But those events should be balanced by the good news from Tempe, Arizona.
Altogether it highlights a larger question: Isn't it time that the federal government put a stop to this state-by-state nonsense once and for all?
After a couple of weeks of really bad press coming out of Arizona, it looks as though the cloud is lifting. After the GOP-led State Legislature drafted a controversial "religious freedom" law which allowed gay discrimination based on "sincerely-held beliefs," the eyes of the nation were focused on Arizona. Would the governor would actually approve of the law?
Reporter Dianna Nanez from the Arizona Republic reports that Tempe City Council unanimously approved an anti-discrimination ordinance that will secure broad civil-rights protections for gay and transgender residents.
The city ordinance bans discrimination in housing, employment and accommodations at restaurants and hotels, but includes exceptions for religious organizations and social clubs.Businesses or individuals that discriminate in Tempe on the basis of gender identity, sexual orientation, race, color, gender, religion, national origin, familial status, age, disability and U.S. military veteran status face a civil sanction with a fine up to $2,500.
Tempe also has a reputation as being a gay- friendly town.
It was among the first U.S. municipalities to have an openly gay mayor, Neil Giuliano, who left office a decade ago after four terms as mayor.
“We were one of the first cities in the state that provided domestic benefits (for same-sex couples),” We want to make sure that businesses and people coming to Arizona know that we are working together for equality. ... I don’t tolerate discrimination ... and I’m really proud to work with a council that feels the same way.”
It just goes to show you, I suppose, that you can't judge a whole state by its legislators. Nevertheless,like 29 other states, it is still legal in Arizona to fire someone because of sexual orientation. So there's still a lot of work to do to improve the state's image.
This begs the question is why not? Especially, since psychologist have now classified homosexuality as an inherent condition and "a variation of the sexual function."
According to studies, it is a choice only insofar as self-acceptance is a choice. You see, there is no proof that anybody can choose their sexual preferences like shoes and they certainly don't choose to be gay to offend religious sensibilities. Moreover, despite what people like Marcus Bachmann would have you believe, homosexuals can be- or should be- "cured" any more than blacks could- if they really wanted- change into whites. (The best the gays can do is hide by wearing masks and accept second-class status. But then that's perfectly ok by conservatives and Russians.)
That's why we need national legislation barring discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. It's time for Congress to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, or ENDA.This year will be the twentieth anniversary of the first proposal to revise federal anti-discrimination law to protect gays and lesbians in the same way federal law protects racial groups and the different sexes from discrimination in hiring and promotion. Introduced in every Congress since 1994, ENDA has never been able to make it through both houses of Congress.
With the incredible changes in public support for same-sex marriage, it would seem as though the time couldn't be better for a renewed effort. If not, we will see even more insidious attempts to legalize discrimination. This is not an impossible goal but it may require some drastic house-cleaning in Congress.
However, there are eight states with nearly exactly the same laws.
Eight U.S. states, and several cities and counties, have some version of what we call “no promo homo” provisions.
It is Utah that prohibits “the advocacy of homosexuality.” Arizona prohibits portrayals of homosexuality as a “positive alternative life-style” and has legislatively determined that it is inappropriate to even suggest to children that there are “safe methods of homosexual sex.” Alabama and Texas mandate that sex-education classes emphasize that homosexuality is “not a lifestyle acceptable to the general public.” Moreover, the Alabama and Texas statutes mandate that children be taught that “homosexual conduct is a criminal offense” even though criminalizing private, consensual homosexual conduct has been unconstitutional since 2003.
The underlying ideology of these statutes is the same: Everybody should be heterosexual, and homosexuality is per se bad. This ideology has never rested on any kind of evidence that homosexuality is a bad “choice” that the state ought to discourage. The ideology is a prejudice-laden legacy of a fading era.
"Parents thought that by trying to change them, that would make them happy. But actually it put their children at great risk When we shared that with parents, they were shocked."
"As long as we hid in the darkness of bars, private clubs or discreet saloons,... as long as we didn't get so bold as to show our faces in the light of day, heterosexuals permitted our subculture to exist.
With the threat of ostracism or worse, heterosexuals forced us to hide our identities, to wear masks.