Saturday, February 05, 2005

Crusading Legislators Plot to Run Gays Out of TN

In itself, homosexuality is as limiting as heterosexuality: the ideal should be to be capable of loving a woman or a man; either, a human being, without feeling fear, restraint, or obligation.

~Simone de Beauvoir

UPDATE: DEMOCRATIC Sen. Doug Jackson (Dickson - (615.741.4499) is responsible for a number of the homophobic bills, including SB 1924, which forbids anyone in the GLBT community from serving as foster parents. The Democrat's bill also explicitly punishes heterosexual persons for residing in the same home as GLBT persons. It mandates that heterosexuals also cannot be foster parents if anyone resides in the home who is not exclusively heterosexual.

Nothing is said about forbidding heterosexuals from adopting or foster parenting GLBT teens. No doubt it's an oversight.

This is a partial list of the recent anti-gay legislation. Find out more at
Out & About. I've also posted something at Daily Kos.

HB 334 / SB 215 - against civil unions and domestic partnerships
HB 543 / SB 829 - prohibits homosexuals from adopting
HB 751 / SB 914 - against civil unions and domestic partnerships
HB 775 - Prohibits adoptions by homosexual persons, and prohibits a parent from surrendering or consenting to the adoption of such person's child if such person has knowledge that a prospective adoptive parent is a homosexual. HJR 81 - marriage amendment
HJR 10 - marriage amendment
SB 1924 - prohibits a homosexual person from being foster a parent and also applies to anyone if a homosexual person resides in the same residence
SB 1930 - prohibits adoptions by homosexual persons
SJR 31 - marriage amendment
SJR 45 - marriage amendment
SB 1615 -Prohibits adoptions by homosexual persons, and prohibits a parent from surrendering or consenting to the adoption of such person's child if such person has knowledge that a prospective adoptive parent is a homosexual


Republican State Senator Diane Black has filed a bill that would forbid gays and lesbians from adopting children. Black is one of numerous Tennessee legislators who seem to think their job duties consist of making Tennessee over into their own heterosexual image. If there’s one thing Tennessee legislators have plenty of, it’s conceit.
Presumably, the homophobic crusaders imagine that if they are successful in making Tennessee into the most gay-hostile state in the nation, all the gays will leave. If that should actually happen, you can be sure that crusading legislators will move on to another target. Our highly placed sources tell us that as soon as the last gays have left the state, legislators plan to begin persecuting people who sleep with St. Bernards.

In the past few days a slew of bills have been filed that would deny gays and lesbians the freedom to marry (it’s already illegal), the freedom to enter into civil unions, the freedom to adopt children, and the freedom to serve as foster parents. Freedom may be on the march in Iraq, but it’s sure as hell stalled here in Tennessee.
Sen. Diane Black (R-Gallatin), serves as vice chair of the Senate General Welfare, Health, and Human Services Committee. It’s her first term in the Senate. As a nurse, perhaps it’s fitting that she has a leadership role on a committee charged with meeting the health needs of Tennesseans.
If only she would get her mind off the sexual activity of her constituents and her nose out of the business of homosexuals, she might notice that the state is in the throes of a healthcare crisis. But, hey, if legislators were in the habit of paying more attention to healthcare and less attention to the type of sexual activity constituents might or might not prefer, we might not have a healthcare crisis.

The good news is that Tennessee legislators are no longer interested in passing bills of discrimination against African Americans. Some legislators may even recall that it was only decades ago when remarkably similar lawmakers paid dearly for similarly hateful legislation with a full blown civil rights revolution, complete with riots in the street. But it’s doubtful if any of these anti civil rights crusaders know much about history other than what they’ve found in the Bible and the Left Behind series. Try asking them if they remember Stonewall, but don't be surprised when they ask if it's in the new or the old testament.

The crusading legislators appear to have their sights set on a challenge to Anita Bryant’s place as most infamous anti gay rights crusader of all time. Thanks to Bryant's anti gay campaign, Florida passed a law forbidding gays from adopting children. That was in 1977, and the law is still on the books.
Earlier this month the Supreme Court refused to hear a challenge to the infamous law. With more than eleven separate bills, all filed in the past few days, all aimed at forever depriving the GLBT community of freedom, Tennessee’s crusading lawmakers are definitely serious contenders for Bryant’s place in history.

Anita Bryant was a Miss America runner up and a successful recording artist; she was paid handsomely to endorse Coca Cola, Kraft Foods, Holiday Inn and Tupperware. She was the Florida Sunshine Girl. Back in the 1970s, hardly a day went by without her television appearances on behalf of Florida orange juice. She sang: “Breakfast without orange juice is like a day without sunshine."

Bryant’s fame led church leaders to pick her to be the official spokesperson for homophobia. The wholesome Sunshine Girl did as the men said. She not only crusaded against gays, she founded the Save Our Children organization, an organization based on the premise that since gays and lesbians couldn’t have children, they must surely be out to recruit the children of heterosexuals. Presumably, people believed that gays were plotting to take over the planet!
Shortly after the Sunshine Girl’s successful campaign against a gay rights ordinance, her career took a major nosedive. In a just world, Tennessee’s crusading legislators would suffer a similar fate.

I don’t know about you, but these days I’m feeling highly motivated to work especially hard for a just world.

If gays are granted rights, next we'll have to give rights to prostitutes
and to people who sleep with St. Bernards and to nail-biters. ~Anita Bryant

They could come to Tennessee and claim rights.
That's what I'm afraid of. --Tennessee State Sen. Jeff Miller