Mary Arline (queen_of_kithia) wrote,
Mary Arline
queen_of_kithia

Travel ban

No, not that one. The San Francisco-South Dakota travel ban.

First of all, I am 100% opposed to the South Dakota law in question that allows faith-based adoption agencies to deny adoptions on "religious freedoms" grounds. Part of freedom of religion is that one religious group doesn't get to use their beliefs as an excuse to bully or discriminate against people who have different beliefs, and organizations[*](including, sadly, my own church; an issue that I have taken up in writing with the Bishop, who did not respond) that seek to weaponize "religious freedoms" as a tool of discrimination are undermining the very fabric of the Constitution and sullying the reputation of all of us who truly believe in the rights and protections guaranteed by the First Amendment, to say nothing of those of us who truly believe in Christ's teachings of understanding and acceptance of the disenfranchised.

Furthermore, for any political party that claims to care so much about the inalienable rights of unborn children, and which constantly advances adoption as an alternative to abortion, to enact a measure that would prevent loving, qualified parents from adopting a child--thereby saving the child from abortion--on a mere technicality is rank hypocrisy. All of us who oppose abortion--and I count myself as one of them--should be fighting as hard as we can for the rights of same-sex couples to adopt, because if there aren't enough adoptive parents, what do you think the expectant mothers on the horns of the abortion dilemma are going to do? They are going to take the easy way out because the alternatives are intractable. I regret the word "easy"; that was inconsiderate and insensitive of me. Let me put it this way, as I have put it to my congresspeople when trying to persuade them not to repeal the ACA: When faced with the cost of prenatal care--which Republicans apparently do not believe should be covered by health insurance at baseline--plus the cost of raising a child for eighteen years--including, but not limited to, medical care, food, clothing, shelter, child care, school supplies, etc.--versus the one-time cost of an abortion procedure, there's a certain terrible logic in choosing to incur the one-time cost of an abortion, especially for women--whether married or not--already in straitened financial circumstances, and most especially for women--whether married or not--who already have children for whose health and well-being she is responsible, and for whose neglect she will be punished. It's a cruel choice, and one that no parent should ever have to make, but there is a certain terrible logic to it.

Let's be completely honest with ourselves: does anyone really believe that being raised by gay parents is a fate worse than death? Really? Because if the rationale for opposing abortion is that death in the womb is the worst fate that could possibly befall any human being, that nothing that happens after birth could possibly be as bad as not being born at all, then that logic does not compute.

With that said, I do think that the San Francisco blanket ban on doing business in South Dakota may be taking things a little too far. Don't get me wrong; I don't do business with companies that are known to have anti-gay policies, nor do I give money to organizations that promote anti-gay rhetoric.[*](again, including my own church) But to deny business to companies that may not have anti-gay policies--which may, as part of their corporate culture, actually accept and defend the rights of GLBT people, and which may even have actively opposed the anti-gay adoption law--on the basis of location, when they were located here long before the law went into effect, that doesn't seem entirely fair either. Refrain from doing business with the South Dakota state government, by all means, and don't do business with companies that have anti-gay policies regardless of location, but to make a generalization of all companies operating within a certain vicinity, without taking the individiual companies' practices and policies into consideration--isn't that something akin to discrimination in itself?

I mean, the rationale for this ban is that being located within a particular state automatically implies that you agree with any and all laws passed in that state; however, seeing that San Francisco is located in California--which, nine years ago, infamously passed Proposition 8--the San Francisco lawmakers really ought to know better. In fact, Prop 8 was enacted not by the legislature, as was the South Dakota anti-gay adoption law, but by the electorate, the citizens; i.e., representative democracy versus direct democracy. Furthermore, it wasn't repealed via democratic process, by the will of the people, but overturned by the Supreme Court. If the constitutional and completely legitimate legal proceedings of the U.S. Supreme Court had not forced the state of California to take Prop 8 off the books, would it still be law there today? Would it have occurred to them to try to repeal it on their own and, if so, would it have been successful? My point in all this is merely to observe that if San Francisco doesn't like doing business in states that pass anti-gay laws, maybe they should start by refusing to do business with the rest of California.

Does South Dakota have reason for shame? Absolutely. But there's a strong case to be made that San Francisco does as well.

***

On a related note, I'm annoyed and frustrated by the superior attitude of the San Franciscans interviewed for the story, the attitude of, "Oh, who would want to do business in South Dakota in the first place?" The assumption that we don't have anything worthwhile to offer, so the ban doesn't even matter. And there is some truth to that; we don't have much in the way of manufacturing, technology, etc. But we do have commerce and banking, and I wonder how many of those people they talked to have credit cards or checking accounts. More to the point, we have agriculture; I wonder how many of those San Franciscans interviewed for the story eat corn or wheat or soy or sunflower seeds.





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