Indiana’s governor, Mike Pence, has introduced a new level of legislative stupidity, short-sightedness, and fear into the political arena, a law that allows businesses to refuse service to gay and lesbian married couples. The governor says that it allows Christian business owners to express their protest of gay marriage and it isn’t discriminatory. Really? What does it do then, since it allows businesses to decide who they will and won’t serve based on an arbitrary determination that cannot possibly be known without another level of intrusion into someone’s private life?
While those who are against gay marriage may agree with this legislation, would they still agree if the legislation denied service to women, or was based on age, skin color, ethnicity, height, weight, religion, or some other arbitrary measure of social suitability? And if this legislation is supported by the ‘Christian’ community and reflects ‘Christian’ values, shouldn’t this group be the most tolerant of all? Didn’t Jesus say ‘Love one another’? I don’t recall there being an ‘except’ clause in that statement.
And I’m curious, how are they going to decide who is gay and who isn’t? How will they know?
Is there a ‘homosexual ‘type’? Are they a particular color, size, or shape? That’s profiling and it is illegal and discriminatory We had that at one time in this country, laws that clearly spelled out what you could and could not do based on the color of your skin or your gender. There was a time, less than 50 years ago, when skin color determined where you could live, work, eat, and drink. While most women in the U.S. today have social rights and benefits, they have been around for less than 100 years. Who wants to reintroduce those laws and that mindset? I certainly don’t. No one is going to tell me where I can sit, drink, live, or eat based on the color of my skin, or whether I can vote, own a home, drive, or work because I am a woman.
Are they going to make people start carrying some sort of identification to prove that they are or are not homosexual? Maybe they should have to wear a pink star on their lapel. That was done in Nazi Germany in the 1920s and look how that worked out.
Will they assume that if two men or two women are together then they’re a gay couple? That’s going to cost them a lot of business because many men and women often go out together to socialize and many of them aren’t gay. And even if they are, who cares, what difference does it make, and why is it someone’s business?
But if these people who want to protest against homosexuality and gay marriage, then they should go all the way and stop using everything that has ever been associated with the gay community.
They need to stop using computers because the person who invented the foundation for that technology, Alan Turing, was gay.
They should stop using all Apple products, because Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, recently announced that he is gay.
They should immediately get rid of all of their designer clothes, shoes, jewelry, and handbags, because many people in the fashion industry are gay.
They should stop reading literature and seeing plays, because many celebrated authors and playwrights, like Oscar Wilde, Marcel Proust, Tennessee Williams, Emily Dickinson, and many others, were gay.
They probably want to stop watching movies, because many actors and actresses are gay, although it’s hard to tell because they often play ‘straight’ people. Do you remember Rock Hudson, America’s hearthrob in the 1950s? He was gay, although few people knew that about him.
They need to make sure that none of the police, firemen, and hospital workers they depend on in an emergency are gay. Who wants to have a gay person administer life saving care?
Maybe that should be posted on signs in every city government office in Indiana, ‘No gay applicants allowed.’
Are hotels allowed to deny service to gay couples or to anyone they suspect is gay?
Should mortgage companies and banks refuse to finance loans for houses that will be occupied by gay couples?
And are neighbors going to have to report ‘suspicious gay activity’ to the authorities? That also happened in Nazi Germany and again, look at the result of those policies.
Fortunately, this legislation has generated a lot of pushback from people all across America who see it for what it is, bigotry, hatred, small mindedness, and a trip back into an era we have thankfully left behind. Or so we thought. In the words that are often attributed to Thomas Jefferson, ‘Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty’ and although it is unthinkable that we’re having this discussion in the 21st century, here we are.
The question for all of us is, ‘what are we going to do about it?’ Are we going to let a few, small minded, bigoted people determine whether freedom and liberty are available to everyone, or to just that narrow sub-group (which invariably would include them), that is deemed to be socially acceptable? And as an addendum, this applies to all 19 states that currently have ‘religious freedom’ laws on their books — some of them are a little shocking, since I thought these states were more liberal. Idaho, New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Illinois, Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, South Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. Arkansas has ‘religious freedom’ legislation pending.
This is more than an issue of selective discrimination, though, it’s about our social boundaries. When we start selectively excluding people and groups from general social rights, we set a process in motion that leads to more of the same. Why stop with gay couples? Next we’ll reinstate exclusion based on color, ethnicity, gender, and age. Why not? The judicial process works on precedent, and if we allow this one to pass, it becomes a precedent for future discriminatory legislation. We have been down this road once, do we really want to go down it again? I know I don’t. I don’t care whether someone is gay or not, what color their skin is, where they were born, who they vote for, or how old they are. I am more interested in their kindness, compassion, generosity of spirit, fair-mindedness, and heart.
I wonder why a vast majority of public officials seem to drop half of their IQ points when they take public office. Mike Pence is definitely not running on all cylinders here. But he has opened a discussion that we need to engage in and decide whether we want a world that is inclusive or exclusive, where we truly are ‘one nation’, or we allow petty, bigoted, small minded people to write in the exceptions based on their fears and phobias.
And since Governor Pence is going to be a shining example of his legislation in practice, I expect to see him publicly getting rid of his computer, cell phone, and everything else that could be remotely associated with a gay person’s efforts because, after all, if you’re going to do something, you might as well do it all the way, right?
Seriously, I am appalled at this legislation but heartened by the activism that has been displayed by many voices, including business leaders who know that once we start down that slippery path, it won’t be long before we fall into the abyss of discrimination and hatred that we have only recently climbed out of. It’s a shining moment for us to remember that we can’t talk about freedom in an exclusive conversation and if we allow this legislation to pass because we think it doesn’t affect us personally, it’s only a matter of time before we’re the victim of legislation and laws that deny us our personal rights and freedoms.
Holocaust Remembrance Day is April 15, 2015, a sobering reminder of what happens when bigotry becomes interwoven into the fabric of society, as the phobias of a few fuel the hatred that has the power to make us forget that we are the family of humanity, and foster a collective phobia that erodes compassion, tolerance, acceptance, and love until it becomes a force that can destroy the world and everyone in it.
About Jennifer Hoffman
As a leading voice in the self-awareness, spiritual, and empowerment movement, and one of the world’s most celebrated and accurate intuitives, I have guided millions to more joyful, fulfilling living, via a business I began in 2004. I host the internet’s most popular radio show, write the world’s most widely read and shared weekly newsletter, with more than 3 million readers, and have a loyal and dedicated audience and customer base. Prior to that I had a successful 20 year career in finance, technology, law, and business. I left my career after my 6th job layoff in 8 years (typical of the technology sector) and decided I was going to follow my real calling, to write, teach, and encourage others to express their highest potential. My first book, ‘The e-Business Primer’, was the first publication to introduce e-business and the internet as a sales and marketing medium, and it was used by the University of Phoenix in their flagship e-business program. In 2001 the University of Phoenix asked me to write the material for their e-business courses, the first e-commerce based degree track offered by a university.
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