By Hallie Engel
November 04, 2006
As I've grown older, certain things I held to be true in my youth have proven to be mere fallacies, like the existence of Santa Claus, the Tooth-fairy, and tolerance.
I always assumed Ketchikan was filled with good-hearted, accepting, non-judgmental people who respected the rights of others and wanted all Alaskans to be afforded absolute equality. As I can see with the abhorrent local reaction to the suggestion of offering same-sex couples benefits given to married people, I was wrong. Apparently, ignorance, fear, homophobia, and discrimination are the themes du jour.
Alaska's gay and lesbian citizens deserve the same rights as its heterosexual ones. If various religious organizations and the beliefs they promote disagree, too bad; church and state are separate, and for good reason. The idea of a devoted same-sex couple not being able to provide for each like their married counterparts is tragic. I can only imagine how some of the people encouraging discrimination might feel if they could not provide medical insurance for the person they chose to spend their life with, or if they were denied access to that individual in an emergency situation, but apparently compassion as such is an outdated value.
I would also like to express concern for the various individuals who have written in fearing that same-sex benefits would somehow allow people to start receiving legal protections for any animals they engage in adult relations with- please, I beseech you: get help to cope with these irrational and outlandish fears.
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