Yesterday, after my Tai Chi class in downtown Salem, I walked a few blocks down Court Street to the Basic Rights Oregon rally on the steps of the Capitol. Laurel came directly from home and caught up with me on the sidewalk, matchingly dressed for the occasion, per usual. I’d told her that pre-rally info had suggested wearing the official SB 1000 t-shirt or other light blue attire. I stuck with basic black, figuring black goes with anything.
A basic message at the rally. Who can disagree? Well, apparently the unloving Republican House Speaker Karen Minnis, who is refusing to even bring SB 1000 up for a vote. There are a lot of misconceptions about this bill to authorize civil unions. This “Top 5 Myths About Civil Unions in Oregon (and everywhere else)” piece clears things up.
It was moving to feel the passion at the rally from LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, queer/questioning) people who would be helped by SB 1000. It struck me that progressives get most enthused about real live human beings in need. So at a progressive rally you can stand next to an actual gay, poor, or sick person (to offer just a few examples). You can’t do that at a conservative rally in support of an embryonic stem cell, prayer in schools, tax breaks for corporations, or such.
By the way, this was the first time I had heard the LGBTQ nomenclature, which sort of reminds me of LSMFT (“Lucky Strike Means Fine Tobacco”)—a jingle from the dark ages when cigarettes were good for you. When I got home I did some Internet delving into the meaning of LGBTQ, which seemed to be logically inconsistent or redundant.
Doesn’t “queer” encompass “gay” and “lesbian”? And hasn’t “gay” come to be virtually synonymous with homosexual, making “lesbian” unnecessary? GBT seemed to cover the bases, rather than LGBTQ. Still, I tried to burnish my politically correct credentials by studying an article about gay, lesbian, and queer theory. I read that queer theory involves a “radical deprivileging of the status of gender in traditional discourses.” Whatever.
Governor Kulongoski was surprisingly energetic and impassioned. He seems to be the stealth governor to me, unnoticed and ineffective, but SB 1000 is one issue he’s stood up for. I liked it when he said, “The most basic right is to be you who you are.”
The rally felt genuinely patriotic to me. Wasn’t this country founded on the very principles of SB 1000? Freedom for all, religious independence, equality in the eye of the law—that sure seems red, white, and blue.
Basic rights, a family affair. It’s always struck me as absurd that the right-wingers say they want to defend the institution of marriage by denying it to a good share of the United States population. Huh?