Republicans from the Commonwealth of Virginia who dominate the House, recently voted along party lines, killing several bills meant to protect gays and transgender people from housing and employment discrimination in the beloved state of Thomas Jefferson and other Founding Fathers whom Americans honor with great aplomb.
Meanwhile, activists who were present in the crowded Capitol hearing room hissed, booed and jeered, shouting “Shame” at the GOP congressmen. The rationale behind their vote has been that they don’t want to interfere with religious freedom, suggesting that religious institutions like Liberty University could be forced to allow gay couples to reside in dorms reserved for married couples.
Further, some Republicans say that while they believe that everyone should be treated with “dignity and respect,” they are compelled to protect religious freedom at all costs. They suggest that a compromise is possible – but not this year.
We wonder when compromise will be possible and why those who live differently from the assumed majority must continue to face the possibility or threat of housing or employment discrimination because of their sexual orientation.
In America’s past, many other races, religious groups and genders have been targeted by the powers that be, denied equal rights, forced to begin far back from the starting line and treated as if they were less than fellow humans. Now the bullseye seems to be squarely on the backs of gays and transgender people – men and women who deserve to be treated equally and allowed to enjoy the many legally-enforced protections given to all U.S. citizens.
After all, they too are our brothers and sisters, aren’t they?
“Shame” is the best word we can think of to describe the actions of the Republican House.