Mike Beebe's very bad night | Arkansas Blog

Mike Beebe's very bad night



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?

Mike Beebe
I erupt again after reading Kelly MacNeil's report for KUAR. It includes the full Q&A. Contrary to what spokesman Matt DeCample said last night (UPDATE: I misread a comment I received from DeCample last night. He didn't dispute what I had quoted Beebe as saying, that he lacked knowledge about employment law, a statement I find unbelievable.) Beebe said he did NOT know that the law in Arkansas allows employment discrimination against gay people. He said so again in a session after with reporters and also said quite directly that he likes the law just the way it is insofar as not providing equal treatment of domestic partners in workplace benefits. It's pathetic if the governor really didn't know. It's worse than pathetic that he doesn't think anything should be done about it. Many states and private companies and public agencies, including the University of Arkansas, have acted against employment discrimination. The video above, courtesy of Jason Tolbert, illustrates Beebe's point of view.

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.

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