBT.
“Within hours of the Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage, an array of conservatives including the governors of Texas and Louisiana and religious groups called for stronger legal protections for those who want to avoid any involvement in same-sex marriage, like catering a gay wedding or providing school housing to gay couples, based on religious beliefs.
“They demanded establishing clear religious exemptions from discrimination laws, tax penalties or other government regulations for individuals, businesses and religious-affiliated institutions wishing to avoid endorsing such marriages.
“‘Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas, a Republican, issued a directive to state agencies saying that employees should not be penalized for refusing to act in violation of their beliefs. ‘No Texan is required by the Supreme Court’s decision to act contrary to his or her religious beliefs regarding marriage,’ he said in a statement.
“Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, a Republican candidate for president, warned that the court decision ‘will pave the way for an all-out assault against the religious freedom rights of Christians who disagree.’” New York Times, June 26th. Oy! It such a lovely thought of marginalizing a sizeable group of Americans. Not to mention that existing laws already have plenty of remaining traps for our LGBT brothers and sisters.
The ruling also doesn’t explicitly protect gay and lesbian employees who can still be fired for their sexuality in 29 states. Those who are transgender aren’t protected in 32 states. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act has languished in Congress for more than 20 years, most recently when House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) stalled it because he felt it would be ‘the basis for frivolous lawsuits.’ Earlier this year, Republican Governor Sam Brownback of Kansas issued an executive order that removed discrimination protections for state employees.”, June 27th.
Expect a whole lot more judicial action, justified litigation that would make Speaker Boehner’s fears of “frivolous lawsuits” pale in comparison. Equality needs protection. Discriminate against anyone by reason of status or choices that literally do not impact the daily lives of others and you can discriminate against almost anyone for something that annoys you. Your freedom is also my freedom. It is by no means a battle that has been entirely won or a present status that is now fully acceptable. We’ve extended marital benefits to same sex-marriages across the land. Now let’s get to work to spread true equality to everyone everywhere.
I’m Peter Dekom, and status equality is precious and requires each and every one of us to care about it for all.

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