The Kentucky State Senate passed today a ban on the recognition and offering of domestic partner benefits. If the bill becomes law it would ban the Kentucky state government and all its sub-divisions including colleges and universities from offering important health and other domestic partner benefits.
According to the Courier-Journal (Louisville, K.Y.), college and university presidents have opposed the bill saying it hurts their ability to recruit and retain the best candidates for professorships and other positions.
If we remember way back to the beginning of the major pushes for marriage amendments, particularly when President George W. Bush announced his support for a federal amendment in 2004, we’ll remember that proponents of the constitutionalized bans claimed they only sought to “protect” what they saw as “traditional” marriage. No one then, or at least no one seen as sane, was claiming to push for a total non-recognition of LGBT people and families.
Wednesday’s action in the Kentucky Senate seals what many LGBT activists and leaders have known for a while: The anti-gay, religious right will not stop until all levels of government completely ignore and out-right ban any recognition or legal protection for LGBT people and families.
While the movement to constitutionalize second-class citizenship failed at a federal level, it seems as though efforts to continue the legal sidelining of LGBT citizens continues in conservative states like Kentucky. In Arkansas, state legislators are now debating a bill to ban adoption by all LGBT people and any unmarried individuals. No one there has stopped to consider that the pool for those able and eligible for foster parenting or adoption will drop by half or more if that bill is successful.
In other states, similar total non-recognition efforts have taken place. By now, the aim of the anti-gay religious right should be clear. The American people, it seems, continue to be duped by talk of “values” and “tradition.” Unfortunately, our citizens haven’t yet grasped the fact that “values” really means “prejudice” and “tradition” really means “institutionalized bigotry and discrimination.”