While I encourage you to go read the story for yourself, the gist of the story is pretty straight forward. It seems Alabama State Representative DuWayne Bridges, R-Valley, wants to pass a law to stop State Universities from offering domestic partnership to same-sex couples. Bridges has a new bill ready to introduce in the January session of the state legislature.
It seems that what upsets him is that two state schools have either already offered such benefits or plan to very soon. UAB already has the plan in place, allowing them to compete for highly qualified medical professionals and UAH plans to institute benefits for same sex domestic partnerships in January. The UAB plan began on October 1, so both schools recently adopted the idea. (An idea I applaud and wish all the state schools offered.)
To make matters “worse” for Bridges, the UA President Robert Witt told faculty that UA is considering doing the same. I guess the only “good” school for Bridges is Auburn, which at this time has not considered it. (Shame on you, War Eagle!)
Of course our Republican Governor, Bob Riley, supports the Bridges Bill, as does Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim James. Which makes my pickings for governor slim. I could only find media reports of one legislator, Representative Patricia Todd, D-Birmingham, who openly opposes the bill. I’m sure the fact that Todd is self described as “Alabama’s first openly gay legislator” has no effect on her position.
Okay, yes. That last bit was snarky. But I’m tired of the only people willing to take a stand for equal rights in this state are the people suffering under unequal laws. I don’t mean to disparage Todd, I’m glad she’s opposed. But I, for one, am throwing my straight, married opinion into the fray and saying Bridges is wrong for doing this. I don’t know what set Bridges off, but if he’d kept quiet, there would have been little outcry over this. The Universities could have quietly done the right thing and no one would have been upset.
I’m probably being hard on Todd over his actions. Realistically if Todd hadn’t done it, a Roy Moore or other bible toting politician would have grabbed the headlines come election time. But I’m tired of moralistic politicians trying to legislate what’s acceptable in people’s private lives, for make no mistake; this isn’t about benefits, this is purely anti-gay bigotry.
Needless to say, I’ll be watching this. I’m disappointed and upset that such a move would come, but can’t say I’m surprised seeing Alabama passed an amendment in 2006 to ban same sex marriage. And while it would be easy to point a finger and cry “Dirty Republicans,” as I’m sure some will, an amendment like that didn’t pass without plenty of Democrats supporting it. And Bridges bill won’t pass without significant Democratic support. And frankly, I think it will pass. And clearly, Riley will sign it.
I honestly don’t think there is a chance the bill will be stopped except through committee action that keeps it from getting a vote. I’m convinced that if the bill reaches the floor, it will pass. The same way other moralistic bills continually get passed in this state. It isn’t the fault of any one party, but of an ignorant population of citizens who think any bill that keeps “others” from enjoying their lives somehow improves their own.
It is a sad state of affairs in Alabama. I, for one, am depressed over my state’s actions. And after passing the “Craft Beer” act, I had hope that perhaps Alabama was progressing into a new age of acceptance. It is sad to learn I was wrong.