I was eight when California voters banned gay marriage in 2008. I was sixteen when I had my first crush. His name was Marcus (*not actually his name*): he was my height, he had dark hair and he told me he was gay. He also told me he would never tell his parents, that his dad hated gay people, that he was scared. Sometimes, I think about Marcus, and I wonder what could have been in a different political climate.
In the end, the Indiana religious freedom law does matter precisely because it will likely have limited future consequences. The volume and intensity of reactions in Indiana and across the country provides a strong barometer on the climate against discrimination and especially increasing passionate sentiments in favor of gay rights. The Religious Freedom Act is an extremely significant law from both a legal and a societal standpoint because it does strongly parallel the rules of the Jim Crow era and carries the debate of individual liberty versus discrimination into a broader context.
In 2011, when Tennessee’s “don’t say gay” bill threatened to make the word “gay” illicit in schools, protesters held signs: “It’s okay to be Takei.” George Takei — first famous for playing Mr. Sulu on “Star Trek” — had just posted a YouTube video, encouraging students to say “Takei” instead of “gay.”
Since his career as helmsman of the USS Enterprise, Mr. Takei has worked as an LGBT civil rights activist and accumulated a massive social media following (he has 6 million Facebook friends). He is also committed to raising awareness about his family’s experience in Japanese-American internment camps, producing a new musical on the subject, “Allegiance.”
The messy public debate that has swirled around the Chick-fil-A corporate empire over the past month is one we should be having, and one that adds an important new set of voices to the defining civil rights issue of our time.
But now, as the debate over the status of gay service members heats up again, polls for the first time suggest public support for a more open policy. And on Tuesday, a new Pentagon study reported the risk to the military’s effectiveness by repealing the policy is low.
Same-sex marriage and the (il)logic of discrimination
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, a hopeful candidate for lieutenant governor, said during a stop at Stanford on Thursday that he thinks an oil severance tax could be the solution to the cash-strapped public education system…