Florida returns to sanity (maybe?)

27 11 2008

For 30 years, Florida has had a law bringing discrimation against gays far beyond the issue of marriage. It’s been struck down, for now. Whether it will stay dead is another question entirely, unfortunately.

This sort of law is far worse even than the discrimation with regard to marriage, in some ways. For one thing, this sort of law asserts that not only are gays not equal, but that they can and will damage any children they can lay their hands on. For another, it denies a safe home to countless children. And even beyond that, this is not a fight over a word (whatever the word’s importance). This is an attack on gays, not just on their rights.

This sort of law says to gays, “you are dangerous. You cannot be trusted with children, because you will damage them. They are not safe with you.” The rationalization is that kids “need a mom and a dad” but that’s bullshit. Would the people who support this law also rip children away from single mothers/fathers? After all, they aren’t providing both “mommy” and “daddy.” No, of course not, because that would be beyond even the stupidity so rampant in this nation’s politics and policies. Well, why is it any different unless gays are dangerous? Oh, that’s right, it isn’t. It’s pure bigotry and hatred at work in these sorts of laws. Gays are not going to hurt these children any more than anyone else is. They’re ordinary people who just happen to be different in a way that isn’t allowed rather than one that is.

Even leaving aside the hatred behind such laws, what is this actually doing to children is depriving them of homes. These are people willing to take in children who need a home, and those children are denied that home. Gays aren’t dangerous, so all that this law achieves is to hurt the children that those behind it claim to seek to help. They need somewhere to live, and that is taken from them. Why? Because the people making laws in America are all too often elected by a constituency driven by ignorance and fearmongering.

These laws do not just attack gays’ rights. Even that is appalling enough, but this says to them that they are not even a person. If we allow laws like these to stand uncontested, we are telling them that in our eyes, they are not fit to care for a child. This says that not only are they not equal to us, but there is no way that they ever could be. That is not simply an attack on basic freedoms, nor even an attack on fairness and justice. That is an attack on their very humanity.

I understand that many Christians agree with me, but for goodness’ sake, why do you not speak out more? People claim that their religion tells them that homosexuality is evil. Surely this is a different religion entirely from yours, whatever name it claims to bear, and whatever text it claims to read? Surely this is some other religion trying to take its name from yours? Why do you not denounce this as having no place in your religion? Or if you do, why do not others? Why, when we think of Christianity, do we not think of the moderate and liberal wings? And what will you do to change that?