2013 was a monumental year for gay rights activists. After five years of nasty deliberations and protests, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) held California’s ban on gay marriage, Prop. 8, unconstitutional and the Defense of Marriage Act was struck down; the act was a federal law that allowed states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages performed under the laws of other states. Shortly thereafter, similar bans in 26 states were overturned. Fourteen states still have those bans but they are under court challenge; same-sex marriage is now legal in 36 states.
In light of the rulings in 2013, gay rights activists have continued with their mission of achieving marriage equality. The SCOTUS agreed earlier this year that it would rule on the authority of the states to ban same-sex marriages and to refuse to recognize such marriages performed in another state, with the decisions expected to come out in June. While it might seem that the justices would rule in support of more freedom, SCOTUS can be somewhat of a wildcard. We don’t feel settled on it, but we do have high hopes that the decision would be obvious.
With all this progress for the LGBTQ community, it’s not a big surprise that some must find ways to fuel their disdain, or really hatred, toward this small segment of the population — according to a 2013 survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, less than 4 percent of the population identify as gay, lesbian or bisexual. In the last month, both Indiana and Arkansas passed “religious freedom” laws, whereby business owners can use religious freedom as a defense in lawsuits, should proprietors choose not to serve gays. Opponents of these bills say that while it is not outright discrimination, it does open up the path to it. We agree. Further, how many people have the money and time to take business owners to court for refusing service? This is not fair or right.
What is even more mind boggling are the stats — we are ensuring our rights to refuse service on the slim chance that particular business owners who disagree with homosexuality will have to do business with this minority? It’s ludicrous. Don’t people have better things to do with their time than to worry about a gay couple ordering a cake? Just bake the cake. Or better yet, post a sign saying “We will serve gays but we do not like or respect them.” That way everyone will know the owners’ religious beliefs since they want to project their own beliefs onto others by refusing to serve them.
On the brink of insanity, though, right here in California, an Orange County attorney wants to put the “Sodomite Suppression Act” on the ballot, calling for the death of anyone who engages in sodomy, specifically targeting same-sex sodomy. While this initiative is sickening, apparently, so as not to restrain voters’ ability to create laws themselves, it has a chance of actually making it to the ballot. We know this will never pass, but then again, we passed Prop. 8 and voted against legalizing marijuana, so it seems that the initiative process in California is a bit unpredictable. But this whole situation begs, or really screams for ballot initiative reform. With a handful of signatures and $200, anything can get moving toward the ballot. We understand that constitutional review by SCOTUS before making it to the ballot may be out of the question in regard to reform, but with all the time and money wasted on such endeavors, much less the blatant disregard to the right to life and liberty with this particular initiative, something has got to give. It is frustrating that we have even given this attorney any credence by mentioning the matter but given that we may see this on the ballot, it needs to be addressed.
In the end, what this all boils down to is the fact that people just can’t seem to mind their own business. There will always be those who hate and there will be just as many or more who will fend off that lunacy and will be the voice of such a small minority. Why can’t we just mind our own business when it comes to two consenting adults and their sex lives? What’s the obsession? It’s time to stop worrying about what people do in their bedrooms and just focus on being productive and healthy members of society. Religion is a choice. Sexuality is not. Let’s move on already.