Really, it’s that simple.
Opponents of the proposed Shelby County Non-Discrimination Order, protecting members of the GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender) community may want to shift the debate from public policy to scripture, but scripture ain’t public policy, period. Either you support discrimination, or you don’t. End of story.
Wendi Thomas had a great article about this Thursday.
This puts Joe Ford, the only African American member of the County Commission to vote against the order in a strange position. He now has to reconcile his support for Civil Rights legislation, some of which helped him and many other African Americans rise up from oppression into positions of power, against his opposition to, what amounts to the very same thing for a group of people who have no protections, and can be discriminated against based on their sexual orientation or gender identity with impunity.
I don’t think Joe Ford really supports discrimination. I think Commissioner Ford got caught up in the scriptural argument, and forgot that one of the things that makes America great is the separation of church and state, and that scripture ain’t public policy.
As Thomas notes, Commissioners Chism and Harvey abstained from the vote last week. It is my hope that they will see just how simple this issue is and vote for civil rights protections for a group of people who are currently living at the whims of their supervisor’s potential prejudice.
Finally, I just want to say one more thing about the whole argument against protections for members of the GLBT community. The video below was produced by the Commercial Appeal in their report of the demonstration held in opposition to the Non-Discrimination order last week.
First, this order isn’t about giving and “special” protection, it’s about giving equal protection. Should people be fired or affected in some way that hampers their ability to make a living due to their sexual orientation? What ever happened to judging people based on the quality of their work? Also, this order doesn’t cover most of the incorporated areas of the County. It does cover County Government employees, and contractors that do work with the county. That’s it.
Secondly, this proposition has NOTHING TO DO WITH GAY MARRIAGE, or relationships, or anything other than providing discrimination protections for a group of people who are currently without a safety net. People who tell you this is about protecting a group based on their life choices know NOTHING about the issue, but just for fun, let me ask all the straight folks out there who are against this ordinance this simple question, “Did you wake up this morning and DECIDE to be heterosexual?” I’m sure you made or are making a choice as to whom you will be heterosexual WITH, but I know I didn’t “choose” to be heterosexual, I just am. I’ve never once met a person in the GLBT community that made a conscious choice as to their sexual orientation or gender identity. Saying members of the GLBT community made a choice to be who they are is a sign of ignorance.
In the end, it still comes down to this simple question, “Do you support discrimination or not?” If not, then you are duty bound to vote for this order. If you do, I would submit that you’re going to have a helluva time later on in life. Discrimination knows no bounds; eventually it will come to your door. If you support it now, you may find yourself the one without a safety net. Will that change your mind, or will you do what you’re asking members of the GLBT community to do and just deal with it? I think we know the answer to that question.