Thursday, September 12, 2013

Our Stand: Standing in the National Guard’s doorway

  From George Corley Wallace standing in a doorway at the University of Alabama to block the entry of black students to Robert Bentley assuming his position in the doorway of the National Guard to prevent same-sex partners from receiving benefits, sadly the attitudes of our state’s leaders haven’t changed much in the past half century.

  Even as our federal government has amended its woefully discriminatory policies that denied benefits to the same-sex partners/spouses of federal workers, Governor Bentley has vowed to do just the opposite, rolling back the clock and insisting that when National Guard personnel are under his control, the state will deny said benefits.

  It’s insulting to anyone who places his or her life on the line to serve their country only to be told by the very government they serve that they are somehow inferior or flawed and should therefore be treated as less than their peers.

  Discriminating against National Guard personnel who happen to be LGBT individuals does not qualify as “patriotism,” and it certainly doesn’t equate to “supporting our troops,” as Alabamians are quick to insist how passionately we support our country and those who serve it. To the contrary, it’s openly hostile to those who serve our country and is little more than a clenched fist exercise in discrimination typically fueled by misguided ignorance and fear.

  Scoring political points by appealing to one’s conservative base should not come at the expense of anyone’s basic human rights. This fundamental concept of fairness is best summed up in the Gospel according to Luke: “And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them” (Luke 6:31). It is generally known as The Golden Rule, to treat others as you would want to be treated. Most of us learn it as children and it has served us well throughout our lives.

  Pandering political stances should never trump equality and doing what is right, especially in a nation in which we pride ourselves on equal opportunity and individual liberties. And denying equal treatment to anyone who serves and defends our country is a slap in the face to everyone who has ever put on a uniform and an affront to the unwavering idea that we’re all created equal and should be treated accordingly.

Copyright © Capital City Free Press

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