Gay Rights Issues Up Again

I tire of keeping the gay rights agenda front and center. Perhaps I should not, but I do. I tend to be rather libertarian on the issue, but, like abortion, it’s just something I’d rather close my eyes to and not discuss. In any event, OnlineAthens.com is discussing the coming legislative session.

This year, issues involving gays and lesbians are expected to once again play a prominent role in the General Assembly. State legislation requiring students to get parental permission before signing up for most extracurricular activities – widely seen as something aimed at clubs that encourage friendships between gay and straight students – almost certainly will get a hearing when the legislature reconvenes in January.

And some gay-rights advocates are worried that this sessions also will see a proposal banning adoption by gays and lesbians. They are mobilizing to try to beat back measures that supporters call “pro-family” and opponents call “anti-gay” that have passed the legislature by strong margins.

It is the kind of struggle Chuck Bowen, the head of the most prominent gay-rights group in Georgia, has gotten used to.

18 comments

  1. Decaturguy says:

    Don’t the Republicans plan on beating up on immigrants this year? Or is that not enough? Immigrants and gays too?

    How long before the voters (like Erick) tire of this obvious pandering? General opposition to gay marriage does not mean that voters would support open season on gay rights.

  2. Erick says:

    Decaturguy, I agree with you. Let’s leave gay rights alone this session and beat up on the immigrants for a change.

    On a serious note, I am tired of it. I disagree with gay marriage and frankly I disagree with gay adoption. But I have a visceral reaction to groups trotting out the gay boogeyman everytime they want to incite the crowd.

    Gays have become to the right what conservative judges have become to the left — wanna fire up the base, attack. I’m just not willing to stoop that low. And I’m not saying that the legislature intends to do that — I don’t think it will. But, there are far too many on the right who are willing to.

  3. Karla Stuckey says:

    Saw an article today about the long time relationship between Mercer University in Macon and Georgia Baptists being severed because of a gay group at the school. Mercer stands to lose millions.

    This is a divisive issue that is not going away. It will continue to impact institutions and politics. While you might wish it would go away it will not. And those who are very concerned about the family see this stuff as another attack on traditional values. I think they expect Republicans to do something and not to give in on this one.

  4. Decaturguy says:

    I hope you’re right Erick, but I fear you’re not. People like Karla Stuckey (above) believe that the very presence of gay people in society is “another attack on traditional values.” Our very right to exist is an attack on their family somehow! And if the Republicans don’t “do something” about us, then they’re going to stay home on election day.

    So as long as this is the base of the GOP, no matter how much leaders of the party may want to move on, there will be pressure to “do something” about the gays.

    I’m convinced that the more certain people are concerned about the way other people live, the more it exposes issues in their own lives that they cannot control.

  5. Karla Stuckey says:

    Decaturguy,

    Personally I really don’t care what you do in the privacy of your bedroom. Just don’t ask the rest of us to set aside historical and cultural norms to say that it is marriage, or try to teach our children that it is equal to traditional marriage and family.

    I have friends who are gay and they are fine people and have every right to live their lives as they see fit and to have the same rights as every other citizen. But they don’t have the right to change the meaning of marriage and family, which are the bedrock of western civilization.

  6. Decaturguy says:

    If gay people are fine people and should have the same rights as every other citizen, what are you afraid of Karla?

    Karla, believe it or not, I believe that you truly do not mean any ill will towards gay people. However, I believe you are living under a misconception of who gay people are. And that would explain why Bill does not believe that you have any gay friends, because if you did you wouldn’t have that misconception.

    Your misconception is that you inherently define the relationships of gay people by what goes on in “the privacy of [their] bedrooms.” You can’t define gay people by these terms any more than you can define heterosexual people by what goes on in the privacy of their own bedrooms. How would you like to be defined by what goes on in your bedroom?

    No, gay people want the same things you do. Stable relationships, families, someone to grow old with and share life with.

    So, again, how does a gay student group at Mercer University threaten the family in any way?

  7. Ben King says:

    actually, the Catholic church didn’t formalize marriage cermonies until the 15th or 16th century. I’m not sure that marriage can be the bedrock of Western Civilization if it didn’t exist _as we know it_ until more than halfway through its history (it certainly existed before that, I’m not saying that. But as a formal religious ceremony with set religious guidelines, etc.).

    There have been some historical works which kind of put forth the position that the Church was trying to control and formalize marriage in order to exert more control over people, through families. So this view of ‘the family’ as the root of ‘civilization’ is not new. But prior to the industrial revolution, the ‘family’ in many ways functioned as an economic unit, and our modern conceptions of ‘traditional values’ didn’t really settle down until the 18th century or so, when you finally had a strong middle (ownership) class.

    I’d argue that institutions which have sought to control, formalize, or otherwise regulate marriage have historically really been about angling to increase general governmental (or religious) control on the population. And of course there is a long history of regulating marriage to prevent racial mysoginy, in this country and elsewhere, but that is a whole different ballgame, but not unrelated to this issue.

    Just putting this a little in historical context. The modern GOP isn’t the first group to think of this sort of thing.

  8. Karla Stuckey says:

    I’m certainly not going to name names, but I know two gay couples in our community who are welcomed by many socially and otherwise. But if they went down to the courthouse and tried to get married, it would be a different matter.

    Setting the religious angle aside for the moment, I think that marriage is an important social institution and goverment does have a vested interested in its health and vitality. I would argue that many social ills that cost our nation dearly financially and otherwise are a direct result of the breakup of the American family. Apart from religion, there are many good reason why government should work to strengthen the family.

    I know that is old fashioned and that the jeannie is out of the bottle, but I think the traditional concept of marriage and family is worth fighting to hold on to. Look at the condition of the African American community in too much of Georgia.

  9. Ben King says:

    So are you saying that your gay friends would no longer be your gay friends if they tried to get married?

    Karla, are you willing to look at the economic factors that have gone into shaping modern American marriage? Lets get a scale of how important traditional marriage is for you – more or less important than paid family leave? more or less important than exorbent health care costs which burden families and undermine the home a lot more than a gay couple ever could?

    I would agree that I think traditional families are important to Georgia. And by traditional, I mean families that love each other, stay together, and love their children. If you three different jobs, then you can’t be a very good parent – you just don’t have the time. Unfortunately, too many parents have to do this to support their families. Are you willing to help make life better for this family by taking on insurance companies and drug companies, or would you rather just blame it on the gay couple down the block?

    Those two gay couples in your community sure are lucky to have a friend like you…

  10. Tater Tate says:

    Karla,

    Don’t feel too bad. Things just haven’t been the same since the dems and I guess gays have invaded the Pundit. There goes the neighborhood!

    Seriously, we don’t have the problem of gay couples wanting to get married too much in south Georgia. Atlanta is a different world, but I fear it is taking over.

  11. Decaturguy says:

    I still don’t understand how allowing gay people to get married would have any impact on heterosexual marriage or their families. The only thing gay marriage would do is allow gay people to get married and provide the same protections to their own families for which they currently do not have!

    But obviously Georgia is not yet ready for that so I have no plans to push it … but why are you trying to deny my right to exist in the name of “protecting families?”

  12. Decaturguy says:

    Oh and Tater is obviously one of those guys who just wants to hear himself and others like him talk, and not listen to the opinons of other viewpoints.

  13. Bill Simon says:

    Decatur, to be quite realistic, the concept of “gay marriage” happening in Georgia is a non-point. Last year’s Constitutional amendment rendered that possibility/hope/argument for-or-against as moot.

    Those folks who choose to use that as a campaign issue this year will get the beejeezus beaten out of them.

  14. Decaturguy says:

    I guess it would have the same effect as outlawing abortion. While it would please certain constituencies, it would take that issue away as a campaign issue.

Comments are closed.