Friday, March 11, 2011

Know Your LGBT History - Milk

A movie which needs no introduction. Sean Penn rocked as Harvey Milk and won a well-deserved Oscar for Best Actor.

Now when is someone going to do a movie about Bayard Rustin?

Past Know Your LGBT History Postings:

Family Research Council has no sense of logic and other Friday midday news briefs

Family Research Council's "The Top Ten Harms of Same-Sex 'Marriage'" Defies Logic - Just when did the Family Research Council and logic ever mix?

Peter Sprigg proves the Family Research Council to be a hate group (again) - And here is another piece about that FRC pamphlet written by yours truly.

Man Charged in West Village Hate Crime Says He's No 'Bigot' - I'm sure he feels that he isn't a bigot NOW. But that night when he acted as if he was got him into trouble.

Maryland Bi-National Same-Sex Couple Avoids Separation - Nice to see some good news today.

Gay couple hotel appeal withdrawn - Just in case religious right groups try to squeeze new lies from this old case, here is some clarification.

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Should Christians be allowed to discriminate on the basis of personal beliefs?

Some religious right figures are giddy over comments by an English  historian regarding gay rights. From One News Now:

Homosexual activist David Starkey, who is an atheist, participated in a debate on BBC about bed-and-breakfast owners hauled into court when they refused homosexual couples based on their religious beliefs. "The way to do that is not to bound them, not to fine them," he stated. "It is for them simply to put up what seems to me to be a quite proper notice in a small privately run hotel which says, 'We are Christians and this is what we believe.'"

The activist says forcing someone to accept the homosexual lifestyle against their religious beliefs is "a new tyranny."

"Being nice and sweet about gays isn't wholly a good thing -- it really isn't," Starkey stated. "We live in a world of intense difficulty and plurality, and just having a hang-me-down, reach-me-down imposed morality is a very bad idea."

Two things are fascinating about that - Starkey has been described by Wikipedia as a English constitutional historian, a radio and television presenter, and a specialist in the Tudor dynasty and Tudor period. He is openly gay but that hardly makes him an activist. Of course that's in the real world. In the world of the religious right, any lgbt not in the closet is an "activist."

Secondly it's highly ironic that Starkey's comments about "forced morality" is being applauded by the same folks on the forefront of the battles against gay rights, women making choices about their own bodies, etc - and all because of the morality they want to impose on others.

The grand irony is that these folks want to attach Starkey's comments about situation with a privately owned business in another country (I'm not aware of all of the details regarding this controversy) to situations in America, which at times involve public tax dollars.

Like the Ocean Grove Pavilion for example.

The Ocean Grove Pavilion was a piece of property owned by a religious group in New Jersey. When a lesbian couple tried to use the pavilion to have a civil union ceremony, the group said no, citing religious beliefs against homosexuality.

The lesbian couple sued and won and just like that, the religious right had a new cause celebre, i.e. new so-called victims of gay rights overreach.

However, religious right groups repeating the story about this so-called injustice always omitted the fact that the religious group was getting tax breaks on this piece of property. And one of the requirements of the tax breaks was that they couldn't discriminate on who could use the property.

The real question here is how much should people be allowed discriminate based on personal religious beliefs.  Should this ability to discriminate be applied in cases where tax dollars are spent? Or how about in cases regarding business owners or service providers in general?

Just how much consideration should someone's "deeply held personal beliefs" be given over someone else's right to be able to find a place to live or attain necessities?

Lastly, if we open up the doors of anti-lgbt discrimination on the grounds of  "personal religious beliefs," then why not open the doors of racial discrimination? Or gender discrimination?

Strangely enough, these questions never seem to come up when religious right groups whine about how their rights are being taken away.

I wonder why is that?

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