It should be OK to be gay in Arizona - East Valley Tribune: Columnists

It should be OK to be gay in Arizona

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Jon Beydler is a 32-year Valley resident and the former mayor of Fountain Hills who now lives in Chandler

Posted: Thursday, August 12, 2010 2:15 pm | Updated: 7:42 am, Sun Aug 15, 2010.

Tyranny inflicted upon a minority by the majority in a democracy must not be tolerated. Legislating moral values via the ballot box IS tyranny.

Asking voters, who are overwhelming homophobic, whether or not it is OK for the 1-2 percent of the population who are gay or lesbian to marry is like asking people in the South during the Civil War whether it was OK for their slaves to be recognized as citizens in full and, thus, freed. Unfortunately, it took a war to free the slaves. Hopefully, it will simply take last week’s stunning ruling from Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker that will open the door to marriage for same-sex couples across America.

There are those who criticize Judge Vaughn for not recusing himself due to the fact that he is an acknowledged homosexual and, therefore, would be unable to deliver a fair and balanced ruling. I would suggest that he, unlike a homophobe, would understand best whether or not California’s Proposition 8 violates the due-process and equal-protection clauses of the U.S. Constitution and whether or not same-sex couples are inferior to opposite-sex couples and whether this was a proper basis for California‘s Proposition 8 in the first place.

In his ruling, Judge Walker said that proponents of Proposition 8 had failed to provide a rational basis for the government to discriminate against gay and lesbian couples by preventing them from marrying. He concluded that California has no interest in discriminating against gays and lesbians. A couple of days later, California Attorney General Jerry Brown ordered that same-sex marriages resume.

It’s now OK to be gay in California. Now the question is whether it is OK to be gay in Arizona? Does the state of Arizona have an interest in discriminating against gays and lesbians? Do we believe that same-sex couples are inferior to opposite-sex couples? I don’t think so. What interest does any state have in legislating moral values? You can’t dictate to whom and how people are sexually attracted. Period. Human nature is to hate and fear the things they don’t understand.

Of course, ultimately the final decision in this ruling will probably be made by the United States Supreme Court. The good news is that Judge Vaughn’s ruling has essentially bundled all the efforts by the “majority to tyrannize the minority” across this country into one case that may ultimately determine the fate of same-sex marriages so that one day soon it will truly be OK to be gay!  

Jon Beydler is a 32-year Valley resident and the former mayor of Fountain Hills who now lives in Chandler

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