Friday, March 27, 2015

States, even with gay marriage, fall behind on anti-discrimination, "no pro homo" laws

Vox media has a couple of important US maps: one, showing which states have anti-gay discrimination protections, which include gender identity, and which have no protections.  It also provides a map of states with “no pro homo laws” banning teachers from mentioning homosexuality (at least in a positive light) in public schools. Important parts of history (such as the legal and court battles over gays in the military and now gay marriage, as well as the parallels between LGBT and traditional race-based civil rights movement) are overlooked, even in some approved texts.  
Curiously, Utah provides discrimination protection (recently) but also still has the “no pro” law on the books!  Virginia has neither.
But even some states forced to allow gay marriage have an unfavorable legal environment in these areas.
The “no pro homo” laws would sound like minor reflections of Russia’s anti-gay propaganda laws now.
These kinds of laws are, in part, motivated by the old “waverer” theory, that is, a belief that a “marginal” person will decide not to marry and have children if he or she finds out that an “alternate lifestyle” is socially and morally acceptable.  And in Russia, Putin makes a lot of the low birth rate.
It may seem counter-intuitive.  Isn’t reproduction an instinctive drive in perhaps most people?  Yet, this idea wasn’t that controversial when I was growing up.  In the 1950s, I can recall seeing a few women’s magazine articles (why did I look at them?) expressing the “old maid” fear (dramatized in a famous scene in “Gone with the Wind”), that some young women would never find husbands and become poor.  Even in my little stint of heterosexual dating in 1971, I picked up on this.  There was a fear that someone like me could mean some woman would never marry.
There was still a vestige of authoritarianism in social values as I grew up.  There was a belief that stability and security depended on some sense of discipline in the population, with more attention to non-conformity (as being played out now in the “Divergent” movies).  Typically, authoritarianism creates its own political corruption (look at modern Russia under Putin).  But sometimes it remains relatively clean (like Singapore, recently discussed with Yew's death). 

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