July 8, 2016 – No one ever says they are against human rights. However, many people are perfectly willing to deny basic rights to classes of people with whom they differ. The LGBT community suffers that indignity on a daily basis.
If we truly believe that we are “all created equal,” why is it so hard for our society to treat people equally? Isn’t that also a fundamental tenet of our Constitution?
The Constitution begins with the words “We the People.” It doesn’t say, “We the People except for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals.” Why is that so difficult for some people to understand?
Apparently, the concept of equality is so difficult for Republican members of the Florida legislature that they felt compelled to draft and pass a bill that has become known as the Pastor Protection Act. By the way, these are the same Republicans who will argue for less government intervention into our lives but who do not see the irony of legislative action that unilaterally impacts the LGBT community.
The Pastor Protection Act supposedly shields religious leaders from being forced to perform same-sex weddings. I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that the First Amendment already provides this protection. However, it has become fashionable for traditional politicians to try to craft exploitable biases into laws in order to curry favor among their most influential constituents which, in this case, are the more homophobic members of the Republican Party.
This legislation is meant to separate the LGBT community from the rest of society and, disgustingly, to attract donations and votes along the way. In actuality, it is little more than a thinly veiled attempt to surreptitiously attack the basic human rights of people who have done nothing wrong.
Perhaps even more troubling is that it serves as the political equivalent of a gateway drug in that there is an inherent temptation to expand its application. We have seen this in states like Georgia that applied the same theory to deny goods and services to the LGBT community. We cannot, and will not allow that to happen in Florida.
The political divide that is being created between the hyper-conservative and LGBT communities fosters the same mentality that recently struck at the soul of the city of Orlando; the city in which I live. The senseless murder of dozens of individuals at the Pulse was driven by an act of an unstable individual who could not cope with people who were different than him; a shooter who thought it was okay to kill members of the LGBT community because they did not conform to his beliefs.
Have Republicans begun drafting legislation that will create more effective gun control? No. Instead, they have railed about the religious overtones associated with the murders because it’s not a religion with which they are comfortable. While they like to say, “Guns don’t kill people; people do,” you’ll never hear them utter, “Religions don’t kill people; people do”… at least not when Islam is involved. Again, they miss the irony.
It’s time we begin addressing the real problems of our society rather than wasting time singling out vulnerable groups and stripping away their human rights. It’s time we recognize that “We the People” doesn’t have any exceptions.
Rod McKuen once wrote, “It doesn’t matter who you love, or how you love, but that you love.” From my perspective, we should keep that in mind when we craft laws that address sexual orientation, sexual identification and same sex marriage.
Those are my thoughts. What are yours?
(Please feel free to express you opinion below. My only request is that you do so rationally rather than emotionally and in a civil manner that respects the rights of others to disagree.)