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Queer Talk: LGBT Protections in Vicco, KY and the Decline of ‘Homosexuality as a Sin’ Viewpoint

If you’ve read even a scattering of my QT posts, you’ve probably picked up on my ongoing frustrations with the “everyone should move away from places where gaining LGBT rights is a bigger struggle” argument. I do understand that for some, maybe many, a move from a town, city or even state that is less accepting is a good, solid, thoughtful and even necessary choice. If that’s what works for you, go for it.

But I also think remaining in states and towns where there is significantly more work to be done is just as good, solid, thoughtful and even necessary choice. The changes at the grass-root level are absolutely essential to LGBTs gaining full equality, and those “roots” aren’t limited to big cities.

I don’t know the story behind what follows, but as in all steps toward full LGBT equality, there will be allies and supporters as active and involved as the LGBTs. From Zack Ford at Think Progress:

The tiny town of Vicco, Kentucky has made a bit of history by passing a sweeping anti-discrimination ordinance. With a 3-1 vote from the city commission and the support of Mayor Johnny Cummings, it is now illegal in Vicco to discriminat(e) in employment, housing, and public accommodations based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Vicco is situated in the Appalachian Mountains and has a population of just 334 residents, according to the 2010 U.S. Census. Still, it is now only the fourth municipality in Kentucky with LGBT nondiscrimination protections, joining Lexington, Louisville, and Covington. Statewide protections have been proposed in the state’s General Assembly numerous times, but never been brought to debate, despite broad public support.

Way to go, Vicco. And please note something in Ford’s report: “broad public support.” Such support is growing in all states, “red” as well as “blue” and “purple.” One indication of the changes that are happening comes via a recent research poll. Reported at HuffPo:

Americans Who Believe Homosexuality Is A Sin Decreases Significantly: LifeWay Research Poll

Bad news for the Westboro Baptist Church and other right-wing groups: the percentage of Americans who sincerely believe that homosexuality is a sin has decreased significantly, a new poll has found.

The Nashville-based LifeWay Research organization revealed that just 37 percent of Americans surveyed in November said they believed homosexual behavior was a sin, a seven point drop from the previous year’s survey.

Interestingly, respondents who did not believe homosexuality was a sin increased by a mere two percent, while a greater number of those surveyed said they were now unsure of what they believe.

Expressions of uncertainty are a significant shift from the hard-line interpretations expressed as “what the Bible says.” And interestingly, LifeWay is a

… religious non-profit organization — which believes ‘the Bible is the eternal, infallible, inerrant Word of God and is the plumb line for everything we say and do,’ according to its website.

The president of LifeWay Research, Ed Stetzer, is quoted in the HuffPo article as stating that Obama’s

… embrace of same-sex marriage last year ‘probably impacted the evolution of cultural values -— there is a real and substantive shift, surprisingly large for a one-year timeframe.’

Probably Obama’s “evolution” on marriage is a contributing factor, but I think that evolution is more an indication than cause of the cultural “shift.” Of course, like the passage of the nondiscrimination ordinance in Vicco, there’s no doubt that seeing expressions of support is significant in continuing the progress toward equality.

LifeWay’s Stetzer also pointed to Louie Giglio’s “withdrawal from Obama’s forthcoming inauguration ceremony” as an indication of the changes.

‘The culture is clearly shifting on homosexuality and this creates a whole new issue: How will America deal with a minority view, strongly held by Evangelicals, Catholics, Mormons, Muslims, and so many others?’

He can hope that America does a better job of dealing with the “minority view” with which “Evangelicals, Catholics, Mormons, Muslims, and so many others” identify than it did with that of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender people, and our allies.

(Vicco, KY map via City Data)

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