Yesterday an Anniston Star reporter published a “Hot Blast” comparing Alabama to Russia.
No, it wasn’t comparing Alabama’s recent bout with unbearably freezing weather with Russia’s Siberian Tundra. It wasn’t even pining for Alabama’s system of government to be more like the Russian state — although Alabama conservatives do sometimes jokingly refer to the Anniston paper as the Red Star.
Instead, The Anniston Star said Alabama is like Russia because we have laws that it deems discriminatory against homosexuals.
Alabama’s code states that when teaching sexual education in public schools, the following must be said:
An emphasis, in a factual manner and from a public health perspective, that homosexuality is not a lifestyle acceptable to the general public and that homosexual conduct is a criminal offense under the laws of the state.
Notice that the law does not encourage or condone physical, economic, or emotional harassment of homosexuals in any way.
A gay Alabamian can open a business without fear of harassment from the government based on their orientation. They can openly attend social functions without fear of bodily harm. They can find religious institutions that affirm their beliefs and allow them to worship however they see fit. The Alabama legislature even includes an openly gay state representative.
None of that could be true in Russia.
Many LGBT groups have even called for a boycott of the upcoming Sochi Olympic games, due to both the human rights violations and the Russian government’s decision to insight violence against homosexuals.
No matter your conviction on gay marriage or homosexuality in general, physically or emotionally attacking another human being is not the way to approach any issue.
Comparing one small section of Alabama’s code to the type of hate crimes that are happening regularly in Russia is not only ridiculous, it is an insult to those Russian citizens who currently live in fear of persecution and bodily harm from their government.