An Alaskan journalist's perspective on local and national issues

Posts tagged ‘Gay Rights’

Chuck Norris, Gay Rights and Conservative America

Man, where is that scene from Enter the Dragon where Bruce Lee kills Chuck Norris?  One could watch that scene a hundred times.  In any case, Chuck Norris is one of the many celebrities who feels that because they have been able to pose and act in d-list action films, and shows, they can talk about politics.  Chuck, stick to what you’re good at…never mind, you’re not good at anything.

In a recent statement, Norris has decried the recent decision by the Boy Scouts of America to allow gay scouts and scout leaders.  There were all the usual talking points about the “gay agenda” (because that’s so real, right?), claiming that the BSA has a “long-standing family stance.”  Well, though I was never a Scout, I can say with pride that if the Boy Scouts are teaching kids about families, they aren’t doing their jobs well.  Last I checked, they are supposed to teach them about being a Scout, right?

But far more interesting then Norris’ statements were the comments that people made.  It never ceases to amaze how absolutely backwards and ignorant conservative America is.  There were all sorts of people who said that the only reason that gay people want to be in the Scouts is so that they can molest children.  The single oldest insult of gay men, dating back to…well, forever, is that because they are gay, they are obviously pedophiles.  The levels of ignorance coming from people who actually believe that is interesting.

It has become painfully apparent that to sell their political ideals, the Republican Party now simply runs on bigotry.  They know now who their demographic is – old and middle aged white people without a quality education.  They have lost almost all of the female vote.  They have lost almost all of the minority vote, especially with their recent actions like in Arizona.  They have lost the LGBT vote with stupid stunts like having a D-list actor trying to sound tough and informed.

The Republican Party knows that in the upcoming election, the battle lines are going to be between the elderly who are a very vocal voting block, and who are a big conservative demographic, and the young who are apathetic and don’t particularly care.  That is what American politics have become.  Not to say that there aren’t liberal elderly people.  I know a couple.  And not to say that there aren’t young people who are actively involved.  I am one such person who is.  But the majority is not, and that needs to be taken into consideration.

However, while we can all laugh at this kind of ridiculousness, and realize that Chuck Norris is a has-been action star who nobody particularly cares about anymore and who has been dropped to the point that the only people who will advertise for him now are laundry detergent companies, there is a greater truth that needs to be taken into consideration.  The war for gay rights isn’t over.  In fact, it appears that now is the time where the battle lines are the hottest.

Martin Luther King Jr. once said that in times of moral crisis, the biggest betrayal to one’s community and culture was to be silent.  That is true now more than ever.  Don’t think you can vote this problem out of office.  This has to be a changed in the level of education, and a change in cultural values.  No community would ever have gotten where it is today if the culture didn’t back it.  It doesn’t matter what politicians are in office.  The only way that change can come is when the people, as a whole, demand something better.

That’s a fact.

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Prop. 5 Fails, Discrimination Wins

While One Anchorage is not ready to declare that it is over, the writing on the wall seems to be the Proposition 5 (the new proposition that would have amended Title 5, sections 1-8 to prohibit discrimination for things like maintaining a job or getting housing based on sexual orientation) has failed.

A great deal of work has been put into this.  So many people gave so much time and effort.  But, as was seen with Ordinance 64 (the previous version of this bill), this issue showed just how easy it is to rally a bigoted base against a cause that they are “morally” opposed to.

There argument was that this was “inhibiting religious freedom.”  Never mind that the section of Title 5 that dealt with religious institutions, section 9, would not have been affected by this.  Religious institutions could show preferential treatment to whomever they liked.  But the truth didn’t matter to the “Protect Your Rights” campaign.

Their message was that these gays, lesbians and transgendered peoples were going to be like a seedy lot of evil monsters.  This kind of propaganda is nothing new.  When gay marriage has come up in other states, they try to dress it up really nice, talking abour rights and “morality.”  The truth is that we have allowed this government to pretty much openly endorse discrimination.

Such a sad reality, that.  American politicians have openly talked about how homosexuality is wrong.  They talk about how God is the one to look up to, even though we have a 1st Amendment, and his book is filled with some of the worst morals there are.

To people like Jim Minnery, the head of the Alaska Family Council, believe it is a conflict of “values.”  But what values are these people spreading by openly getting people to work against social progress?  They are saying that they value bigotry, because an employer could find out that you are gay and fire you on the spot.  They are saying that they value the spread of hatred, by having the people believe that these kinds of people are not worthy of respect or fairness.  They are saying that they value a system of beliefs that is 2,000 years old, from a desert filled with people that America is also openly discriminating against more than they do decency and kindness.

It’s not a question that there is discrimination against the LGBT community here in Anchorage.  Go to Mad Myrna’s on any day of the week and you can find this out.  Take a look at some of the signs that were being held up at the battle over Ordinance 64 and you’ll see where a good chunk of the population stands.

However, many will argue that most people are not like that.  Most people don’t discriminate, and most people are accepting.  Here’s the problem with that – where were they yesterday?  Now, I will give  that there were problems with the ballots, and this is an issue that I am very curious to see how it is resolved.  I’m not much for conspiracies, but that does seem to be a point of interest.  However, there were options, and the people could have come out in greater numbers.

The fact is that the group who is against gay rights is so much more able to mobilize their voting base, and this is something that progressives and liberals need to learn, because the fact is that the more people think that things will turn out alright, and that they don’t have to get involved, the more we are watching progress in this country get rolled back.

We are in a culture war, and the left is losing.  Badly.  Every compromise, every deal that is struck is only to stave off the madness, while the smaller battles are being won by those who want to get rid of all progress.  This needs to be paid attention to.  But don’t take my word for it.  I’m just a petty journalist who sees the writing on the wall.

Peace out,

Lefty

The battle for gay rights in Anchorage begins anew

Well, an issue that polarized a community once has come back to bear here in Anchorage, Alaska.  For those who remember the battle for Ordinance 64 back in 2009, it was the single-largest gathering of open-mindedness and bigotry that Alaska had ever seen.  It brought people out of the woodwork on both sides, and battle of words was hot.  The signs were passionate, and the feelings were raw.  Now, with the signatures turned in, it is very likely that this issue is going to be on the April city elections ballot.

The rule is in Anchorage is that it is illegal to discriminate against a person when it comes to housing, hiring, and things like that because or race, gender, religion, or marital status.  The same cannot be said, however, for sexual orientation.  A person can lose their job just because they are gay.

If this initiative should get onto the ballot, and pass, then it will add sexual orientation to this list.  Why it wasn’t already on there is a complete mystery.  Mayor Dan Sullivan, back in 2009, came out firmly against this, and vetoed the decision as he promised he would.  Now that it is coming back, his office is just as opinionless as ever.

“Mayor Sullivan believes a ballot initiative is appropriate in that it allows  all citizens to weigh in on this subject.”

That particular line was from Sarah Erkmann, Mayor Sullivan’s spokeswoman.  Yes, so, now he believes that this is an important issue that is where everybody should weigh in on, but when it comes to him making the right choice, that was just too much to ask.

Now, while the religious groups of Anchorage got a bad rap last time, due to the biggest religious figure in town, Pastor Jerry Prevo, coming out against this, it seems that this run, there are religious people supporting the intiative.  The group is called Christians for Equality.  It includes a number of churches, such as St. Mary’s Episcopal, United Methodist, Immanuel Presbyterian and Joy Lutheran.  This is a good thing to see from the religious community of Anchorage.

However, where there are people of the faith community who want to do good, there are others who are not so fairness-minded.  If we all remember back in the debate about Ordinance 64, there were plenty of people out with signs talking about how their god wanted the descriminatory policies of the city to remain just like they were.  While they held up signs talking about how the LGBT community was pushing their beliefs, it was pretty clear who was doing the pushing.

And once again, the Alaska Family Council has come out and said that they are going to be opposing this initiative.  There was a statement that was made by the head of Jim Minnery, the president of the AFC.

“It’s not clear that there is any widespread discrimination against the gay  community,” he said. “What is clearer is that this is a true threat to  religious liberties.”

That’s a very interesting argument to make.  How exactly are there threats to religious liberties?  For real, there needs to be an answer to this.  Are the gays going to tell you that you can’t worship?  This is the same kind of ridiculous logic that is used by people like Rick Perry when they need to make themselves seem more legitimate about their presidency.  The fact is that there are not threats to religious liberties, and I challenge Minnery to prove me wrong.  What possible way could the LGBT community stop you and yours from going to church and worshiping your holy figure?  This kind of accusation deserves some very careful scrutiny.

The first point, about there not being any signs of widspread discrimination, well, that is easly countered by the signs above.  Yeah, not a bit of discrimination going on there.  Who knows where it’s coming from.

But whatever one’s opinion, it’s looking like the battle is going to get pretty heated, with the AFC and One Anchorage looking to trade blows, come April, if the 13,515 signatures they got gets this initiative on the ballot.  The tragic part is that since it is so much easier to mobilize the bigoted votes instead of the progessive ones, it is very possible that the initiative will be defeated by the same ridiculous and baseless logic that people like Minnery use.

Here’s a link to the AFC email, in case you want to throw a criticism or two their way – info@alaskafamilycouncil.org

The battle is looking very likely to be on.  Which side do you stand?

Peace out,

Lefty

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