As time winds down to the U.S. Supreme Court justices’ final ruling on the constitutionality of California’s voter-approved Prop. 8 and a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act, expected by the end of June, we are seeing some major shifts in how society, in general, treats the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. It seems as though the vocal minority is in full swing with its anti-homosexual rants while states, some of them often thought to be more conservative than liberal, and countries advocate and pass legislation approving the legalization of gay marriage.
Earlier this month, Delaware, Minnesota and Rhode Island, as well as the District of Columbia, joined Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Vermont and Washington in legalizing same-sex marriage. France, Uruguay and New Zealand also approved the legalization of same-sex marriage in the last two months, and similar legislation is currently making its way through the parliaments of Great Britain and Wales.
As for organizations and groups, the 2011 decision to repeal Don’t ask, Don’t tell in the military was groundbreaking in the name of progress. And just last week, a group known for its anti-gay policies made a rather sweeping decision: Gay children are now allowed in the century-old Boy Scouts of America. Though gay parents aren’t necessarily satisfied with the recent decision, given that gay parents still aren’t allowed to serve as scout leaders, it’s a refreshing change and a paradigm shift. There is some question about this recent about-face, however. State Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, has been pushing SB 323, the Youth Equality Act, through the state legislature, which would prohibit youth organizations from discriminating against participants based on sexual orientation, gender identity or religious affiliation, based on California’s anti-discriminatory laws, or face losing sales and corporate tax exemptions. One can’t help but wonder if the Boy Scouts’ decision was based on a true change of heart among the leaders, or merely a preemptive strike to spare the organization political infamy and financial despair. We hope the former is true — and that it is contagious among such organizations so there won’t need to be more red tape and bureaucracy and time wasted to reach the often well-intended goals of these groups.
Going with the tide of changing practices, America may be forced to change its mindset should the U.S. Supreme Court rule against the constitutionality of Prop. 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act. In the meantime, it is rather obvious that not just the United States, but the rest of world is shifting its attitude about homosexuals and how they should be treated. Despite antiquated verses in the Bible written thousands of years ago, we can’t think of one reason we should continue to single out and discriminate against them. It’s time to give discrimination a rest and though we don’t foresee the end of it any time soon, it is good to know that there is just a little less of it in our country and the world today. It’s a battle worth fighting for and a battle we hope will be heartily won for equality for everyone.