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COMMENTARY: Which America do you want to live in?

Day by day, two Americas are emerging.

One is split by the vast middle. Most residents of the West Coast and the Northeast share similar values in support of equality and fairness. Then there is Middle America, where hate, discrimination and bigotry are being practiced daily and voted into law, thus creating two separate and unequal societies.

Just as slavery once divided the nation, so is gay civil rights.

Gay marriage is legal in Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and the District of Columbia. Civil unions are permitted in California, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon and Washington; Illinois will join the fold on June 1, and Hawaii and Delaware on Jan. 1, 2012.

New York and Rhode Island appear poised to be the next states to vote on marriage equality.

In California, legislators are passing bills that give LGBT people the same rights enjoyed by heterosexuals. One bill would mandate that public schools teach about LGBT contributions to society throughout history, a groundbreaking measure that would help to show California students the diversity of humans.

But for every victory comes a defeat. Here is a random sampling.

The legislature in Indiana, the eastern neighbor of Illinois, voted overwhelmingly to ban gay marriage, and stick a dagger in civil unions and any other contract similar to same-sex marriage.

In Tennessee, state Sen. Stacey Campfield, a Republican from Knoxville, is pushing a bill that would prevent public schoolteachers from discussing any LGBT issues, or even utter the word “gay.” The bill is clearly unconstitutional because it denies free speech, but that hasn’t stopped lawmakers from advancing the measure out of committee.

Also in Tennessee, the state House voted to ban cities from enacting anti-discrimination laws after Metro Nashville had did so.

In Texas, which is dominated by the GOP in both branches of the legislature and the governor’s office, lawmakers are up to no good. They are trying to eliminate transgender marriage rights.

Also in Texas, the state House voted to force colleges and universities to spend the same amount of money on “family and traditional values” centers as LGBT resource centers. The effect will be to kill the LGBT centers, because high education is strapped for cash these days. This same House found the imminent lack of wisdom to defeat a measure that would have required school districts to report harassment and discrimination against LGBT students.

In Iowa, where gay marriages have been occurring without the sky falling or crops destroyed by clouds of locusts, anti-gay forces have already ousted three of the state justices who ruled in 2009 that Iowa’s ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional – and now they want to impeach the rest of them.

In Arizona, lawmakers added another legal hurdle to make it even more difficult for gays and lesbians to adopt children.

The Religious Right, which has raised countless millions of dollars with its effort to demonize LGBT people, seems to have gained new momentum is the hate game. Taking a page right out of the Republican playbook, the Religious Right is spreading bald-faced lies in a propaganda campaign to scare people to their pathetic cause.

Pat Robertson, who pontificates daily on the 700 Club on Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), is one of the biggest liars of them all. This week, he blathered that liberals only support abortion so they can achieve lesbian equality. That head-scratcher can be seen in the following video.



In the past week, a major break in the child kidnapping case involving lesbians who broke up reportedly reveals that a right-wing Christian network is implicated in the matter. Those reportedly implicated included people tied to Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University, Liberty Counsel, Liberty Center for Law and Policy, and others.

This is just a sampling of the news. It is clear that Religious Right figures, especially those who are promoting the homophobia that is spreading across Africa through their missionary efforts, are now applying those despicable tactics in many parts of the United States.

So, which America do you want to live in? Are you willing to fight for your rights to equality? Or are you going to sit on the sidelines and settle for being a second-class citizen?