Thursday, December 15, 2005

Community Mindedness with a Homosexual Twist

Something cool and at the very same time sad is taking place today in my new hometown. On my ride into the office in the morning I listen to The Bert Show on the radio. Howard Stern isn’t on down here and I don’t have my Sirius Satellite Radio hooked up yet so my options are limited. Bert and his gang are kind of a watered down imitation of Howard. They aren’t bad to listen to, but I wouldn’t say there is anything edgy about them. They are non-political, kind of a decaf latte version of a morning show. However, they do some really good work around the city. When Hurricane Katrina flattened New Orleans, Georgia was flooded with refugees. Approximately 7000 children from Louisiana entered Georgia schools over a one month period of time, many of them had lost everything. The Bert Show organized a backpack drive to make sure that all the kids who came into the state had brand new school supplies, and a little money to buy new clothes with. They did an outstanding job on it. They also do something called Bert’s Big Adventure where they take sick and physically challenged children to Disney World. It is another very noble pursuit that has a lot of community benefit. That brings us to today.

One of the cast members, Melissa Carter, is an openly gay woman. Tonight she is hosting a Holigay party at a club here in Atlanta. They are hosting this party because the holidays are an especially troubling time for homosexuals who are not out or able to be out at their offices. She recently talked on the show about how homosexuals are still routinely discriminated against in the workplace and how coming out, or being open about their lifestyle can lead to the unemployment line. So it is a cool thing they are doing, to make a safe and enjoyable holiday event for the gay Atlanta community to bring their significant others to, but at the same time it makes me sad that this is necessary. Imagine it was still OK to fire people because they were Jews, or black, or whatever. It reminded me of something I wrote during the original incarnation of this blog. In relation to today’s topic I thought it was poignant to reprint it.

The gay population

Depending upon the statistics you believe, between 6% and 10% of the population of the United States considers themselves gay. At a population of 290 million that means that between 17,400,000 and 29 million gay people reside in the United States. For the sake of discussion let's say it ranges to the low end and the number of gay Americans comes in at a flat 20 million. That makes the homosexual community the third largest minority in this country behind African American and Latin American ethnic minorities.

How can we stomach discrimination against them? As a society that has grown and advanced socially and tried desperately to rise out of our own intolerance how can suggest that gay couples shouldn't be allowed to marry? How can we suggest that domestic partners don't deserve the same kind of social security and insurance protections that hetero couples do? How can we try and adopt a constitutional amendment that would define marriage and make homosexuals less than full citizens of our country? Wouldn't that be the same sort of legislative discrimination as counting slaves as 2/3 of a free person? Judeo-Christian ideas about marriage have no place in politics. I am a Jew, but I don't care what the Torah says about homosexuals. Society is a lot more complicated now than it was then and we understand a lot more about humanity. We should behave in a just and humane way towards our fellow citizens and that is the only ideology from the Old and New Testaments that matters. All men and women were created equal. All deserve equal protection under the law. All deserve equal protection in our hearts.

Prejudice is the child of ignorance, we need to get enlightened.

No 1 of Consequence

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