I recently found this video of a preacher giving a speech during Springfield’s City Council meeting to discuss an amendment adding sexual orientation to the city’s non-discrimination rules.
The preacher’s speech shows how the arguments from the 1950’s and 1960’s against desegregation and the arguments against gay rights today are extremely similar and draw on the same moral and religious views of society. We have talked in this class about the connections between discrimination based on gender, class, race, and sexual orientation. This is a poignant reminder that not only are the issues connected, but the language and the thought process behind discrimination in the United States remains shockingly similarly, whether people are fighting against rights for women, desegregation, or gay rights. While this preacher’s speech fights this process of history repeating itself, many of the other speeches really do believe that protecting the LGBTQ community from discrimination will lead to immorality, comparing gay people to pedophiles and rapists, and even that protecting gay rights will lead to increased deaths and corruption of youths. Many of these speeches can be found here:
These speeches show a discomfort with non-heterosexual sexuality and a strong adherence to heteronormativity that is trying to be maintained through legal means as well as moral and religious arguments. It also reveals a lack of knowledge and understanding of LGBTQ individuals, which sadly results in accusations and stereotypes that without any foundation link homosexuality with crimes such as rape and pedophilia. It is important not to let history repeat itself, as I think the preacher aptly shows, but the second video makes me question how to make so many people reconsider such harmful stereotypes and discriminatory beliefs and become more understanding of different sexualities and sexual identities.