Well, a federal judge in Louisiana has decided not to go with the flow on 20-odd rulings in various U.S. states that overturned gay marriage bans, and has instead upheld his state’s ban in a ruling today. He also “upheld the state’s refusal to recognize same-sex marriages performed legally in other states,” the Associated Press is reporting in an article on the ABC News site. As you might expect, the verdict will be appealed and will probably be overturned — so nobody is panicking and calling for boycotts of the state quite yet.
But you gotta think that the state’s stubborn refusal to grant equality to same-sex couples there isn’t helping Louisiana’s reputation. While I’m sure supporters of LGBT people — big business, among them — aren’t ready to pull out in protest yet, a lot of people may be thinking twice about visiting the state or moving there in light of today’s setback. And LGBT citizens may be watching their backs a little more than usual.
I mean, in places like Uganda and Russia, where equality has been denied LGBT people by the courts, there has been an increase in violence against members of the LGBT communities. Although I haven’t heard of any homophobic violence against gay people in Louisiana, could the judge’s ruling there inadvertently have the same sort of trickle-down effect on some redneck bigots? Do LGBT citizens there need to be extra careful now?
Those are things I think about when I see a court — and a state — deny equal rights to all of its citizens . . . when the flow is going the other way in much of the country.
The ruling today also got me to thinking: what if, when all is said and done, some states are successful in upholding their bans on same-sex marriage? Will big business and other supporters of LGBT people pull out in protest? Will anti-LGBT fundamentalists flock to those states, abandoning states that do allow same-sex marriage?
How sad that such a great country is divided on a basic human rights issue. How sad that bigotry prevails in some states. How sad that some people feel they have the right to dictate the parameters of love to others they don’t even know.