Monday, March 28, 2011

Robert - Gay

You know you can be legally fired in Missouri for being gay? You can also be evicted for being gay, or fired or evicted for looking like you might be gay.

What? I realize there is a lot of lacking in the protection of gay rights in America, but the amount of discrimination allowed to LGBTs in Missouri is astounding. The Missouri Non-Discrimination Act gives legal protection on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex, and age, yet not sexual orientation. I'm not sure if Missouri legislators simply are not aware of the omission or if they perhaps see other issues as more pressing, but it seems like an abomination to call ourselves an advanced society when not only do we keep gays from the altar, but we are allowed to keep them from our homes and work places as well. A statewide LGBT organization, PROMO, is sponsoring a bill to include sexual orientation in the Non-Discrimination Act, but apparently Stephen Webber seems to be the only mid-Missouri state legislator who has any interest in LGBT rights. It's amazing to me that gay rights in Missouri are as backward as they are.

A friend of mine recently set up a facebook group in support of the bill. The group consists mainly of her own friends, but she quickly found out through the group that a friend of a friend was kicked out of her apartment a couple years ago for living with her girlfriend. The discrimination card is available and still put into practice in the modern day. It would be illegal to kick her out because she was black or Muslim, but not if she's gay. Not if she's gay-ish. Not if her lessor arbitrarily decides she could be gay.

Even the established lines are blurred. The Non-Discrimination Act protects on the basis of sex, but say a trans person is fired from their job. A case like that could easily fall under "sex" or "sexual orientation." In such a case, on which side does the judge's hammer fall? From a legal standpoint, there is no reason why LGBT rights should not be protected. Even the stringent eye of the Catholic Church has relaxed on gays — the Catechism condemns only homosexual actions, not homosexuality in itself (of course, I doubt it would be so kind to transvestites). LGBT protection is pressing, and hopefully coming fast.

The advancement of civil rights is a glacier that movies painfully slow, but it can't be stopped. From women to blacks to the LGBT community, it seems inevitable that the trumpets of history will continue to march until we are finally legally, and then eventually socially, an inclusive country. Until then, it's up to organizations like PROMO to keep the kettle boiling and the glacier moving.