Saturday, February 15, 2014

"Friends of Dorothy" Not Welcome in Kansas

An interesting bill just passed the Kansas House of Representatives. And by "interesting" I mean shocking and rather repulsive.

This bill allows anyone to refuse to provide “services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, or privileges; counseling, adoption, foster care and other social services; or provide employment or employment benefits” to anyone suspected of being complicit in celebrating or enabling the commitment of any kind of a gay couple.

 Read that and think about it for a minute. This is 2014 and elected officials are trying to pass a Jim Crow law for gay people. Can you fire someone for being gay? Yes. Can you deny someone a seat in a restaurant? Sure. And what about that "complicit in celebrating" clause? Can you fire straight people who attend a gay wedding? Yep, according to the language of the bill. Will the bakery who makes a cake for said wedding suddenly not be able to get its garbage collected? Perhaps.

This bill isn't even a law yet. Maybe the Kansas state senate is an institution of enlightened individuals who don't want to be on the wrong side of history. Yeah, so this is probably going to be a law soon.

 I'm not sitting in my glass shanty hut here in Kentucky casting stones at Kansas, by the way. We have a state constitutional amendment, voted on by the citizens of the Commonwealth in 2004, that prohibits gay marriage. I wasn't living here in 2004, but I was living in Nevada, where that same year they passed the "Sanctity of Marriage Act." In Las Vegas, a guy dressed as Elvis will marry two drunk strangers for 75 bucks. But those drunk strangers better be one male and one female, or the whole thing is just a farce! And have you seen Vegas' biggest entertainment draw, Cirque du Solei? I don't think it's a controversial statement to say there's some capital "G" Gay in Cirque du Solei. Please entertain us, but take your committed relationships back to Europe, thank you very much.

This outrageous Kansas bill aside, the tide is turning. Even in Kentucky, 55% of residents oppose gay marriage, compared to 74% ten years ago. Keep in mind this is Kentucky, where 60% think President Obama was born in a Shiite mosque. However, and I can't state this emphatically enough, IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT PERCENTAGE OF PEOPLE ARE FOR BASIC CIVIL RIGHTS!!! You can't vote for civil rights. Civil rights are not a referendum on a library tax or an election to see who gets to be state comptroller. How would an integration vote have gone in Birmingham in 1964? They call them "rights" for a reason.

And let's be clear, the issue of gay marriage is a civil rights issue. It isn't cultural warfare, or someone pushing an agenda on the rest of us. It's the right of tax paying, law abiding U.S. citizens, consenting adults, to get married. Some will say, "My religion doesn't approve of gay marriage." Well then, that changes everything. Should we start stoning women who show their faces in public? Because someone's religion doesn't approve of that, either. Some others will say, "I find homosexuality offensive." I find Kanye West and Kim Kardashian offensive, but they're married, aren't they? "Oh, you want the legal right to be with your lifelong partner on his/her deathbed? Sorry, I find your lifestyle distasteful, SO GO GRIEVE SOMEWHERE ELSE WHILE YOUR LOVED ONE DIES ALONE." Perfectly understandable.

Why is every single social advance in this country such a god damn struggle?

1 comment:

  1. Because it's easier not to fight. That takes courage and resolve and patience and all of those things suck. I cannot believe there's even a question. Marriage isn't sacred, and even if it were, that sanctity is between the partners - it's no one else's damn business.

    Fear not, on the Kansas house bill - regardless of the reason, I don't think the Senate will let it pass. I've been following it very closely, and to my great surprise, they're balking. I'm as shocked as anyone.