Mini Editorial

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Equality - or something else?

Every once in a while, we get a press release from an organization on gay rights.

In some cases, it is a "Gay Day" or other effort to demonstrate solidarity. In some cases, it is campaigning for various specific forms of workforce, school or hate crime protections. There is a well-known scholarship program that only offers funds to gay or lesbian Iowa high school grads.

We have no bones to pick with the ideals of tolerance and non-discrimination.

Most thoughtful people certainly believe that everyone, regardless, deserves to be safe.

We can't say we are enamored with the concept of gay pride demonstrations, any more than we would be with a heterosexuality parade.

Sexuality should be a personal thing, not a public spectacle.

Those days may be over in Iowa, where the gay marriage issue has been politically broached now, and will no doubt be hotly debated for years to come.

No use in hatred here, either, though neither side on this issue is going to budge.

Frankly, our gut feeling here is that marriage is above all a religious matter, and neither judges nor politicians have much of a right to mess about it in. It is religion's issue to address.

The Pride Network now tells us about an Iowa Gay Straight Alliance Day. At first blush, we assumed it was just another attempt to legitimize homosexuality in the schools, but as we read it, there is more to it than that.

Indeed, the Pride Network is a nonprofit group serving gays, lesbians, nisexuals and transexuals; but its idea of "gay straight alliances" is aimed at reducing violence and fears in about 70 high schools and colleges in the state, and according to the Iowa School Climate Survey they cite, it seems to help somewhat in absenteeism, harassment and so on.

If the goal is equality for all people, we should take any efforts serving only one particular group with a grain of sale.

Our laws shouldn't protect only gays from hate, and academic programs shouldn't give only gay students scholarships.

Until we can care for all people's rights and safety and expression, what we have isn't equality.

A Gay Straight Alliance is an interesting step, and one worth looking at.

We can't help but wonder, though, if the ultimate evolution will be "The Human Alliance."

If that huge step is going to get taken, it will be young people who do it.