IN COLORADO, voters amended the state constitution to keep antidiscrimination laws from covering gays. Activists in Maine want to limit civil rights statutes to the categories listed in the Maine Human Rights Act -- one of which is not sexual orientation. Cincinnati's charter was changed to block ordinances banning discrimination on the basis of homosexuality.
In each of these cases, opponents are challenging the anti-gay-rights initiative, and each case is at a different point in the legal proceedings. Colorado's amendment is before the US Supreme Court; Maine's proposal will be on the ballot next month; Cincinnati's charter change has been upheld by the US Court of Appeals. But they all raise the same interesting question:
Should discrimination against homosexuals be illegal?
That is not the same as asking whether discrimination against homosexuals is wrong. My view -- the majority view, I think -- is that in most cases, discriminating against someone because he is gay is as despicable as discriminating against someone because he is Asian. Or Catholic. Or short.
There is never an excuse for antigay mockery or humiliation. There is no gay escape clause to "Love thy neighbor as thyself," the biblical command to treat each human being with decency and respect. Not even for those who believe (as I do) that homosexuality is not good for society and should not be encouraged. . . .