Evolving Peace

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Friday, September 07, 2007

Move Vermont and People Forward

Over a month ago, Vermont’s Legislative leaders, House Speaker Gaye Symington and Senate President Pro-Tem Peter Shumlin announced their formation of a commission to study the legalization of gay marriage. For those outside of Vermont, Vermont was the first state to pass a civil unions law that granted rights for the gay to join in a civil union, but feel short of passing fully equality. To Shumlin and Symington, I agree that when it an issue occurs in regarding rights there is no better time to address them but now. Here in Vermont, debate is starting to shape forward in proclaiming the rights of the gay community.

When civil unions did pass there were those who took offense to it and for that they mounted a full counter attack; however their efforts where futile because it was mixed with intolerant religious rhetoric and homophobic fear. “Take Back Vermont” was their charge and their voices rocked the political climate of Vermont. A sleeping giant of right wing conservatism was woken up but despite their protests civil unions became law. Up until just recently, the backlash had been mere echoes of the turbulent times, for you can still see some of the signs posted along the back roads broadcasting their message of fear.

Those voices had been quite but now Symington and Shumlin have decided that the time was right to reintroduce the issue of gay marriages, they are awakening again. This time the things have changed and states throughout the country are not only passing civil unions, but also gay marriage legislation. Vermont is merely alone its recourse for it is joined with the strength of the prevailing winds. These statutory rules are not being replaced by legislatures, but by the courts. Iowa’s (not a hot bed of progressive ideals) Supreme Court had just struck down Iowa’s ban on the grounds of constitutionality last week, at now gay marriages has hit the heartland of America.

The times are changing; however there is still a token of resistance and many political pundits question the congeniality of the commission. To some there is worry about bring out old wounds and a just a desire to keep the issue at bay, but I refute that claim, for “No one is free when others are oppressed” and “Separate but equal is not equal. When is it good to give some one their rights? Today is the right time and not later. There are still people who feel that it was legitimate to discriminate against African-Americans, but our laws changed because it was the right thing to do. As with racism the country did not wait for the right time, for the time is then, and therefore the time is now. We did not evolve into our system of laws because a few people did not want to insult the voices of the “intolerable, racists,” nor should we do that now for the “homophobic.”

As they introduced their plans, I applauded them for being bold and pushing the issue to the forefront. A particular legislator in VT had told me that the way he counteracts his constituents who are opposed to gay rights is to simply ask them how they have become adversely affected by a homosexual individual. Not once, has he gotten a reply and I am sure that 99.9 percent of the time that will be the case. The world had not ended when civil unions were passed nor will then gay marriage cause it as well. However, there are those who claim it based on their religion and to refute that is to remind them of the separation of church and state. We as individuals can not make our religious views applicable to the law for we do not live in a religious theocracy (at least not yet).

While, I pontificate the expansions of rights, I want to remind people of what others out there may see. The more and more the issue is brought about the mere it will be shown that those opposed to it are merely fearful and disillusion individuals that are in need of education and learning tolerance. Below is a letter that was printed in Friday’s Times Argus and it shows that point:

Lawmakers should reject gay marriage
September 5, 2007
So our legislators in Montpelier have appointed a biased and one-sided committee to study gay "marriage," and think it will look legitimate if they stick just one token opponent on it? Oh, please!

Is it any wonder the Muslim people of the world hate us Americans so? After all, their holiest book, the Koran, teaches them that homosexual behavior is one of the world's great evils (as indeed so teaches our own Christian Bible — but we tend to ignore that).

So it should not be surprising that the extremists among them plot our destruction.

9/11 will soon seem like a garden party compared to the horrors ahead of us, and we have brought it all upon ourselves. If we are all too wimpish to show any respect for the teachings of our own Bible, lets hope our Legislature can at least avoid insulting dedicated worshipers of the Muslim faith with such trash legislation.

I left this persons name out, on the mere thought that he is already going through so much pain and anger that to write his name would just add fuel to his fire. That is why, I say let them debate the issue because their spokespeople are working on fear and not on reason and the more they speak the more they discredit themselves. Take Vermont forward!!!

Robb Kidd

“Only the extremely ignorant or the extremely intelligent can resist change.” Socrates


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