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Wednesday, May 05, 2004
If you know little about the southern state of Louisiana, other than your exposure to it from me here, you might believe it to be teeming with open-minded, rather free-thinking, individuals. The truth is, you'd be very, very wrong.
While not sitting exactly inside of the "Bible-belt", Louisiana is still, for all intents and purposes, a largely fanatical Christian state and (barring New Orleans, of course) very conservative. Baton Rouge itself, where I live, is one tight-ass city. Even those just from New Orleans come and are shocked at the puritan, conventional ways of the common folk.
That said, it should come as no surprise to find out where the majority of Louisianians stand on the issue of gay marriage. This article appeared in yesterdays The Advocate (the main newspaper for south Louisiana):
Group Urges Ban on Same Sex Marriages
A group of Protestant ministers, a Roman Catholic priest and a handful of legislators told a committee room overflowing with supporters Monday that Louisiana needs a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.
One of three bills in the Legislature to create that amendment is up for debate today in the Senate Judiciary A committee.
The group also opposes four pending bills that it deems pro-homosexuality.
"Sodomites have a right to marry, just not to one another," Bill Shanks, pastor of New Covenant Fellowship in New Orleans told the cheering crowd at the State Capitol.
Louisiana law already allows marriage only between a man and woman, and Louisiana does not recognize same-sex marriages from other states.
The bill being heard today would lock traditional marriage into the state constitution, making the law harder to change in the future.
According to Shanks, God views gay marriage as an abomination and, unless Louisiana bans it stronger, God might visit a calamity on the state worthy of Noah.
"One Category 5 hurricane coming up the river would take care of all Sodomite marriages -- along with ours and our churches'," he said.
The group -- which has no name -- was formed by Apostle Willie Wooten of Gideon Fellowship in New Orleans, said organizer Leslie Ellison. "It's not really an organization. Apostle Wooten led the charge," Ellison said.
The group -- ministers at the committee room's dais and people in the audience -- went to the Capitol to lobby legislators on the proposed amendment and other bills, Ellison said.
Supporters filled the 100 seats in the hearing room, crowded the aisles and clogged the hallway. House officials opened another hearing room with an audio-video feed to handle the overflow.
"We call on our lawmakers -- and especially the Black Caucus members -- to be strong and courageous as you give priority to this matter and do all that is in your power to protect historic marriage," Wooten said.
Disasters "heaped upon" Louisiana's black community occur because "a lot of our legislators are not on the side of God and His moral laws," Wooten said.
The four bills Wooten fingered for opposition, because he said they promote homosexuality, are all filed by black legislators.
· Sen. Cleo Fields, D-Baton Rouge, has Senate Bill 217 on granting sick leave. It would define a domestic partner as a spouse.
· Sen. Paulette Irons, D-New Orleans, has Senate Bill 700 on making public schools create policies on bullying. The bill, Wooten said, would force schools to teach tolerance of homosexuality.
· Rep. Karen Carter, D-New Orleans, filed House Bill 845, which would prohibit any discrimination based on sexual orientation. Wooten said it would make being homosexual a civil right.
· Rep. Ed Murray, D-New Orleans, has House Bill 1229, which would prohibit employment discrimination based on sexual orientation.
"My bill makes sense," said Murray, who described himself as a practicing Christian active in his church.
"The Christianity I practices teaches that you should respect people," Murray said. He said his bill does nothing but bar discrimination against people who are gay.
"It is not a civil-rights issue. It is not an issue of discrimination. It is a moral issue," Wooten said.
The state needs to be protected from "counterfeit" marriages that will devalue other, traditional marriages, he said.
Homosexual marriage is contrary to Scripture, said the Rev. William Maestri, a priest with the Archdiocese of New Orleans.
"If you eliminate the uniqueness of marriage, you destroy it," said the Rev. Larry Bizette of the Baton Rouge Christian Center Church.
Because voters must approve it, "the constitutional amendment will allow the people of the state of Louisiana to define what marriage is," said Gene Mills, executive director of the Louisiana Family Forum.
The measure requires approval of two thirds of the House and Senate and majority approval by voters this fall.
One legislator, Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Metairie, told the crowd that protecting traditional marriage in the state's constitution is vital.
A recent court decision in Massachusetts and actions by the "rogue" mayor of San Francisco to sanction same-sex marriages could force the state to accept those marriages, he said.
Scalise is one of the sponsors of another constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages.
We're working with some real geniuses here, folks.
My favorite line, also that of my gay friends that have read this bilge, is that a major storm will come and wipe out the state if gays are allowed to marry. That's right, their ever-loving and I'm-so-damn-peaceful-I-have-a-dove-for-one-of-my-symbols God is going to rain down a Category 5 Hurricane on Louisiana if gays are allowed to marry. Makes perfect sense to me.
And I'm angered, but not surprised, by this charming line:
...has Senate Bill 700 on making public schools create policies on bullying. The bill, Wooten said, would force schools to teach tolerance of homosexuality.
Oh for fuck's sake, let's not do that. Let's teach children that it's a-okay to beat up anyone in school they think might be gay. All the world needs is a few more horrible Matthew Shepard incidents; it's ok to bully and hurt gay people because "God doesn't like them". Yes, that's what I'd want to teach MY children. I thought Jesus taught to love everyone - even those you consider your enemies.
And are we living in the Middle Ages again? Make it okay to fire someone because of their sexual preference?? "Yes, sorry, Frank, you're the best employee we've got, you work your ass off, meet all deadlines and get along with everyone here at the office. But we found out you're gay, so we're going to have to let you go. You understand." Give me a fucking break.
Their big main gripe is, as always, about Sodom. Supposedly (though it never officially says so), the Sodomites were gay - so gay people today are sodomites; evil as can be. So what about lesbians? I always wondered...does God like lesbians, then?
I'm convinced that "Apostle Willie Wooten", leader of some anonymous "group", is nothing but a fucking crock anyway, but still. All of these other somewhat valid religious leaders going to rally against equality and the entire love-everyone concept fills me with anger, and shame for my home state.
God is Love they always like to say, but he HATES gay people. Where in the love is there room for hate? Why does God hate gay people? I've read, in one of those infamous Chick Tracts (my version - Trick Tracts) that sodomy was the only sin God ever wiped out an entire city for. Excuse me, didn't the old bastard wipe out the entire world once because everyone was so cruel and unloving? Yeah, thought so. I can't believe in a homophobic God, I'm sorry. God is so above our human foibles and worries and judgements it's not even funny. At one time, people read into the Bible and believed that God created black people to be slaves - it didn't make it TRUE or RIGHT! Chew on that one for a bit.
We can't give them equal rights because they are different - they are gay and we are not. Isn't the entire foundation of the United States equality for all? But still, blacks and women had to fight for their rights, and now, so do gay people. Want to hear the argument I always hear to that statement? "It's different - women can't help being female, and blacks can't change their skin color. They were born that way. Gay people choose to be gay." Oh, really? And you know this for a fact? Okay then, let's play a little game, Conservative Homophobe, I want you, right now, to choose to be attracted to, and able to have a relationship with, someone of the same sex. Come on, right now, do it. If it's so easy to just "not be gay", then try it. Do you choose to be straight?! No, you were born that way. So what's the fucking difference, you morons?
The whole mess makes me sick - it's so unfair and completely not right on so many different levels. I've never seen the Christian church do much of anything good, and this just furthers that stance. Burn the witches, strike down the non-conformists, stone the New Age shops, stamp out the gays. Welcome to the cult of Christ - believe or be damned.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got to go board up my windows for that Category 5 hurricane that is going to beat down on my bi-sexual self's house while I sit in a tub full of ice preparing for my downward descent into hell because I hang out with and support all these sodomites. Because, remember kiddies, "Sodomites have a right to marry - just not to one another."