3/16/2005

My Verse-My Voice

"The powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?"
-Robin Williams' "Mr. Keating" in Dead Poet's Society

On March 11 in our local newspaper, The Tennessean, I added my verse, my voice, to others out there vying to be heard. The Tennessee Legislature is attempting to pass up to eight different bills this year against the gay and lesbian citizens of this state. The worst is not even against us, but against our children (or potential children). There are over 9,000 children in state homes in Tennessee. Last year, only 1,000 were successfully adopted.

The initial legislation was to completely bar anyone gay from being a foster or adoptive parent (single or "cohabitating"-since marriage isn't an option, you know); however, it went one step further in that it would bar placement in any home where a gay person lived. Therefore, a heterosexual couple couldn't foster if their lezzie aunt lived in the basement. This just put Tennessee above and beyond Florida and Virginia for homophobic stupidity, so the legislators decided to water it down to get it through committee.

Now, heterosexuals get "priority" in adoption cases. Okay, so if I want a leg up on the competition, I need to either A)produce a marriage license to prove my heterosexuality or B) if I am gay and still desperately want a child pretend to be straight to get around the system. Inevitably, it comes down to who we sleep with not whether we can care for a child, that makes us a good parent.

This is discrimination in coded-language. As I said in my Letter to the Editor, "The ''watered-down'' version is nothing more than a roundabout way of saying the state of Tennessee is not discriminating against gay couples, but giving preference to heterosexual couples. Heterosexual couples also get preference in marriage rights, insurance benefits, hospital visitation, hospice care, VA benefits and care, etc., but don't include the word ''homosexual'' in a bill and it's suddenly not discrimination but preference."

Listen to any anti-gay person who is opposed to marriage rights or any rights for gay people. They insist they are not anti-gay because they don't use the word "gay" or "homosexual" in the bills/amendments to limit rights. They just give "preference" to heterosexuals, families, faith-based institutions, etc., but if we want to be a part of their "privileged world" then it's suddenly "special rights" for queers.

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