Forget marriage equality – even basic human rights are hard to come by for our LGBT brothers and sisters in the South. The Advocate reports:
The battles against LGBT people continue to be waged quietly in the South. Alabama’s current school curriculum requires teachers to instruct students that homosexuality is an “unacceptable, criminal lifestyle,” according to the Human Rights Campaign. The state’s only out lawmaker, Rep. Patricia Todd, a Birmingham Democrat, has introduced a bill to repeal the mandate. “I’m working to delete the homophobic language in our state health curriculum and even have Republican support,” Todd says. “It sure helps to have an openly gay [person] in the legislature.” Like Batts in Tennessee, Todd says marriage equality is on a back burner at best in her state: “In Alabama we will only achieve marriage equity through the court system, like [all] civil rights.”
Some things are changing, slowly:
Nashville and Memphis both have ordinances protecting city workers from anti-LGBT discrimination, and residents of another Tennessee city, Chattanooga, elected a gay man to the City Council in March. “We know that equality is not coming soon for us,” Batts [Will Batts, executive director of Tennessee’s Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center] says. “In the South, equality seems to take much longer than it should. We’ve learned to be patient, and we see victory coming.”
Which Southern state do you think will be the first to embrace marriage equality? My money’s on Florida, Virginia, or North Carolina.