Senate Bill 137: Why Do Republican Leaders Hate The Gays?
Posted on November 3, 2011
It’s an odd feeling to think of your life as a threat to those who call themselves the moral majority. It’s also an odd feeling to see so much of the church being brought into government after those before us specifically set the government up to keep them separate. In moving towards this reunification, it feels like open season on the GLBT community, but there’s a difference between tragedy and preventability.
There was a 14-year-old high school freshman who passed away this past week when a cinder block wall collapsed on him in the school locker room. It was a tragedy and I can’t begin to imagine the pain his friends and family are going through. Nobody could see something like that coming, though. He couldn’t have known. The architects didn’t say anything to him, an inspector didn’t raise any concerns, his friends didn’t try to weaken the wall before it fell and his parents didn’t suggest he avoid it. None of that happened and it would be silly to think that it would.
Now let’s consider the number of young gay teens who are committing suicide. Tragedy? Sure. Preventable? You’re damn right they were, even if only some and not all. These kids were bullied and many of their cries for help were met with indifference or even deaf ears. How many teachers knew? How many administrators knew? How many parents knew? How many friends knew? But then…who knew it was bad enough to drive them to take their own lives? There’s no real way to know where to assign blame in order to learn from it for the future because these won’t be isolated incidents. These things make the news all the time and the Republican leadership response has been a nearly resounding silence. And if not, the perception is that of a nearly resounding silence.
Michigan is one of three states that hasn’t enacted anti-bullying legislation, up until yesterday anyway. Senate Bill 137 passed and the final version embarrassed the father of the young man it was named after and who needed its protection. Unfortunately, even if it had been enacted, it probably wouldn’t have protected him anyway.
You see, Senate Bill 137 includes a provision that states the legislation won’t cover First Amendment free speech rights and won’t prohibit expression of religious or moral viewpoints. We already know the moral majority doesn’t like LGBT folks and chances are their kids don’t either. You see, bullying can continue business as usual because all one of these folks needs to do is say they were doing so because of their religious and/or moral convictions. This part of Senate Bill 137 was insisted upon by Republican leadership in order for it to pass.
So what did it do? It just made bullying in Michigan legal. And why? Because it’s obvious these same leaders don’t like us and could care less if our kind are bullied and commit suicide. Their actions–or, rather, their inaction–speak loudly and it’s evident they could literally care less about it. That makes me sick to my stomach. Why don’t they just go the extra step and admit they’d rather we did all die off? That’s certainly how it feels sometimes.
What does it say about our leaders when they pass a bill that has no hope of accomplishing what it set out to do? What does it say about our leaders who say it’s acceptable to tell the people that it’s okay not to rent to us, give us jobs or allow us to see our non-recognized partners in the hospital? Isn’t the US supposed to be leading the world? And what does it say about us letting these leaders get away with it?
Kristoffer Gair (who formerly wrote under the pseudonym Kage Alan) is the Detroit-based author of Honor Unbound, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To My Sexual Orientation, Andy Stevenson Vs. The Lord Of The Loins, Gaylias: Operation Thunderspell, several short stories featured in anthologies (to be combined in a forthcoming book), the recently re-published novella Falling Awake, its sequel, Falling Awake II: Revenant and Falling Awake III: Requiem.
11 Responses to “Senate Bill 137: Why Do Republican Leaders Hate The Gays?”
Angel Martinez says:
November 3, 2011 at 7:28 am
*sigh* Kris, some of those upstanding folks in the moral insanity, er, majority have stated that they wish the community would just die out. All those people at gay soldiers funerals, for example. The tide rolls and turns. We need to keep on and be vigilant. It will turn again.
Dorien Grey says:
November 3, 2011 at 8:08 am
Sad to think Michigan is now in a close race with Mississippi, Louisiana, and other enlightened Old South states for the title of Most Backward. But of course, Kris, you must remember that Republicans are The Chosen Ones…God tells them so constantly…and are therefore infallible. So let us open our hymnals to page 146 in praise of the holy trinity…Boehner, Cantor, and McConnell…and raise out voices in glorious song!
November 3, 2011 at 8:45 am
All I’ve ever wanted was to be loved. I just wanted one guy to love me unconditionally through thick and thin. Nothing made me happier than waking up in the morning and cooking him breakfast… I wanted to fix my life and so I moved to South Bend, Indiana where I get a job and what I received was harassment, discrimination from work. Then being raped and bashed and left to die in a pool of my own blood. And then, the right wing government, instilling an ordinance banning LGBT Right’s. I’m just dead inside and no matter how I try to forget and move on the pain remains. I feel so alone. I fight for justice, but there just isn’t any… I tell you being raped and bashed was horrible, but even that doesn’t compare to the ACLU, The HRC, every lawyer and everyone in Washington telling me you don’t have rights and there’s nothing we can do! That is the most horrific part thereafter; it’s all like continuing to be raped again and again. The only one whomever seem to care was president Obama who sent me my petition, but no one is reacting or signing it, and that is like saying well the government is right letting your basher/ rapist go free and it is right that social security is cheating you out of what the judge ruled in your favor, because we don’t care.
Toni Ward says:
November 3, 2011 at 10:39 am
Firstly no-one should have to go through what you did. And I am get so angry when i hear of experiences such as yours.
Secondly i would advise you take your petition to change.org
They have a gay rights section and i have voted in there on many occasions (where a vote ouside the USA counts). If nothing else they will highlight and bring worldwide attention to the state of rights in Indiana. I’ve enclosed the link honey. 🙂
Good Luck and tons of Love xxx
November 3, 2011 at 11:58 pm
my petition is on change.org
google: richard r blackston petition
Diana Plopa says:
November 3, 2011 at 9:05 am
I will never understand the motivation toward hate when the victim doesn’t negatively impact the life of the antagonist. It’s insane!! I long for the day that we can all just learn to get along.
Toni Ward says:
November 3, 2011 at 10:29 am
It has to be said it’s things like this that make me thank the fact i live in England. Sure we have the hell and brimstone crowd preaching on street corners from a makeshift pulpit, and the leaflet litterers that try and convert you through the glossy fliers. However we don’t have the zealous religious fringe that you seem to have in America. The types that like to tout the old “conform or you’ll be damned in hell” litany.
The church is losing favour year by year here, and has very little to do with any new laws made, thankfully. We may not be as big as the good old USA but I am inclined to think we are far more tolerant of creed, sexuality and appearances.
November 4, 2011 at 2:03 pm
Remember before patting yourself on the back that England is the precise origin of US Puritanical ideology, as well as countless post-colonial moral conundrums all over the world. But haing said that, when living in England I found Britishers far more tolerant as you say. weel done!
Matt Prorok says:
November 3, 2011 at 11:35 am
Well now I’m confused. How many people hate gays for reasons other than religious or moral ones? I’ve never heard of any. I can’t even think of any such reasons. Maybe if the bully is a psychopath who hates everyone?
November 3, 2011 at 12:46 pm
I looked up the bill, because I wanted to see the wording.
All I found was this.
I don’t know if I’m just missing something, but I don’t see anything in there that allows bullying as related to protecting First Amendment rights.
November 4, 2011 at 2:05 pm
No matter who owns the silence, silence is the face of a problem is the same as condoning it.