I can't let the man called Potter have all the blogging firsts. So I stayed up until 2:07 AM to post the Post-Gazette coverage of the hearing before Allegheny County Council. Here is the link.
This article sucks. The reporter quotes multiple Chrisitan-flavored bigots and only two proponents of the ordinance. There is no sense of how many people turned out for and against, nor any perspective on the magnitude of the turnout itself. While the excerpt from Janet Edwards is good, the reporter just talked to religious people and hey — this isn't about religion. It is such an easy trap to fall into, but not a single person supporting this ordinance is trying to legislate behavior or values in communities of faith. Preach bigotry if you want, just don't deny gay people the right to hold a job or rent an apartment. Or join a gym! Someone testified that they couldn't join a gym. What would Jesus say about that? Isn't exercise and wellness a good thing?
There is also no mention of four co-sponsors succumbing to pressure to withdraw their support. There is no mention of which Council members attended the hearing and which of those attendees stayed throughout the hearing. No exploration of why Vince Gastgeb doesn't know what the ordinance entails or how Bob Macy is going to explain to my parent's why their daughter is fair-game for the bigots in West Mifflin. None of that.
We get a short sterile piece that celebrates the ignorance and bigotry of a man who “braved the cold” to share an opinion based on bad information. Isn't that a story? The fact that no one informed this man that his church isn't going to be forced to accept anything. There are no provisions to require you to put up a rainbow flag and start performing same-sex blessings. You just can't go into your public life and discriminate against gay people. It is a pretty easy to understand distinction. Marriage is not being redefined. Frivolous law suits are an urban myth.
This sort of coverage makes me absolutely irate. As irate as I can muster at 2:17 AM. It is great that the PG editorial board took a strong stance, alongside columnist Tony Norman. But which editor let this slip by? You invest hundreds of staff hours and many, many inches of column space exploring a pay for play “gay story” including an in-depth profile of the establishment owners, but when it comes to a sweeping piece of civil rights legislation that could lay the foundation for a protracted statewide battle over similiar issues — we get this. Whatever.
I'm going to bed. Wake me when Rich Lord gets in the office.
ps: Supportive but interesting letter to the editor about his very topic. Patrick J. Corr, formerly of Northern Ireland and now of West Deer, writes as former victim of human rights abuses and the father of a gay son.
I left a country ruined by people who did not respect the rights of others and did not grant parity of esteem to all of its citizens/residents. As the father of a gay man, I hope that I do not have to watch his human rights be revoked by those who believe in discrimination as a way of life and who intimidate others into denying all the people all of the protections of the law.
To have come so far to see so few belittle so many!
Mr. Corr certainly sees the perspective in the issue – a vocal, tyrranical minority will stop at nothing to strip away the human rights of another group. Simply because they can? Maybe. It is so hard for me to take seriously the truth of the wingnut rhetoric (Same Sex Attraction Disorder ??) that I often underestimate the power of the rhetoric to fulfill a general public's fear and restlestness. (It is 7 am and I am back up again. Darn weather.)