Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Gay Rights Issue Heats Up.

The Dayton Daily News has two articles on the developing local gay rights controversy, one on the local clergy wanting to put the breaks on the move to pass antidiscrimination protection, the other on Ohio not having such protections.

It seems that not only the clergy but the NAACP opposes the ordnance, which is ironic as one sees a minority civil rights organization opposing the extension of civil rights protection to other minorities. Civil rights for me but not for thee?

Also, one can see the ministers are quite au courant on the buzzwords to bash lesbians and gays, making a verbal tie between homosexuality and child molestation (a somewhat new meme from the cultural conservatives that I have seen elsewhere):

"If homosexuals and lesbians should have special rights and privileges because of a sexual preference, what is next? With a growing number of sexual predators, pedophilia and other offenders, will they secretly grant these people, groups, special rights do to their sexual preference?"

(from a flier circulated by the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance)


This blatant attempt to rattle some cages is unfortunate and detracts from the message, but the larger issue is worth considering. Apparently the call is to :

A. Stop the city commission vote

B. Have a sort of community discussion on the issue.

C. Put the issue up to a vote via referendum.

Two ways to look at this:

1. Debate, then referendum, ensures if this protection is passed there is solid community support behind it. Some form of community consensus has been reached, pro or con, and the referendum validates this.

2. Unpopular minority groups will never see civil rights protection via direct democracy, as their very unpopularity will lead to defeat of such proposals at the polls.

Yet, is it even relevant if Dayton city passes or doesn't pass such a law?

One wonders if it would be better for the county commission to consider GLBT rights. I prefer this approach as it is both more relevant to the issue and more "regional", covering the bulk of the population and businesses in the Dayton metro area. A countywide antidiscrimination ordnance would also be a "first" for the Dayton area, as no county in Ohio has such a law.

I will be blogging more on the issue as it develops.

2 comments:

metromark said...

I agree with you about the need for a county commission vote on the issue . . . but, good luck. Reading Mary McCarty's article on the subject this AM, I was also astounded by one minister saying that this vote would be an affront to the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and all the early civil rights leaders . . . HUH? Let's see if the city commission has the courage it didn't have in 1999.

Jeffrey said...

Well, not ALL the early civil rights leaders. One of the key behind-the-scenes leaders of that era was gay...and suprisingly open about it, considering the times:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bayard_Rustin


..yet he really wasn't accepted by the leadership.

I guess one of the conceptual problems is that there can be more than one civil rights or social justice movement. Having more than one movement does not necessarily dishonor the leadership of another, since their cause is different.