There are many anti-LGBT bills before state legislatures around the country. This, at a time when many of us are feeling good about marriage equality. So many states legalizing same-sex marriages and the Supreme Court taking up the case! How great is that. However, I have been feeling anxious about it all. It seems to me many forces are at work against equality.
So when I saw Michelangelo Signorile on CNN the other day, he confirmed my worst fears. He talked about the bill passed in Indiana recently allowing businesses to use religion to discriminate against LGBT people. Also, he said he went to a conservative conference at which speakers proposed finding ways to legislate against gay people marrying by using religion. They boasted that they had found ways to limit abortion by similar means.
Like women’s rights, and African-American rights, some legislatures are going to try to find a way to legislate against gay rights. We have to speak and fight against this. Thankfully in Indiana big corporations made their views known. What about the rest of us who do not have multimillion-dollar companies behind us?
Of course through the courts. But on a personal level we have to make clear why this is wrong. I still don’t understand why people feel the need to prevent others who are in love from being together or having political rights or parenting children. But of course I don’t understand why people insist on politicizing a woman’s body. Or why legislatures in some states want to prevent African-Americans from voting.
In addition it seems like fair-minded folks might be able to have a conversation about these issues without resorting to name-calling. I went to look at Signorile’s home page to get information on his new book, It’s Not Over, and saw comments that were patently anti-gay, and disrespectful. I know the Internet grants anonymity and so people behave badly, but do they have to? I have to admit I have said nasty things about Republicans in the privacy of my home. But I would not do that in public. (Well except maybe here.) And the Internet is a public venue. Plus these folks were attacking another human being without the courage to put names next to comments. Very poor behavior!! Internet trolls seem to be part of this new age of instant talk without the filters of good sense. But those old-fashioned manners have a lot to say for them.
Not long ago I spoke to a member of our church who has a gay son. She has not shared this with even her closest friends. This made me angry as well as sad. I feel she was being unfair to both her son and her friends. I believe all of us who are in gay families have a duty to speak about them to others. To let others know that when you criticize or, even worse, legislate against gay people you are offending someone’s mother, father, child, brother, or sister. It’s important to put a human face on discrimination and call if for what it is. In my experience most people will respond to a personal story. So to keep that part of one’s life hidden contributes to homophobia. Also, because her son must feel some lack of acceptance by his mother, this makes me sad, very sad.
Well what do you think? What about our dear readers? A recent message from the Human Rights Campaign said there are almost 85 pieces of anti-gay legislation moving through state legislatures around the country. It’s not over, no matter how much we might wish this were so.