Some say we’ll strike out on this third swing. I say this is the time to hit a home run.
On July 23, the East Baton Rouge Parish Metro Council will vote on a measure that prohibits discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations based on race, religion, national origin, age, disability, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation or veteran status.
Some well-intentioned citizens of the loyal opposition will come forth, fearing lawsuits and/or promotion of same-sex marriage. Some will utter certain loaded words to incite terror. Others will cite that sexual orientation is not immutable and therefore, not afforded the same protections.
Yet even if the jury on whether one is born with or chooses a sexual orientation is still out (I think human sexuality is much too complex to be reduced to these two options), I don’t think the 62 percent of EBR citizens in a recent poll who support equal rights are caught up in this argument.
I simply ask that our Metro Council to do the following before they vote:
- Ask members of their immediate (and extended) family who are LGBT. Ask those members if they chose to be gay so they could be discriminated against.
- Ask parents of gay children if their love for their blood does not surpass any fears of God’s rebuke and who among them think their children should be repaired.
- Ask office workers how many of them hide their sexual orientation for fear of being fired — people whom you would invite to your home on any given night for dinner.
- Ask LGBT citizens if they too have a spiritual hunger and a love for God.
- Ask how many desire to serve their nation in the military.
- Ask pastors how many members have come forth for acceptance, who have carried shame all their lives.
- Ask how many parents from their districts suffer from the belief they failed as parents.
- Ask those same parents if they feel ostracized from the faith community.
- Ask teachers how many of their students are bullied because of their mannerisms
- Ask nurses how they feel when they can’t let a partner of 25 years enter the intensive care room.
- Ask around for a guesstimate of how many citizens not lawfully protected are taxpaying citizens.
- Ask your constituents and yourselves what would be the response if a child or sister told you that she were same sex oriented.
This ordinance is long overdue and respect for the dignity of the LGBT community has been denied far too long.
What fuels this great land is that we live under the rule of law. Let our laws protect all citizens — not just straight ones.
W. Nicholas Abraham
licensed professional counselor