Legalizing Discrimination In Tennessee

gay bigotry

Why would our state government, riding high on another obvious ALEC bill, want to purposefully hurt gay people?

That is what is being proposed in a bill that the nation is talking about which has been coined  “Turn Away The Gays” bill. A bill that has no fiscal impact in this state and that is only designed to conquer and divide. A bill that is designed to hurt instead of help. A bill that seriously discriminates for the mere fact that it WANTS to discriminate.

Why would members of our house and senate want to legalize discrimination?

It’s hard to fathom. Last year it was the “Don’t Say Gay” bill? This year, we have a bill that would be gateway legislation on a curving path to more bigotry.

I direct you to David Cook’s excellent column from today that pretty much says it all.

“If this gets passed, it would legalize discrimination,” said Cooper. “I don’t know why people feel the need to discriminate against people who are not like them.”

Humanity is not monochromatic; our struggle is not against a Paint-By-Numbers Creator, who only makes plain Jane stuff, nor with a natural world that only operates with some single vision: just brown butterflies, only flat deserts, nothing but white people.

Life is magnificently different, and our struggle is to realize those who may not seem like us — the disabled or dyslexic, the dwarfs and giants, the transgendered and gay — belong just as fully at the American table as anyone else.

So if you’re out there, locked in your bedroom, searching the papers or Internet for some wisp of acceptance and community, then I hope you read this column, especially this last line.

Thank you. For pushing us towards a wider America, for reminding us that difference is beauty and beauty is truth, for the bravery of being yourself in a lonely world, thank … you.

Hatred isn’t pretty.

It’s an odd thing, the Tennessee GOP’s fascination with things that are really none of their business.

As Rep. Mike Turner said a couple of years ago:.

“They’re preoccupied with sex up here,” the House’s No. 2 Democrat told reporters at his party’s weekly availability. “They’re got a real thing with sex. We’re about ready to put the turbans on, I think, and put the women in burkas here if we keep going at this rate.”

The issue comes down to discriminating for the sake of discrimination. I will leave you with this:

Consider this: As Kansas was making news with its religious liberty bill, an older, white sportscaster with a Texas drawl became an Internet sensation with an impassioned editorial saying it shouldn’t matter if an NFL player is gay. And in the same week, a federal judge declared Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, a decision reached recently by judges in three other states.

The dominoes are falling in favor of LGBT rights and, in large part because of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last year to strike down a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act, judges are finding state bans on gay marriage legally untenable.

This is why we’re seeing actions like those of the Kansas legislators. Joining the chorus, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal gave a fiery speech to other conservatives last week, claiming same-sex marriage is part of a “silent war on religious liberty.”

But the religious liberty argument will be a tough sell.

A 2012 poll by the Public Religion Research Institute found that 56 percent of Americans don’t believe religious liberties are under attack. Among millennials, a whopping 73 percent said they don’t perceive any threat.

There’s a historical problem with that argument as well. Opponents of integration in the 1960s argued a violation of religious beliefs, claiming God didn’t want races mixing.

People remember that, and it makes the religious liberties argument against same-sex marriage reek of desperation.

Watching these policies is hard enough, but as a gay woman who has been in a healthy and loving relationship for the past 18 years, it just hurts.

For more information on the upcoming legislation, be sure to keep up-to-date with the Tennessee Equality Project.




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