The PG's Karamagi Rujumba took a well-placed stab at explaining the complicated Human Relations ordinance due for a vote tonight before the Allegheny County Council.
Best of all, he quotes a person of faith who isn't a bigot. My apologies to the bigots out there who missed the opportunity to spew the hatred, but your interests are being well protected by stubborn members of Council who ardently believe your right to discriminate trumps the civil rights of their constituents. What are you gonna do?
Amend. Amend, amend, amend. (Get the play on “amen”?)
I tried last night to explain the amending of the amendments. It still comes down to a fine tuning of exactly what approach religious groups can take to discriminate against people and how that is exactly enshrined into local law. Later, we'll wrestle with the issue of funding bigotry.
Councilman Robinson chimed in with his belief that removing religious exemptions entirely will make the bill dead on arrival. That may be true, but it sure doesn't say much about communities of faith in our County does it? All this back and forth makes my head spin. One positive is that this shines a very bright light on how deeply embedded discrimination has become in our region, as well as the spectrum of anti-gay elected officials.
Your chorus of “pissed off gays” shook things up a little bit. I urge you to consider any sudden shifts on this vote with a skeptical eye and continue to agitate for full equality. We have two clear County officials who have demonstrated integrity and moral leadership – Rich Fitzgerald and Amanda Green — by their unwavering support to the LGBTQ community. We have several Johnny Come Latelies who are welcome, but still have to undo some damage before they get queer dollars (or they should, but they won't).
Tonight could be close. So many things are up in the air — will Futules teleconference in to vote? will the amended amendments carry the day? will Finnerty step up? why is my old friend Bob Macy proving so intractable — I really think West Mifflin is sinking back into a prehistoric age.
Only time will tell.
In other news, the PG carries an interesting article on a partnership between Persad and Tobacco Free Allegheny to reduce astronomically high smoking rates among local LGBTQ persons. As the culture shifts away from the smoke filled bars (sorry bar owners but we all know it is happening) the pressure is on to make the new gay gathering places smoke free for the welfare of the community. This effort to liberate the community from the tentacles of addiction by using familiar resources is mad genius.
Hey, I made the big leagues with a quote at Think Progress blog. It was apparently big enough that other bloggers pointed it out and someone called me to tell me. I'm just happy the Eichelberger story still has some legs.
When the three of us show up tomorrow at the County Bldg to voice outrage, we can read the story on our Blackberries. LOL.