Catching Up To New Realities
Let’s face it, this mixed plate of same-gender marriage, civil unions, sexual partnerships and children picking their gender identity is tough chewing, swallowing and digesting for perhaps half of this state’s adult population.
It’s only been 23 years since the Baehr v. Lewin lawsuit challenged Hawaii’s restriction of marriage licenses to a man and a woman.
It took Americans about 200 years to give civil rights to blacks – and we’re still not fully compliant on that matter.
Enshrining homosexuality (it’s been around at least through the Greeks and Romans) in the pantheon of equality has taken place here in a relative eye blink.
Piled on top of that is Pono Choices, a public-school program for sexual education. It’s only in the pilot-program stage but already is being put on hold while we talk some more about what’s to be taught and what’s to be left to parents and scuttlebutt in the restrooms.
Our education chiefs think (and I agree) that if you’re going to teach about sex you logically have to include homosexuality and the touchy topics of oral and anal sex because of the prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases.
More than just a few parents strongly object to even the basic boy-girl sex discussions in the classrooms. Including boy-boy and girl-girl relationships is very volatile stuff in many households. Some of the objection is religion-based and some from parents who just aren’t quite ready to embrace these earth-shaking changes that washed over them so quickly.
Most people like to deal with change in slow doses over long periods of time.
Most people like to think of themselves as tolerant and inquisitive, but still go through considerable trauma if a son or daughter “outs” him or herself. It takes some mental adjustment.
And things like Gay Pride parades and the current movies Blue Is The Warmest Color and Strangers By The Lake throw “unusual” human activities in their faces that they always thought brought on the police, arrest and incarceration.
So I’m not one to toss barbs at those who don’t accept change as rapidly as I do. We move at our own comfortable paces.
I’m less forgiving when people refuse to accept the law that is and won’t move on. State Rep. Bob McDermott’s ongoing effort to squelch same-gender marriage reveals some serious intolerance. It’s clear that the Legislature has the power to make law.
It did. End of story.
It’s been end of story since state Supreme Court Justice Steve Levinson wrote his 1993 decision that the state of Hawaii must have a “compelling interest” to deny equal protection of the laws or allow discrimination because of race, religion, sex or ancestry.
The state didn’t have a compelling interest, except that some people object to homosexuality.
That, to me, is the crux. Not just preserving traditional marriage. It’s about not recognizing homosexuality.
The hassle now moves to our schools, Pono Choices and who gets to speak about the “unspeakable.” * By the way: On Thanksgiving, the cast of the Broadway play Kinky Boots put on a small show as part of the Macy’s parade. Nothing very racy, but the play is about a factory owner who brings in a drag queen as a business partner.
Social media that day was electrified with posts of outrage by socially and religiously conservative Americans.
Odd part is the play is about tolerance and acceptance.