As I write this, Arizona Senate Bill 1062 has been passed by the Arizona State Legislature and sits on Governor Jan Brewer’s desk for either signature into law or veto. She vetoed this very same law last year but there is some concern whether she will veto it again. The opposition to this bill is nationwide and growing, but is based on numerous reasons depending on the group opposed to it.
For the LGBT community, it’s because is codifies discrimination against their community.
For religious groups, it’s because its written under the guise of “religious freedom” and therefore is contrary to mainstream religious values of tolerance.
For the business community and Chamber of Commerce it’s bad business that will drive people away.
For politicians its bad politics in a political year where the GOP is already seen as too intolerant to too many groups.
The only consensus regarding SB 1062 are those in support of it. They support it because they hate the gay community and want protection to be allowed to discriminate against a group they see as vile and less than human. Though they don’t say it openly, when you try to discuss this bill with that group, that is what you come away with.
Regardless if SB1062 is signed or vetoed, the problem in Arizona remains. Under current law employers can fire you for being gay, that is a fact. SB1062 doesn’t effect that reality one iota. The concern for those in favor of codifying their bigotry is they fear what happened in New Mexico could happen to them; they could be sued for denial of civil rights.
The problem in Arizona and other States and nations like Uganda regarding homosexuals is a misconception of who the LGBT community is. On one end you have those who say you are gay because of genetics, on the other end you have those who say it is strictly learned and is part of the culture. Well as with many arguments the reality is somewhere in the middle. It lies more with the genetic side than the cultural side. However culture does play into the matter but not as those opposed to the community would have people think.
Research continues to show more evidence that genetics plays a role in sexual orientation as it does skin color, eye color, hair color etc. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071107170741.htm. So if this is true, people are born to either be attracted to same sex or opposite sex. This is true in the “animal kingdom” too.
For those who say that this cannot be true or natural because the species would die off, I would suggest that we all carry genetic traits that either kill us or result in the inability to procreate. Perhaps this is nature’s way of population control. Who knows but the science is becoming conclusive that sexual orientation is more who you are, not what you are taught.
Another fallacy of those who oppose the homosexual community is their insistence that in addition to the view it is learned, homosexuals compel others to join in by exposing people to the gay lifestyle. They believe that once someone can be taught to be “gay” they can be untaught via gay conversion therapy. This has been completely discounted over the years as quite frankly a fraud. Here are five facts about gay conversion therapy people need to know http://www.livescience.com/37139-facts-about-gay-conversion-therapy.html.
The above fallacy leads to another more damning and disproven fallacy that the overwhelming number of homosexuals are pedophiles. They equate pedophilia to homosexuality. There is no validated supported research to support this fallacy. It has been studied thoroughly. There is no link to being homosexual and wanting to molest young children. The frequency of this act is equal among homosexuals and heterosexuals http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/09/18/903178/-Gays-are-pedophiles-No-Here-s-the-proof.
So now to the position that homosexuality is cultural.
Well to some extent it is. It is a sociological and psychological fact that humans in a group tend to develop cultural similarities over time. What moves humans into groups? Well geography, common interests, genetic traits, history, political ideology, the list is endless.
There is a European Culture that is broken down to an English Culture, French Culture, German Culture; Spanish Culture all developed over history and proximity to one another. It is the same for each region of this planet.
There is a Religious culture broken down into Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhist, Hindu, Atheist, etc.
There is a Christian culture broken down to Catholic, Protestant, Latter Day Saints, Episcopalian, etc. Again developed over time and proximity to one another.
There is a Caucasian Culture, a Black Culture, an Asian Culture, Native American Culture; Semitic Culture all developed over time and proximity to one another.
There is a “Deaf Culture” developed over time and proximity to one another of those afflicted with being deaf. It is interesting to note this culture opposes medical technology to give them the ability to hear again.
There is a Blind Culture, a Gun Culture, a Hunting Culture and yes a Homosexual Culture. The culture exists because homosexuality has existed as long as humankind has existed, they have history, common values and concerns and proximity so they develop a culture among themselves.
Finally it’s true about Bigotry. That is also a culture.
I ask which culture is more harmful to society. Bigotry has no genetic link that has been found, it is learned pure and simple and is destructive to those around it.
So where does this leave us?
I personally support Gay rights. I also support religious freedom, political freedom, freedom of choice, freedom of speech, freedom of association and I DO NOT believe these freedoms are in conflict with one another.
If we are a mature and sophisticated society, we learn to embrace the differences in the various cultures and genetic variations we humans have on the piece of land we inhabit and learn to cooperate and assist each other in our survival, wellbeing and grow as a society. Tolerance is key.
To codify intolerance is counterproductive to the growth and maturity of a society. If SB1062 is vetoed it actually changes nothing in the State of Arizona. Bigotry against the gay community is already legal here.
Regardless of what Jan Brewer does, we need a voter driven initiative in this state to codify tolerance as a society that leaves no one out regardless of genetic predisposition or cultural leanings. We need to make it illegal to discriminate against anyone because they are gay and make you feel icky.
If the extreme right wing religious folks don’t want to associate with the homosexual community in their churches or homes, they have that right. However out in the community we all share and all need equal access to, no one has that right.
The only intolerance permissible in a free society is the intolerance of intolerant people.