Saturday, January 21, 2006

The Forces of Love Triumph over the Forces of Bigotry and Evil


It's a joyous day in Ocean County where Lt. Laurel Hester can go to her grave in peace knowing that her partner will enjoy her pension benefits as the Ocean County freeholders will extend pension benefits to include domestic partners in a vote Wednesday. This goes a long way in ensuring that the dream of the Civil Rights movement lives on where everyone no matter what race, gender, or sexual orientation can enjoy freedom and liberty which are manifest in the American Dream.

How long will it take for the AFA, the Religious Right, and homophobic Republicans in Congress to act against what they will call the advancing of the homo agenda? They always claim that gays and lesbians are demanding special rights because Title VII the Civil Rights Act of 1964 obviously covers them, right? Wrong, there is nothing in that act pertaining to sexual orientation. You can be fired in 36 states for being gay.

In fact, Title VII only states

(a) It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer -
     (1) to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or
otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his
compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of
such individual's race, color, religion, sex, or national origin; or

(2) to limit, segregate, or classify his employees or applicants
for employment in any way which would deprive or tend to deprive any
individual of employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect his
status as an employee, because of such individual's race, color, religion,
sex, or national origin.

(b) It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employment agency
to fail or refuse to refer for employment, or otherwise to discriminate
against, any individual because of his race, color, religion, sex, or
national origin, or to classify or refer for employment any individual on
the basis of his race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
Now, call me crazy, but I don't see anything about sexual orientation. This surely debunks the Religious Right's rhetoric that gays are already protected and they are only agitating for special privileges. Of course the Religious Right takes the word religion in Title VII to mean that they can discriminate against gays themselves or force their beliefs in America's pharmacies when it concerns emergency contraception, but that's another story.

The so-called leader of our country, National Litterbox George W. Bush has disgraced the Constitution by forgetting the lessons of history when he called earlier during the 2004 election campaign for a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman. All throughout our history, we have oppressed the downtrodden and the marginalized and have only begun correcting these grievious wrongs. Conservatives did not support stripping the rebels of their plantations and giving them to the freedmen because they declared that the freed slaves should not be given a free handout, but rather should work for it, forgetting that the slaves had worked these lands all their lives. This allowed slaveholders to make slaves free only in name but not in practice. Conservatives during the period known as Reconstruction watered down the Fifteenth Amendment to only forbid states to deny voting rights based on race, color, or previous condition of servitude. Abolitionists warned that this would allow the Southern States to find loopholes and design new ways to "legally" bar blacks from the voting booths such as poll taxes. In fact this is exactly what happened with the poll taxes, literacy tests, understanding and grandfather clauses that exempted poor, illiterate whites from these restrictions as long as they were white or had an ancestor who voted prior to 1867. This wasn't abolished until the 24th Amendment which made poll taxes illegal. The judgment of history is clear: conservatives have been the impediments to progress and equality while liberals were the ones fighting for the American dream.

Conservatives always bitched and moaned that extending equal rights and voting privileges would either a) destroy the country's moral fabric, b) destroy the family or c) destroy marriage. Allowing freed slaves to vote would "corrupt" the voting process, allowing women to vote would be the death of the "sacred institution" of the family, and allowing gay marriage and extending benefit rights to gay couples would destroy marriage. Yet, Massachusetts has allowed gay marriage and there hasn't been hellfire and brimstone raining down from the skies over Boston. They ignore the true threat to marriage: adultery and divorce. Perhaps they do so because a lot of those who call themselves conservatives (Henry Hyde and Newt Gingrich are the examples that come to mind) were having affairs themselves while castigating Bill Clinton for having one.

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