Speak Out: Hate legislation in Alabama
by our readers
Jul 17, 2013 | 1813 views |  0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Not long ago, and well within my memory, our legislators enacted, and our governor enforced, laws that required black citizens in Alabama to sit in the back of the bus, drink from separate water fountains, eat in separate restaurants and stay in separate hotels from the rest of us, who happened to be more numerous and white. Where was the logic and morality in that?

 “Hate” was a reason for it, but not a good one. The fact that we white citizens outnumbered our fellow black citizens (and the fact that many white citizens relished having a second class of citizens to look down upon and exploit) was another reason for it, but not a good one. There was no logic or morality in it.

Now, our gay and lesbian fellow citizens have won the benefit of a U.S. Supreme Court decision condemning “hate” reasons and “we outnumber them” reasons for denial of the same right to marry that the rest of us enjoy. But Alabama legislators and Gov. Robert Bentley continue to cling, affectionately, to Alabama laws that are rooted in the same “hate” and “we outnumber them” rationale for denying them substantial government benefits that straight married citizens enjoy. There is no logic or morality in it.

Bentley should call the Legislature into a special session immediately to repeal this “hate” and “we outnumber them” prejudice from the laws of the state. If he is not courageous enough or compassionate enough to do so, as a simple matter of principle, he has one other option that Alabama governors have been choosing all my life: Do nothing and wait for a federal judge to order him to do so (and, in the interim, continue to pander to those among us who cling to ornery “hate” and “we outnumber them” rationales for pernicious discrimination because bigotry is, historically, an “Alabama value” that yields to logic and morality only when a federal judge requires that it do so).

Joel Dillard

Birmingham

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