Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Another Republican kills another gay equality bill

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Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R)
Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R)

There is little that is more unjust, or that makes a stronger case for how urgently we need the acceptance of LGBT rights in our society, than the disparity of between how heterosexual married couples and gay couples are treated in the eyes of the law, especially in times of medical emergencies or end-of-life and visitation rights. Stories about loving partners being torn apart and forcibly secluded, where one passes away alone because the other is forced aside due to no more than their sexuality, while heartbreaking and infuriating, are sadly only reflective of the type of unequal society we live in, where certain classes are treated as inferior due to intrinsic characteristics, from ethnicity to sexual orientation.

Lately, there have been some sputtering starts to try and reduce this ethical gap, notably President Obama’s memo to hospitals to allow gays to visit their ailing partners. One such attempt was a promising bill making its way through the Minnesota legislature, one that would have granted same-sex couples the same end-of-life rights as heterosexual couples, including visitation rights, choices on how to dispose of the body, and the possibility to file wrongful death lawsuits. Unfortunately, Minnesota happens to have a typically bigoted Republican for Governor, Tim Pawlenty, who’s already launched a legacy of anti-gay, pro-“traditional values” crap. So, naturally, he vetoed the bill.

As you can imagine, the reasoning he conjured up to explain his intention to keep gay couples in their position of inferiority compared to heterosexual couples is just the sort of garbage you’d expect:

"Marriage - defined as between a man and woman - should remain elevated in our society at a special level, as it traditionally has been. I oppose efforts to treat domestic relationships as the equivalent of traditional marriage. Accordingly, I am opposed to this bill," he said in his veto message.

Except that this wasn’t really about marriage, heterosexual or same-sex, at all. This was about the plain decency of allowing gay people to visit their ailing loved ones in the hospital and giving them the power to deal with their remains and possessions as they saw fit. Rights that every traditional couple already possess. But then, don’t expect a Rethuglican to see it that way – it’s all about ideology and the “gay agenda” to these bigoted assholes.

(via Pharyngula)