The South – Just a Bigoted as Ever
Photo via Tarhearted
With the passage of legal gay marriage in Minnesota and a recent Pew Poll showing over fifty percent approval of legal gay marriage, you might come to the conclusion that the struggle for the LGBT community has ended. These are important milestones, however, the south is showing now, as much as ever, that they do not approve of the gay community. Laws protecting homophobic politicians, stalking, and egregious criminal charges are some of the more brazen examples of the bigotry aimed at the gay community.
A lesbian couple in Texas has been dealing with an enormous overreach of the states judicial system. Page Price and Carlyon Compton have been together for three years, and now, according to LGBTQ Nation, Price is being forced to move out of her own home because of their consenting lesbian relationship.
After a divorce in 2011 Compton was given majority custody of their children. Her ex-husband, Joshua Compton, hired a private detective to legally stalk his former wife. He did not approve of her new gay relationship and believed it endangered the well-being of their children. Last week Judge John Roch Jr. sided with Compton’s ex-husband and added a “morality clause” to the divorce papers. This clause meant that anyone Carlyon is dating or anyone unrelated to Carlyon is not allowed in her home past 9 p.m. when the children are present.
Perhaps the most disconcerting aspect of the case in Texas is the fact that a judge’s moral values have played a role in a legal ruling. Price said that Judge Roch said he did not approve of Compton’s way of living and that if it were possible he would place her jail because of her sexual orientation.
In another example of a legal system gone awry, a bill that recently passed the Arizona house would protect government officials such as Judge Roch in Texas- who “don’t recognize gay couples.” According to the Associated Press, the same bill allows people to sue if they believe that their “Religious liberties” have been infringed upon, however, the vagueness of the bill leaves the question: what would be considered a violation of those liberties? This overwhelmingly feels as though Arizona’s house- which has a GOP majority is making an attempt to set in place laws to protect their values, even if they are no longer considered to be the majority opinion in much of the country.
While Florida has never been a bastion of equality, this past February, Kaitlyn Hunt was arrested on sexual assault charges over her same-sex relationship. Hunt, 18, had a consenting relationship with a fifteen-year-old girl while they were both in High School- Hunt was 17 when they began the relationship. According to Hunt’s mom, Kelley Hunt Smith, who spoke to LGBTQ Nation, the parents of Kaitlyn’s girlfriend had her arrested. The parents believed that Hunt ‘made’ their daughter a lesbian. As a result Hunt is facing two years house arrest, during this time she will only be allowed to attend work and school. This two-year period will be followed by one year of probation and she will be requited to attend sexual offender counseling. There is currently a petition on Change.org asking for the Florida’s attorney’s office to drop all charges against Kaitlyn.
As these unfortunate accounts attest there are still some hurdles for the LGBTQ community before the hate, and ignorance of others is an occurrence of the past. With homophobic members of local governments voicing their moral opinions via the passage of laws and bills, and disapproving family members who side with naïve and uneducated views, there are members of the gay community in this country that are experiencing unfortunately prevalent accounts of malice and prejudice.
I am originally from a small town in North Carolina and have recently moved to Richmond. Meaning I am a novice to the ways of Richmond life, but from what I have seen it is a culturally rich environment that I look forward to diving into. My daily hustle consists of playing bass, reading, and hunting for new music. This summer I will be interning with RVA Magazine and GayRVA.com. In the fall I will be transferring to Virginia Commonwealth University where I will major in journalism.
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