by Max Brantley
There was some discussion last night of Gov. Mike Beebe's lamentable remarks before Stonewall Democrats. In fuller reporting, his remarks look even worse.
He personally opposes gay marriage. He personally opposes civil unions. He proclaims it an "appropriate" societal judgment. His judgment (for all of society? Not me, Bro. Beebe) condemns loving couples in hundreds of ways to legal discrimination. This is "appropriate" to Mike Beebe. It is a sad coda days after a historic legislative victory in New York pushed by a governor with both political skill and stature — which Beebe possesses, too — and courage, a quality in which Beebe is clearly deficient.
It is not just discrimination in partnerships that Beebe endorses. He endorses by his lack of concern discrimination in housing. He explicitly endorses continued legal protection for discrimination in employment based on sexual orientation.
It is a wonder in retrospect, against these hardened feelings, that he made the one small gesture for humanity with his meek endorsement of allowing unmarried partners to be foster parents in Arkansas.
Some Stonewall Democrats, happy to have the great man appear before them, were unwilling to criticize. They "respect" him for appearing and sharing his discriminatory thoughts. Would members of the NAACP have accorded Orval Faubus similar "respect" in 1957 had he been willing to appear and candidly share his beliefs in legal discrimination against black people?
Beebe thinks Arkansas won't change. It won't with leadership such as his. It's clear that the increasing witnessing of gay people contributed to the atmosphere that converted resisters in New York. Respect for messengers like Mike Beebe is not an effective witness for change.
RELATED TOPIC: Nate Silver of New York Times crunches numbers on the likelihood of the states to support same-sex or civil union bans. Arkansas is among the six Deep South states most unfriendly to gay unions. But, hey, we're the friendliest toward the prospect of the six.
ALSO: Bible prof reviews what the Bible says about same-sex marriage.