Editorial: Gay rights -- The Maine GayNet Archive

May 15, 1997

Editorial: Gay rights

Forget what Carolyn Crosby and her group, Concerned Maine Families, say about the gay rights legislation recently passed by the Legislature. This bill does not give anyone "special" rights. Rather, it extends the most basic Constitutional protections to a group that has been openly and boldly discriminated against by those of limited understanding and a dearth of compassion, who have repeatedly sought to legitimatize their special blend of bigotry and fear.

Approving legislation outlawing discrimination against gay men and lesbians does not mean people who object to homosexuality on religious or moral grounds must now condone it. Freedom of private thought remains unhindered. How people act in the conduct of public commerce and industry will, in some cases, have to change. And it should.

The anti-discrimination law only says Maine people will not tolerate those who wield threats, either open or implied, of job loss, loss of housing or public accomodation in an effort to impose personal morality on others or punish them for expressiong a sexual preference over which most respectable researchers now agree people have no control. Yes, homosexuals are a minority. But one of the fundamental precepts of democracy holds that occasionally laws are needed to protect minorities from the tyranny of larger groups and interests.

Concerned Maine Families, which in all honesty should add the term, "against anyone not like us" to its name, will undoubtedly challenge the Legislature's wisdom on the gay rights bill with another of their fruitless referendums. At least this time the debate can be correctly portrayed as a battle between those who insist that gays enjoy the same legal rghts as everyone else, and those who wish to keep homosexuals second-class citizens.

Remember, if freedom from public discrimination is "special" when it comes to gays, then we all have much to fear when the self-annointed protectors of society swing their heavy-handed broadaxe our way looking for their next target.

The Bar Harbor Times
P.O. Box 68, Bar Harbor, ME 04609

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