Thanks to Daniel for pointing me to this excellent blog entry discussing Initiative 1 by a gay couple in
Florida Ohio who has adopted four children. You should give it a read.
Arkansas. Where to start?
Having lived in Arkansas since 1991, I have sadly come to understand how “mentally backward” most of the population is here. To start with: there are HUGE Pentecostal, Southern Baptist and Church of Christ populations here. Many—if not most—towns have more churches than their population can even support. So, we know the “sheeple” don’t think for themselves and take their cues from the people leading their congregation (and obviously not from what is in the Bible).
Add to this religious “fervor” all the rednecks, hillbillies and other “white trash” that one thinks of when one thinks of the South and you have a good idea about the ideals of the population in general. Did you know there are still “sundown towns” here, many of which “host” various white supremacist groups. Even though the Husbear and I “blend in” with our tattoos and mean-ish looks, many of these towns are places even we won’t stop in if it can be avoided.
Obviously not all of Arkansas is like this. There are some small pockets where people are “normal”. Most of these pockets are the result of an influx of people from big cities in large states. More than likely, these small pockets here are also the cities that have what few gay bars and clubs there are in Arkansas.
I haven’t talked about many “political” topics on my blog, mostly because I am not very political by nature. I just tend to go with the flow of things. However, the hate formerly directed at people of other color is now being directed at people who are gay. (I say “formerly” but in reality it still exists—as was very evident by the verbal comments many people have expressed in the open with the results of this last presidential election.) While it may be a slight exaggeration that everyone is this way, it holds true for many.
The Husbear and I have three children, all from his previous marriage. While the kids are now technically adults, thanks to Initiative 1, I would never be able to adopt them if something happened to their mother and/or him to make them part of “our” family. Although technically we cannot be a “family” either since the Husbear and I cannot marry here due to legislation enacted during the 2004 election cycle that defined marriage in Arkansas.
I’m not sure where I was going with all of this other than to give readers an understanding of what life is like in Arkansas, and maybe why I expect this from from those living in this state. I am not saying it’s right. But it is the middle of the country, where all change is slow to happen.
It is hard to imagine that in the 21st century laws forbidding “rights” to a group of people would even be thought of—let alone passed—by the general population. But as the Husbear says: “it’s a matter of time.” For example, his grandfather didn’t believe in interracial marriage. That generation died off. The next generation, his father, “tolerated” interracial marriage. That generation is dying off. And like most of his generation, the Husbear doesn’t care who of one color marries who of another color because they know it doesn’t matter.
Change takes time. You can “force” change, but hate will be built up on the inside until it festers and a tragic backlash occurs. Time, and leading by example, are the counters to this build-up. It’s the only thing that has ever worked for me. Granted, I don’t know what those people I’m “friends” with actually say about me when I’m not around or how they truly feel about gay people. But they are at least civil when I am in their presence. Sometimes that’s all I can ask for.
Until next time...