Monday, April 09, 2007

Rep. Richardson Uses Ken Blackwell to Reject Gay Rights in OR

Now that's something I didn't expect to see: I'm watching the evening hearings on SB2 and HB2007, the non-discrimination and civil unions bills, respectively. They're still doing invited testimony before the public gets a crack (and we've heard it's a fairly weird scene in the hearing room, with a large contingent of Russians bearing "One Man One Woman" stickers in all manner of places) , but I had to report what Jerry Dennis Richardson (R-Central Point) had to say about it all.

Of course he's going to come down in opposition to both, but his opening rationale was that it's insulting to black people and other racial minorities to elevate homosexual rights to a similar plane of moral rectitude. And who should he use to justify that conceit (Richardson is white) but none other than former Ohio Secretary of State--and serial civil rights abuser--Ken Blackwell. I manually closed my jaw as Richardson read Blackwell's furious defense of discrimination, declaring there to be no analogy between what his people went through, and what homosexuals and transgendered have gone through. He referred to the packages as constituting of special rights rather than equal ones, and suggested the breakdown of the traditional family and religious freedom if they were to be passed.

Richardson fumbled his way through the rest of the standard line--because an otter and a 9 year old can't get married, giving gays marriage benefits discriminates against the otter AND the boy--but nothing he said could stick as much as the blithe effort to pass off someone who has NO credibility on any kind of judgement as to the meaning of civil rights*, and pretend that if we don't indulge Blackwell's homophobic perogative that our state will be metaphorically crapping on Rosa Parks Avenue (which may be legal as a protest, however).

He was bracketed by Reps. Gelser and Kotek, both supporters of the bills, so perhaps--hopefully--Richardson's desperate heave to one of the Republican Party's most notoriously uncivil authorities on civil rights went largely unnoticed. I will contact Chair Rosenbaum's office for a copy of Blackwell's remarks when available.

I'm not sure how late the hearing will go--at least 7:30 I imagine, so tune in to Comcast 311 or stream it live from

*must the affronts be detailed? I sure hope not.