Discrimination against gays approved by Attorney General, prepare for rainbows of wrath

Eric Hill

Opinion Editor

One more bigot has given me a very good reason to go on a rant. This time it is our very own Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. The Italian rapscallion wrote a four page letter to the public universities of Virginia to clarify the legal status of their extra-judicious anti-discrimination policies. The clarification being that those schools which had “approve(d) inclusion of ‘sexual orientation,’ ‘gender identity,’ ‘gender expression,’ or like expressions in the discrimination policy” were not legally obligated or allowed to do so.

Here follows the “pro” side of this policy:

Now we can go on gay bashing! We’ll be able to paint the town red in queer’s blood and tell them where they should really put it.  While we’re at it, we could stop by the attorney general’s office and put him at the head of the pack with a bloodhound, so we can find them and put them in stockades on the capital lawn. We would not be done until every bugger is beaten and burned for their heinous sins.

Does that really sound like a good idea to anybody? Does anyone reading this paper enjoy the idea of punishing gay people? Do you feel excited at the prospect of kicking gay people out of your establishment because you don’t like the fact that they have sex with people of the same gender?  Perhaps you have been scheming of a way to get rid of that transgender employee who works at your office? Do you want your campus to be “fey-free”?  If you answered yes to any of these questions, you have just been given a free pass, courtesy of Ken Cuccinelli.

Of course, like the Oscars, you can’t thank just one person in your acceptance speech. I would like to thank all of the members of the General Assembly, who have not been able to pass legislation extending equal protection under the law to homosexuals. Without you guys, the attorney general would have no reason to write that letter, because he is obligated to agree with the law unless he decides to be socially progressive, which he clearly isn’t.

I would also like to thank Gov. Bob McDonnell, who attempted to nullify former Gov. Tim Kaine’s executive order extending equal protections regarding sexual orientation when he was attorney general in 2006. Now that he has become governor, he was finally able to complete his mission last month by rescinding Kaine’s order so as not to obstruct the good justice that the law provides. Now we can truly be free, to be bigots toward all of the carpet munching, godless, dirty, heathens we despise.

Here follows my real opinion:

Are you sick to your stomach yet? It is hard to digest vitriolic words from a prejudiced person. We tend to think abstractly when we hear of gay rights in the news (unless of course you’re gay). It keeps us from feeling the pain that those people feel when they’ve been told they are not protected by their own government, no less on the basis of something as private as who they sleep with. Even worse is contemplating the fact that even though I wrote a few paragraphs of prejudice, some people out there carry those thoughts around with them every day.

The argument that Cucinelli constructed in his letter hides behind the law like a little boy hides behind his mother when he has done something wrong. He claims the law can’t be contradicted, that unless the General Assembly approves an extension of rights to homosexuals, it would create a “litany of instances in which the schools operation would need to change in order to come into conformance.”  That’s the argument of “I’m not doing my laundry because I have to pick it up off of the floor, and that’s just too hard.”

To moderates who say I am being too harsh of a critic of the other side, for those who call this too extreme for print—I say hang this law. A little more than 150 years ago African-American slaves were legally classified as “three-fifths” of a person in some states.  That was considered “moderate.” Anti-discrimination policies exist because discrimination exists. Removing judicial protections because it satisfies a political constituency without a valid rationale is exactly what happened when we came up with “separate but equal.” Nothing is equal about being separate, and abolishing protections for a group that is subject to hate crimes does not mean hate crimes go away.

This is a political football, and I am tired of playing. No one benefits when a group is denied their rights. To those who say rights are decided by the majority and that people of different sexual orientations may not have “rights,” I reply that you have just condemned your fellow man as something less than human. Who gave you that authority? Are a band of bigots more legally correct because they all agree on their bigotry? In this case, the commonwealth of Virginia has answered yes to that question.

This is a scare tactic designed to quash the one group of people who can assert themselves against state mandated social policy: the student body. I’m very sure the university president and the Board of Visitors don’t want to get into a legal dispute with the attorney general when state funding is dwindling, so don’t expect them to jump on the bandwagon until you have demonstrated the full veracity of your passions.

If the law is to change, you must fight for it. You must beat back the tide of ignorance with your bare fists, you must gather every voice until the clamor rings in the ears of everyone around you, you must argue with imbeciles and cowards and the apathetic until they are proven wrong on every level—and then you have to make them shout as well. Changes do not happen passively; civilization is propped up by people, not doormats.

Sexuality forms a core part of the human identity. It is not a choice to love someone, or to have desire for someone. Anyone who has truly felt these emotions can attest to that. Opponents of equal rights for the non-heterosexual community cannot grasp there are people born to love and express themselves in a different way, that gender identity comes in more than two forms. In fact, most of the people who hold these opinions have been trained to loath the concept. It is in the impression of childhood that the culture of self-righteous impunity is grown, where hate springs forth in all of its perverse ignorance. It spreads, when those who refuse to think adopt that hatred, believing that the excision or silence of a certain group of people will solve their problems.

On Wednesday the student body gathered several hundred people to the student commons to pronounce that they will not bend to the will of an unjust law. They took their hearts in their hands and marched to the state capitol, to show them that this is far from settled. It was the first step, and the journey will be very long. It will take the cooperation of all of Virginia’s colleges working together. It will mean arguing with your parents, public officials, neighbors and people who you may be afraid of. It will mean petitioning, it will mean declaring, it will mean demanding. It will mean struggle. At the end, when we succeed, it will mean being able to stand next to our gay, lesbian and transgender brothers and sisters, truly free and equal in the nation of liberty.

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