“From worried parents to policemen with built-in ‘Satan detectors’, underground comics have never lacked enemies. And for 30 years Neil Gaiman and his friends have fought back in the name of free speech”
In One Day, Bills Allowing Anti-LGBT Discrimination Fail In Four States
Legislation that would protect those who discriminate against LGBT people based on religious beliefs either failed or faced major setbacks in South Dakota, Kansas, Idaho, and Tennessee. LGBT advocates say the failures are an “important repudiation” of the latest anti-LGBT tactics. Update: The Arizona Senate, however, approved a similar bill Wednesday.
South Carolina Legislators Punish Colleges For Assigning LGBT Books
The South Carolina House of Representatives is moving to cut funding for a pair of public colleges as punishment after they assigned LGBT-oriented material to freshman students.
Gambian president: LGBT stands for “Leprosy, Gonorrhoea, Bacteria and Tuberculosis”
Gambia’s president, Yahya Jammeh, suggested yesterday that gays in his country need to exterminated like malaria causing mosquitoes.
Religious freedom used to chip away at LGBT rights
With court victories everywhere from Virginia to Utah, LGBT rights activists seem to be winning the fight over same-sex marriage. Yet even as same-sex couples celebrate hard-won victories, conservative activists in states all over the country are pushing back – sponsoring legislation that would allow businesses to discriminate against same sex couples.
19 LGBT Microaggressions You Hear On A Daily Basis
Inspired by this photography project about racial microaggressions, Kevin Nadal, associate professor of psychology at CUNY’s John Jay College, asked some of his friends to share the microaggressions they’ve experienced as members of the LGBT community.
SOCHI, Russia — Vladimir Luxuria, a transgender former member of the Italian Parliament, was detained by the Russian authorities Sunday after holding up a sign that read, “Gay Is OK,” at Olympic Park, the leader of an Italian gay-rights group said.
Source: NewYork Times
In the Untied States, marriage equality continues to be an issue of debate. With the rulings of the Supreme Court and the federal government recognizing same-sex marriages, the fight has moved to individual states.
Despite what is seen as sever setbacks to the anti-equality groups on the federal level, they see a chance for gains in individual states which will allow them circumvent those rulings with which they so strongly disagree. Several states have already passed laws for equality, some have passed them against and there is still a long way to go before this issue is settled.
There is a continuing stream of propaganda coming from pro religious right groups giving their reasoning for why states and communities should continue discriminatory practices with regards to who is and is not allowed to be protected by the laws and regulations as set forth under marital relationships.
There is just one small problem.
They have and continue to miss an important point. Marriage in the U.S. is as much a secular institution as it a religious one. Therein lies the heart of the debate we are currently seeing.
Despite what many of these groups would have you believe, America is not a Christian nation. Though it is the dominate religion practiced, the founding fathers saw fit to make provisions for keeping the government sectarian.
If marriage had remained a religious ceremony free from any recognition by the government, then these groups would be well within their rights to refuse to recognize any union which goes again their beliefs. However, once the government began to grant special consideration to couples who marry, it then moved beyond such simple considerations.
It becomes the responsibility of governments, state and federal, to apply these considerations to all unions which meet the requirements of a marriage equally regardless of religious affiliations.
This should have become clear when government officials were granted the power to join two people in marriage outside of a religious setting. Judges have the power to recognize marriages and make them legally binding. In such cases the institution of marriage has clearly moved from a religious rite to a sectarian institution as described in law.
It is this fact which must stand above those who have religious objections.
The law is intended to apply to everyone equally regardless of any other consideration. This fact is the basis of anti-discrimation legislation and mandates. Everyone is bound by the same restrictions and protections no matter what their race, ethnicity, religion, or social status. When it is decided to exclude one group, equality is lost and the letter and the intent of the law is rendered moot.
If today we say a law protects everyone except group A, then tomorrow it can be changed to group B, C, or all of them. All it requires is a rewording of who is to be excluded. This is not equality and in the end we all lose.
When this exclusion is based on a religious belief, it immediately violates the rights of everyone who does not follow the same belief system and is therefore unconstitutional. Government must remain neutral in regards to how it interacts with every citizen irregardless of the views and opinions of individual officials. This is equality.
It behooves us all to look beyond our immediate surroundings and situations and see the broader picture as it relates to every member of society not just today but into the future. If the religious right has its way and they are allowed to impose their views on everyone as regards this single issue, then what is to stop them from doing so in other issues with which they do not agree? It may be marriage today, but it may be who can receive aid tomorrow. Financial, housing, food… all of these things could be regulated based on which religion a person adheres to. If you don’t meet the requirements, then you can be turned away. Is this what they want for the country? Christianity may be the most vocal and reactionary religious group at the moment, but what happens if that should change? Think about what this would mean if another religion were to rise up and in so doing decide these same groups should now be excluded from benefiting from government recognition? The loss of tax exemptions, loss of freedom of religion, of speech. It is not impossible being a Christian could become illegal, much as these same groups have sought to outlaw homosexuality.
If you are saying to yourself; “That could never happen in America,” I suggest you go and take a long, hard look at the Patriot Act, then come back and tell me again.
There is an old, old saying which seems to apply now, more than ever.
Be careful what you wish for. You just might get it.
Celebrating the freedom to read: Sept. 22-28, 2013.
Read about it: Banned Books Week