The Rostow Report by Ann Rostow

“Just get this guy out of office. And if it takes another seventy-something white guy to do it, fine. Biden’s not my top choice by any means, but I’m focused on the ultimate goal.”


RELIGION BEING USED AS A FREE PASS TO DISCRIMINATE

You know, of course, that the Supreme Court will start its next term with two major GLBT cases, one gay and one trans, both of which will examine the federal law that protects Americans from workplace discrimination on the basis of sex. Now, we may just have another major case on the docket, which would not be good news.

In mid-July, Catholic Social Services of Philadelphia asked the Supreme Court to reverse a decision out of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, which upheld the city’s right to protect same-sex couples from discrimination (in becoming foster parents) earlier this year. The appeal, if accepted, will raise the same issue we’ve seen with all those bakers and florists and what have you, namely when can religion be used as a free pass to avoid local laws that protect against GLBT bias? The answer should be “never,” but with these justices, it might be “um, well, it depends, sometimes,” or maybe even “whenever they like.”

It’s bad enough that the conservative Court is set to examine our rights under federal law in the workplace. God help us if they also throw us into the lion’s den with all those antigay Christians desperately seeking to avoid being seen doing business with us in public. We’ve already dodged a couple of these High Court petitions, but it’s just a matter of time before one of them gets accepted.

The justices are on break at the moment. They will start considering whether to accept new cases in the fall, and they will hear oral arguments on our gay workplace case on October 8. I’m not sure exactly when arguments in the transgender workplace case are scheduled, but it must be around the same time.


WHERE HAVE ALL THE FLOWERS GONE?

I just read that Alabama’s secretary of state, John Merrill, has thrown his hat into the Senate race with a call to make American TV great again. 

“There’s no more TV shows like Gunsmoke or Bonanza or The Virginian or I Love Lucy or Andy Griffith,” he said sadly.  “People are too interested in homosexual activities. They’re too interested in the wife swap TV shows and the shows that are not morally uplifting. That’s the problem.” 

Homosexual activities and the wife swap TV shows? What exactly has he been watching?  And where can we stream these programs? 

Speaking to NBC, Merrill also bemoaned the fact that everyone focused more on the personal lives of the women’s soccer team members rather than their skill on the field. When the men’s hockey team beat the Russians in 1980, he reminded us, no one mentioned sexual orientation. Kids these days!

Here in our household, we just binged on Years and Years, HBO’s six-part miniseries that follows an English family through the 15 years beginning in 2019. It was excellent, but we all sat in stunned silence afterwards wondering if things could indeed deteriorate to this extent. Spoiler alert: Trump wins reelection and is followed by Pence. Bananas and butterflies disappear. The British Prime Minister makes Boris Johnson look like Churchill

On second thought, Bonanza was a pretty good show.


JUST GET HIM OUT

I have to confess I have not read the Mueller report. On the other hand, I have read the New York Times every day for years and watched cable news on a continual basis. I’ve heard it all, and I have no sense that some brand new piece of unreported information rose up from those 400-plus pages. 

Given that, let’s say that Mueller’s testimony the other day was less than riveting. 

But I have no problem with the House Democrats simply spending the next year piling on through hearings and court machinations, eroding the Trumpists though a thousand cuts rather than one slashing impeachment. Just get this guy out of office. And if it takes another seventy-something white guy to do it, fine. Biden’s not my top choice by any means, but I’m focused on the ultimate goal.

It’s not just Trump. It’s his insidious minions now seeping into every level of government. In early July, Secretary of State Pompeo launched an Orwellian 10-member “Commission on Unalienable Rights,” a group of conservative numchucks tasked to provide “fresh thinking about human rights discourse where such discourse has departed from our nation’s founding principles of natural law and natural rights.” 

The commission will not consult the veteran members of the State Department’s existing human rights bureau, but, it seems, will simply start from scratch, redefining the very concept of “human rights” on behalf of our nation. 

Let’s not even look at the Departments of Housing or Education or Justice, where gay and trans people are being written out of policy guidelines on a regular basis. Let’s just say that we can’t survive another four years of this. And despite Ruth Ginsburg’s superhuman strength of will, I’m worried for her. 


I’LL DO BETTER NEXT MONTH

I could have told you about the Tennessee state representative, Bill Sanderson, who resigned as his Grindr sexcapades were about to become public. And yes, of course he was a late middle-aged white guy with an antigay record. 

Likewise, I could have written about the Russian activist, stabbed to death at her apartment in St. Petersburg after finding herself on an antigay website hit list based on the Saw movies. 

Or how about the British lesbians brutally attacked on a bus by four teenaged boys?

The Texas governor signed the “Save Chick-fil-A” bill based on an incident in San Antonio, where the city authorities rejected an application to put a franchise in the airport to due to its antigay record. The new law forbids governments from taking “adverse actions” against companies or individuals due to their religious beliefs. 

And I could have gone on at length about a GLBT case in Arizona, where the state supreme court has been sitting on its opinion for over six months. Again, this is one of those cases, a stationery store where the Christian owners want assurances that they won’t be forced to produce wedding invitations for same-sex couples under the inclusive Phoenix civil rights laws. What’s the hold up guys? It will be important because it will give us another clue to the impact of the High Court’s muddled opinion in last year’s antigay bakery case, Masterpiece Cakeshop.

In the end, yes I did just tell you about these matters, but not with any detail. And as usual, there were many GLBT news items left on the table in favor of random rambling. I’ll do better next month. n


arostow@aol.com