Saturday, February 22, 2014

Are we going to achieve equality over somebody’s “dead body?”

Heston more humorous here
I realize there is an opposition in our society to all the various states that are trying to make conditions more equitable for those individuals who are gay, and that there are some people who even take a perverse sense of pride in being opposed.

I’m just waiting for someone to make some arrogant statement the equivalent of the late actor Charlton Heston waiving about a musket and saying, “From my cold, dead hands.”

BECAUSE THAT’S THE direction we seem to be headed.

At a time when Illinois is among the 17 states and District of Columbia (about one third of the nation) that have approved measures to let gay couples marry, other places just seem to want to be hostile.

Indiana’s Legislature recently gave its approval to a measure that could, in 2016, let the voters decide the issue of a ban on gay marriage into their state Constitution. It knocked out a few lines that would have made the referendum more hostile – which is supposedly the concession to society as a whole.

Although its intent remains the same – they want to mark themselves as being apart from the direction of the 21st Century. As though State Line Road wasn’t enough of a barricade – how long until the Hoosiers decide they want a “Berlin-like” wall erected?

I DON’T MEAN to pick on Indiana. Because they’re far from alone. In Arizona this week, both chambers of the state Legislature approved a measure saying that people can refuse their business services to gay people if they really believe that providing such services violates their religious beliefs.

Gov, Jan Brewer – who a few years ago was more than willing to back a flawed measure giving her local cops the authority to meddle in matters of immigration law – now has this issue in her hands.

What side would Indiana take today?
Her political allies are screeching that they’re looking out for the religious beliefs of people. Even though in this instance, what it really comes down to is that some people think their religious beliefs give them a right to single out other individuals for abuse.

Nobody forces anybody else into a gay marriage. How someone else’s marriage interferes with one’s own life is just absurd!

CONSIDERING THAT STATES ultimately are supposed to acknowledge marriages performed elsewhere in the nation, this idea of a split status within the United States just can’t work (unless we’re prepared to have the Second Civil War, which I suppose would amount to the ideologues contending it’s a matter of “state’s rights” to decide who can marry, against the cause of equality for all).

Now some might argue that somebody in Illinois with an interest in this issue ought not to get all worked up. After all, our state’s Legislature and Gov. Pat Quinn already acted – and even got the Catholic bishop of Springfield, Ill., to perform an exorcism, of sorts, in response.

But I couldn’t help but notice that poll commissioned by the Chicago Tribune – the one that says that in rural parts of the state, some 74 percent of those polled want the law repealed. Just like those who are continuing with increasingly absurd efforts to repeal health care reform in Congress.

The newspaper’s poll was of likely Republican voters – who weren’t exactly among the backers of the bill when it came before the Legislature last year. So this isn’t a shock.

IT ALSO ISN’T surprising that once you get into the Chicago-area, only 49 percent of Republican would-be voters want the matter repealed. Which is why there won't be much backlash to the Friday ruling in U.S. District Circuit Court to affect Cook County only that that says gay couples can marry immediately -- even though the state law says the change does not take effect until June 1.

Hasn't Arizona had enough?
It’s just more evidence of the depth of the urban-rural split that our society has devolved into – one that, at times, I don’t know how we can truly overcome.

This likely will turn out like much of the legal action taken a half-century ago as a result of the Civil Rights movement – the proper actions were put into law, but they also created a strong resentment amongst a segment of our society that has yet to completely wither away.


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