Another heartening letter to the editor, this time from Carole E. Rose of Mt. Lebanon on the topic of gay rights.  Ms. Rose is responding to a letter which regurgitated the "marriage = procreation" argument which this writer soundly rebuts:

Does she have her head in the sand? Does she think that children are born only of married couples? Does she think that every child who is born has a loving place to live? Has she ever heard of adoption? Has she ever realized that gay and lesbian couples can in most states both foster and adopt children and raise them in a loving environment? So why not raise them in a loving environment of married parents whether they are same-sex parents or heterosexual? I've seen it and it works.

The state sanctioned marriage of two opposite gender adults does not in any way carry a guarantee of a loving, stable home for children.  Otherwise, there would be a long line of adult-children filing for their state backed "my parents sucked" refund.

Ms. Rose also gets a good swipe in for full equality.

Earlier in her letter she enumerates the civil rights that same-sex couples have been granted by some (but not all) states. Well big whoop! When you are a little bit "not equal" you are not equal.

Well said, Carole.  While I'm glad for my brothers and sisters in those states, I'm concerned that Pennsylvania has not yet expanded our hate crimes laws to include acts perpetrated on the base of sexual orientation or gender identity (does anyone think beating someone up because they 'seem' gay is not a hate crime?).  I'm hopeful State Representatives Dan Frankel and Chelsa Wagner will successfully steer legislation that essentially prevents us from being fired, denied housing or ejected from a restaurant because we are gay. 

This topic was brought startling to my consciousness the other day when a coworker was discussing a 'staff only' bathroom with me, arguing that in an organization where we promote community integration, a staff only bathroom was akin to a "Whiles Only" or "Heterosexuals Only" bathroom.  I could feel my eyes widening as it has been a long time since someone (gently) threw that argument back in my face.  I wasn't defending the bathroom, just being brought up to speed on the issue.  However, he made an impression because I'm writing about it two days later on a seemingly unrelated issue.  There are people in my community who experience discrimination in bathrooms -- my trans-sisters and trans-brothers, my lesbian and queer women sisters whose appearance is masculine, and gay men who are stalked by the police for seeking connections in bathrooms.  Yes, the bathroom has been a place of much discrimination in our community (think of all the kids beaten up in the school bathroom for the crime of not fitting in). 

Legislation won't suddenly put an end to all of this, but it will provide an opportunity to educate owners on how to accommodate their LGBTQ visitors and manage confrontations that might infringe upon those rights.  It will send a signal that we have recourse.  We can complain to the manager and expect him to do something about it.  We can contact the police, if we've experienced an act of violence (not an expression of someones opinion, mind you), and expect them to do something about it. 

A "little bit" equal didn't cut it with Mr. Kampus in 8th grade algebra and it doesn't cut it with Carole Rose, either.

Thanks for writing.