Friday, May 25, 2007

Iowa to protect queers

Of gays, Iowa Governor Chet Culver said,
"These individuals are not currently covered by Iowa's civil rights code," Culver said. They often live in fear. They may even be fired or denied housing because of who they are."

And today he put an end to that.
Senate File 427 adds "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" to the civil rights code, which now prohibits discrimination based on age, race, creed, color, sex, national origin, religion, ancestry or disability in housing, employment, lending, education, public accommodations and other areas.


Culver said the law's enactment sends a message that Iowa is a welcoming place for all individuals and that state government is empowered to protect rights and freedom for every citizen.

"It's unacceptable that these individuals are denied the same protections every other Iowan enjoys," the governor said. "We are here to celebrate one more victory in our nation's constant struggle to live up to the ideal of our founding fathers – liberty and justice for all."

Now let's hear from the people opposed to liberty and justice for all:
"We believe this is legislative and cultural malpractice," said Chuck Hurley, a former state legislator who guides the Iowa Family Policy Center. "We still have a great number of people in this society who don't believe in that behavior. This is a political force that has brought this law to bear. It is not a reaction to wrongdoing."

Um, Mr. Hurley, you're not helping your side any. Ranting about how many people "don't believe in that behavior", despite the fact that neither sexual orientation nor gender identity have anything to do with behaviors, just shows exactly why laws like this are necessary.
"What you do when you put this in the law, you put every person who adheres to any of those major religions a bigot or a lawbreaker," said Hurley during a taping of Iowa Public Television's "Iowa Press" show devoted to the subject. "That's repugnant to business owners."

Well, some of you are bigots, sir. See above paragraph. But it's not "every person who adheres to any of those major religions" (and how nice of you to recognize that there are religions other than yours). Reformed Jews have no problem with this; nor does Bruce Lowe, formerly a Baptist minister and author of the letter God Made Me Gay; nor, for that matter, does the leader of the Episcopal Church. There are plenty of ways to belong to a major religion and not be bigoted against gay people.

Besides that, you're only a lawbreaker if you, well, break the law. You'd think a former legislator would understand that the first amendment protects everyone's right to speak their mind--including bigots'. You're only a lawbreaker if you discriminate against people for no reason other than you don't approve of them.
Hurley also contended that Iowa was positioning itself on the wrong side of cultural history.

"All the historians are in agreement that when a culture finally adopts acceptance of this behavior, it's one step away from the end of that culture," he said. "I am shocked that we are not more concerned that this experiment really is going down the wrong historic path."

At this point I'm imagining the more lucid people on his side gesturing wildly for him to stop talking, because he's really not making them come across well.

Isn't it funny that cultures are always ended whenever they begin to accept something that the speaker finds distasteful? I have a book right next to me that goes to great length explaining how every culture in the world came to an end not because of acceptance of homosexuality, but because of miscegenation.

Nebraska, meanwhile, killed a similar bill for much the same reasons.

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