This post and the one below address the Over the Mountain Democrat forum about healthcare last night, where the question came up about insuring domestic partners of same sex employees. Terry Kellogg from Blue Cross Blue Shield (see post below) replied that only 20 or so of his employer customers have inquired about that, and the thousands of other customers do not want such benefits provided because they don’t want to pay for it. OK, money is more important than doing what is right, but you expect to hear that from a corporate view.
Artur Davis chimed in, completely ignoring history, and told us that LGBT people should not be looking to Montgomery or Washington for answers, because (paraphrased quote) “It is not the role of government to tell people how to think.”
I almost fell out of my chair as I heard an African American who is the Alabama campaign manager for Barack Obama, who at the same moment is involved in a controversy about the role of MLK and Lyndon Johnson in the civil rights movement, say those words.
Has he forgotten that telling people how to think and act is precisely what the government did when Johnson signed the civil rights act? Does he not realize that had the government not told people how to think he might not be sitting on that stage tonight, and Barack Obama surely would not be where he is right now?
I am not ignoring Martin Luther King’s role (and neither was Hillary Clinton, by the way) in changing the attitudes of many Americans, but without the role of government telling Americans how to think there would be no voting rights and we could still be living in a segregated society.
But it sure seems that Davis is ignoring that.
Besides, Americans are already on the side of equality for gays and lesbians. Let’s consider four popular issues.
Hate Crimes. From The Christian Post, a Gallup poll from May 2007 reveals that 68% of Americans favor expanding the hate crimes legislation to include sexual orientation.
Civil Unions. An ABC Poll from November 2007 shows us that 55% of Americans favor civil unions, with 42 % opposing.
Employment non-discrimination. A May 2007 Gallup Poll showed that 89% favored employment protection for gays and lesbians, and for the particular legislation that Davis voted against, 58% of whites, 61% of blacks, 56% of latinos, 70% of democrats, 55% of independents and even 52% of republican women favored it.
Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. A 2007 Harris Poll shows that 55% of Americans believe gays and lesbians should be allowed to serve openly in the armed forces.
So, Mr. Davis, it appears that Americans already know how to think. But we need laws and regulations passed by the government to assure that those who thrive on bigotry and prejudice do not undermine the fairness and equality that most Americans realize is part of our constitutional rights. And we need congressmen who will recognize that equality goes beyond the color of one’s skin.