The gay rights movement in America has come a long way. But not far enough.
Last week, North Carolina joined a host of states, including Mississippi and Tennessee, in passing new anti-LGBT laws. What are they, you ask?
Very simply, the emerging and toxic legislation discriminatorily codifies by statute a moronic principle. The laws prevent transgender individuals from using the bathroom that corresponds with their new gender identity, nullifies existing LGBT protections passed by local municipalities, and prevents those cities from passing future anti-discrimination measures to protect LGBT individuals.
SFGN joins with the host of local and national communities, companies and leaders that have censured these obstacles to justice and equality. We are encouraged by the wealth and diversity of support, from performers like Bruce Springsteen to companies like Coca Cola. It is important to have straight friends on our side.
In fact, this very issue of SFGN celebrates a host of persons in all walks of life, from professionals to politicians to plumbers, who have stood by our side in advancing LGBT rights.
We come together as a society not to restrict the rights of any, but rather protect the rights of all. Laws now being passed to save religious liberty are remnants of a past we can not afford to ever go back to. If we go back to the past, it is only to be reminded of the foresight of some of our forefathers, constitutionalists such as Benjamin Franklin, who once spoke these words: “Any society that would give up its liberties to gain a little security deserves neither and will lose both."
This is also a week where Pennsylvania became the 24th state to revise its marijuana laws, passing legislation to allow for medical marijuana. Today’s date, 4/20 has taken on universal meaning for pot law reformers, just as Stonewall does for the gay community. Gays and pot have a lot in common. We have loose joints and straight allies. And with laws coming forth from some of these regressive, reactionary, right wing southern states, damn, we are all going to need a joint, won’t we?
But don’t let the bastards get you down. We are going to crush them in court, because the laws being passed are blatantly unconstitutional. They discriminate against a class of citizens, bear no rational basis to reality, and infringe on jealously guarded civil liberties. Still, it will take time, money and a dedicated body of lawyers to throw them up against a wall, break them into little pieces, and kick them into the dust bowl of history.
The majority of America may not be gay, but the majority of America does not want to see America persecute its gay populations. That is what these laws do. If a citizen goes through the emotional and physical metamorphosis and transformation of his body from a woman to a man, he ought to be able to intelligently choose which gender’s stall he belongs in.
Americans don’t like prohibitions in general. While it is unlikely that the majority of Americans may smoke pot, even if they don’t, they don’t want to see people go to jail for doing so anymore. That’s why there are groups like Law Enforcement Against Prohibition; because we need support from others, outside our circle.
We need friends. Thankfully, good and decent Americans across this nation are ‘coming out’ for us and against laws which harm us. That’s why an issue like this one for SFGN is so valuable. It’s OK to need, have, and want friends, whether you are smoking pot or living a gay life. We can’t do it alone.
Americans embrace those who seek rights. We enlarge parameters and eliminate barriers. We build bridges, not walls. Whether it is the disabled or immigrants, women or minorities, Americans come around to our way of thinking. It does take time, and it sure takes patience, but history is really on our side. Don’t let it get you down. Keep on truckin.’
Just remember, while we are smashing the state, keep a song in your hearts and a smile on your lips. Tennessee still has beautiful camping grounds, North Carolina has Hilton Head, and Mississippi, well, at least they got a river. And the river keeps on rolling along. Just like us. Nothing is going to get in our way, not bad laws, stupid governors, or crazy clerks. We are on our way to Equality, and no one is ever going to hold us back again.
Whoops! Sorry about that. Hilton Head is actually in South Carolina.