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Not a Live and Let Live Movement Any More

Jennifer Roback Morse

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Many people of libertarian inclinations, of whom I am one, have sympathy for a particular style of gay rights movement. Let and let live, we always say. If it isn't hurting any one else, it is no business of the government's.

Those days are over. The gay caucus of the California State Assembly is not interested in live and let live. This is an aggressive, intrusive movement that brooks no disagreement. Consider the following recent developments.

The CA State Assembly passed legislation banning discrimination in state operated or funded programs on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. The bill, SB 1441, makes no provision for religious exceptions. Religious universities and schools will be required to take no notice of same sex conduct, or risk losing any student financial assistance from the state. This legislation was sponsored by Democratic state senator, Sheila Kuehl.

This bill curtails the ability of Christian schools to maintain their religious identity. Even now, a California Lutheran high school is being sued because it suspended two female students who were having a sexual relationship, in violation of the school's code of conduct. There is no place for religious disapproval of same sex sexual conduct in the topsy-turvy ideological universe of the LBGT caucus. Evidently, we have to tolerate "gender non-conformity," but we don't have to tolerate diversity of religious standards of sexual behavior.

If the state of California were a "night watchman state," that simply enforced contracts and provided police protection, the claim that the state shouldn't discriminate based on sexual orientation might make sense. But no one believes for a moment that gay people can't get their contracts enforced in California. The state continues to expand its already extensive redistribution of income and regulation of life far beyond any libertarian, mind-your-own- business philosophy.

The State Assembly recently approved a bill (SB 840) granting universal health insurance, and designating the state as the single-payer for health care. If the governor signs this bill into law, the state will have increased leverage for regulating doctors and hospitals. Every religious hospital and clinic will be receiving, not just part of their income, but all their income, from the state.

Even now, a lesbian is suing a Southern California doctor because the doctor refused perform an artificial insemination on unmarried women, citing religious objections to inseminating a woman whose child would have no father. Artificial insemination is an elective procedure if ever there was one. The woman found another doctor. As a matter of fact, the very doctor she is suing made the referral.

There is evidently no room for Christian doctors in the "live and let live" utopia contemplated by the LBGT caucus. The pressures on the health care industry to conform to the LBGT standards of non- discrimination can only increase if the State of California becomes the only payer for health care.

Guess who proposed the universal health care bill? The very same Sheila Kuehl who sponsored the recently passed anti-discrimination bill.

This same Sheila Kuehl also wants the state to micro- manage the content of school textbooks so that gender non-conforming children don't feel bad. (SB 1437) The terms "husband" and "wife," "mother" and "father" could well be among the forbidden language that adversely affects homosexual self- esteem.

The LBGT caucus evidently believes that gay people need more than for everybody to mind their own business. Prohibiting discrimination means forbidding people to take any notice of sexual orientation. Sheila Kuehl and her allies are not going to be satisfied until they wipe out every religious group that teaches that being straight is preferable to being gay. Or until they shove religion safely into the closet.

The combination of anti-discrimination laws covering sexual orientation and expansive provision of state services adds up to increasing state-imposed ideological conformity. The LBGT caucus wants all gay people to be treated a certain way, by everyone, all the time. And they won't quit until they have used all the state power at their disposal to force people to conform. And they are expanding the set of state power tools.

Whatever the gay rights movement might once have been, whatever it might be in other places, the LBGT caucus of the California State Assembly in not a "live and let live" movement. This is an aggressive, intolerant bunch of bullies. No libertarian, no one who values freedom, can align themselves with such people.

Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D. is the author of Smart Sex: Finding Life-Long Love in a Hook-Up World.

Read the entire article on the Jennifer Roback Morse website.

Posted: 16-Sep-06



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