Friday, March 12, 2010

Looking for a Silver Lining

Been some interesting goings on these last couple weeks on the equality front. The good news is that gay marriage has finally come to the nation's capital. In it's wake, we've seen those trying to deny equal treatment under the law take a couple different approaches.

In Virginia, the homophobic Attorney General, Kenneth Cuccinelli, tried the head-on attack, using his office to try to force the public colleges and universities of the state to allow discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. It turned out to be such a pr fiasco for the state that housed the capital of the Confederacy to be seen as endorsing discrimination that even the right-wing nut-job of a governor realized he needed to put the brakes on it and ordered an executive directive restricting (though not an executive order which would have the force of law) against Cuccinelli's opinion.

So, if the frontal assault on equality is unseemly, the next best way is blackmail. "You know, you can offer gay men and lesbians equal rights under the law if you want, but I'd hate to see anything happen to these cute little kittens here..." O.k., they aren't threatening kittens, just preschoolers. In Colorado, the Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic School kicked out a preschooler because the child's parents are lesbians. Yes, I'm sure the sacred heart of Jesus Christ would turn hateful towards a little kindergartener because of the plumbing her parents had. Nothing like punishing the innocent to send a message of love for all God's children.

And if punishing one child wasn't enough, let's threaten a whole bunch of needy people! Maybe that'll work better.

"The Catholic Archdiocese of Washington said Wednesday that it will be unable to continue the social service programs it runs for the District if the city doesn't change a proposed same-sex marriage law, a threat that could affect tens of thousands of people the church helps with adoption, homelessness and health care."
Yup, we'll let people go hungry and without shelter unless you change your mind about treating your brothers and sisters like human beings.

Of course, the Protestants can pull the same bigoted move as well. In Mississippi, school officials canceled prom this year because a lesbian couple were going to attend and destroy it for everyone by dancing and that is not something we can have at our proms.

Maybe I'm being Pollyanna here, but the fact that the direct approach doesn't work and that the forces of bigotry are having to threaten innocents seems like they have their backs up against a wall. Maybe this shift in approach represents a cultural shift forcing them to be devious and underhanded to protect their discriminatory ways. The hope is that like the Republicans shutting down the government in hopes of garnering sympathy, this too will backfire and the public will see injustice for what it is and call it out.