30 January 2009 ~ 0 Comments

Americans should learn from Icelanders

Here in California, amidst Arnold bucks and marriage equality lobby day, the4th district court of appeals ruled that a California Lutheran high school was free to expel students based on sexual orientation since it was not a ‘business’ and did not have to comply with anti-discrimination laws.
In ruling in favor of the school, the appeals court cited a 1998 California Supreme Court decision that said the Boy Scouts of America was a social organization, not a business establishment, and therefore did not have to comply with the Unruh Civil Rights Act. That case also involved a discrimination complaint based on sexual orientation.
Huh? Wait, discrimination based on sexual orientation is supposed to meet strict scrutiny standards much like discrimination based on race and sex. Is the Court saying that the private religious school is a social organization that can also expel ethnic minorities and women? This ruling gives private schools in California an open license to go on a 21st century witchhunt and expel students based on what social categories they fit in.
The other side of the Atlantic is a little more sane. Iceland’s longest-serving MP, Johanna Sigurdardottir, stands for the “little guy.”  She has devoted her life to public service, going from an air stewardess to a union official, which finally led her into politics. And she is widely expected to become Prime Minister of Iceland. And the icing on the top? Icelanders could not care less that she is gay.

In fact, Iceland approved same-sex marriage in 1996 — I was happily running around in 7th grade at the time. A year later, Fiji became the second country in the world to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation from the Constitution.

Congratulations Americans, you are about 12 years behind civilization.

Is it religion? Europe did send all of its loonies and then criminal loonies to the ‘colonies’ 400 years ago. Is it geography? Separated from major political powers and centers through the vast Pacific and Atlantic, Americans seem to think they are the center of the world and it doesn’t extend beyond their little sphere. Or is it just plain old idioticy that Americans seem to inherit through the failure of their public education system?

Here in the United States we have to deal with politicians like Barack Obama, the embarrassing poster child for ‘change’ who can’t even openly support gay marriage due to his cowardice. Empty rhetoric, which includes dropping the word ‘gay’ conveniently into teleprompter speeches, may appease some queers but at the end of the day, without any real action for changing social conditions, it is still empty rhetoric. Anyone remember the great friend of queers–President Bill Clinton–Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and Defense of Marriage Act?

I can imagine the history books 100 years from now:  “Even though President Barack Obama seemed quite progressive in some respects, he still failed to support full civil rights for gays and lesbians.”

Hat Tip: Andre

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