You can only protect your liberties in this world by protecting the other man's freedom. You can only be free if I am free. - Clarence Darrow
No, Proposition 622 won't prevent hatred and violence from being directed at gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered folks. No, Proposition 622 won't bring an end to the massively upsetting statistics of lgbt teenage suicide. It is only honest for those of us supporting this proposition to answer these questions honestly when confronted with them.
I spend my days teaching multicultural education to future teachers at Purdue University in the department of Curriculum and Instruction. If my fifty undergraduate students can grasp the concept, I am confident that a few members of the city council can figure it out as well.
Shall we start with the basics? Ending slavery, giving blacks the right to vote, and affirmative action haven't prevented the continuing disproportionate amount of black families living in poverty or the shamefully low rates of blacks in higher education. For instance the fifty future teachers that I teach at Purdue are overwhelmingly white. Of the two nonwhite students neither are black. Hate crimes against black folk are still overwhelmingly upsetting. Now, ask me if I think that the fact that these things are still problems means that there is no need to maintain our commitment to the above-mentioned lays and public policies? Most of us would say that question is ridiculous. The reason why? Well it is an easy question to answer.
People are afraid of difference and like to feel superior to others. The government can't change that. What it can do is send a message that hatred and judgment has no place here. I don't believe this ordinance will stop discrimination. I do believe it is a start. It is a group of 29 elected officials saying that are uncomfortable with people being fired for who they are or whom they sleep with. Maybe just maybe the message the Indianapolis doesn't support hatred will impact the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered folks perceptions of themselves. Maybe for a teenager to hear that the government doesn't think its okay to treat gay people badly will think twice before killing themselves because they are gay.
Laws don't immediately change reality. They do shape long-term social responses to issue. Don't avoid the conversation by saying it is a useless law. It is a glass of water for 1 out of 10 people who are lost wondering in the desert. It is not enough to keep people alive forever but still who wouldn't drink what they are given