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Boley, Nohe's anti-gay prejudice

January 14, 2011 - Terry Estep
The economy is struggling to recover and our state's coal industry is living in fear of additional environmental regulation that could drive up costs and reduce the number of jobs, but Donna Boley and David Nohe have time to focus energy on attacking gay West Virginians like me. State and federal law already denies recognition of gay and lesbian marriages, but the dynamic duo are co-sponsoring an amendment to West Virginia's constitution that would cement their anti-gay prejudice into stone.

Boley says she hasn't encountered any opposition to the idea. I imagine she's not looking very hard.

As more and more gay people have come out and shown their families and friends just how normal and boring they really are, acceptance of gay equality has grown. Boley and Nohe's stance looks increasingly silly to younger people who don't get what all the fuss is about. Why shouldn't gay people have the same protections as their hetero equals? The tired stereotypes of gay people Boley and Nohe grew up with are just that: stereotypes. They should have no place in modern political decision-making.

History is working against them, so of course they want to throw up a bulwark against whatever imagined atrocities they believe gay people are going to commit against this "sacred institution" any straight couple can enter with a few dollars and a trip to a Las Vegas drive-through chapel. Marriage between gay couples has been legal in multiple states for years and the skies have not fallen, nor have the rivers run red with blood.

Nohe believes West Virginia's citizens should be allowed to vote on the issue. I think putting anyone's civil rights up for popular vote is a bad idea. I doubt he'd suggest we should be "allowed to vote" on whether Irish citizens can hold jobs or African-Americans citizens should be able to take out loans or own homes, but he has no problem treating gay people as inferior and undeserving of the state's protections. How sad.

Anti-gay groups like to complain about "activist judges," but the truth is their arguments do not stand up to scrutiny. In a court setting, where hyperbole has to give away to facts and reason, their animosity and fear has constantly been exposed as unreasonable. Simply "putting it up to a vote" is easier because it absolves you of responsibility to represent all of your constituents and not just the ones you like. The crowd is always easier to whip into a frenzy when all you have to do is play up lies about child molestation rates and apocryphal tales of preachers being thrown in jail for standing up to a perceived evil.

Marriage equality is going to happen eventually, and I look forward to the day when I have that option. I also look forward to the day Boley and Nohe decide to join the rest of us in the 21st century. Standing in the way of gay families and shouting "NOT ON MY WATCH!" is a less than ideal way for them to endear themselves to future generations.


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