I Agree With B’ham Councilor Roderick Royal
This is what he said yesterday in voting to reject a non-binding resolution that would have condemned discrimination on the basis of, among other things, sexual orientation:
“I’m concerned with the lobby for gay and lesbian rights that somehow or another this group insists on equating their movement with the movement for civil rights,” he said. “This is not to say that their movement is not legitimate, but it is to say that to equate it with the noble movement of civil rights does not compare.”
No it does not compare. It was never a crime to be black. Blacks could at least marry each other. And if the argument is that gay people choose to be gay, and therefore bring their problems on themselves, well, then, black people chose to remain in the segregated south and so brought their problems on themselves. Idiot.
Not just an idiot, but an ungrateful, selfish, hypocritical idiot. I am sorry, but I would much prefer an across the board bigot to a person who intones about principles of equality when his own group is being attacked, but then tosses those principles aside the minute anyone tries to apply them to a new context.
Update: Even though Roderick Royal, Joel Montgomery, Miriam Witherspoon, and Steven Hoyt are ignorant homophobes, and this resolution was just a non-binding statement of principles, I still think they should have supported it. Why? Two reasons.
First, Even if you think homosexuality is an “objective disorder” you cannot deny the positive impact gay people have made to communities. I know my neighborhood would not be anything close to the wonderful place it is today were it not for the large number of gay urban pioneers who began renovations during the 1990’s. No matter whether being gay is good, bad or indifferent, these folks are generally a benefit to their cities. Yet our City just told them they are second-class citizens.
Second, we all know about the so-called creative class, a group B’ham has actively tried to recruit:
The distinguishing characteristic of the creative class is that its members engage in work whose function is to “create meaningful new forms.” The super- creative core of this new class includes scientists and engineers, university professors, poets and novelists, artists, entertainers, actors, designers, and architects, as well as the “thought leadership” of modern society: nonfiction writers, editors, cultural figures, think-tank researchers, analysts, and other opinion-makers. Members of this super-creative core produce new forms or designs that are readily transferable and broadly useful—such as designing a product that can be widely made, sold and used; coming up with a theorem or strategy that can be applied in many cases; or composing music that can be performed again and again.
Beyond this core group, the creative class also includes “creative professionals” who work in a wide range of knowledge-intensive industries such as high-tech sectors, financial services, the legal and healthcare professions, and business management. These people engage in creative problem-solving, drawing on complex bodies of knowledge to solve specific problems. Doing so typically requires a high degree of formal education and thus a high level of human capital. People who do this kind of work may sometimes come up with methods or products that turn out to be widely useful, but it’s not part of the basic job description. What they are required to do regularly is think on their own. They apply or combine standard approaches in unique ways to fit the situation, exercise a great deal of judgment, perhaps try something radically new from time to time.
These are the folks who will make the money, write the books, sing the songs, and do all the other things that make a community a great place to live.
And the four juvenile a**holes on the council who rejected the resolution just told the members of this class that B’ham does not want them:
Talented people seek an environment open to differences. Many highly creative people, regardless of ethnic background or sexual orientation, grew up feeling like outsiders, different in some way from most of their schoolmates. When they are sizing up a new company and community, acceptance of diversity and of gays in particular is a sign that reads “non-standard people welcome here.”
So what does our sign now read?
Sure it was a non-binding resolution. And sure some of the councilors were scared they might have gotten AIDS if they had voted for it. But supporting it would have been a wonderful way to dissasociate Birmingham from our past and from Alabama stereotypes. It would have been a way to declare to the creative folks in the world that this is a town that values everyone, that hopes to be a place where people accept each other, that new ideas are welcome here.
Instead, we just told the world that gay folks do not matter. That’s bad enough by itself. But it also alienated a whole lot more than just gay people.
Udate II: I apologize for calling the opposing councilors “juvenile a**holes.” Most juveniles would have behaved in a much more respectful manner, and reached a much more sensible conclusion, than did Royal, Hoyt, Witherspoon and Montgomery.