I love a lass,
As a cedar tall and slender;
Sweet cowslip’s grace,
Is her nominative case,
And she’s of the feminine gender!
— John O’Keefe, The Agreeable Surprise, (1783)
January was a bad month for the LGBTQ community. First it was Mississippi that made a brief appearance in the United States Supreme Court. Then it was Karen Pence, the vice-president’s wife, who made an appearance in the media. And, finally, the armed services made a brief appearance in the United States Supreme Court.
It began with news on January 8, 2019, when a majority of the United States Supreme Court declined to get involved in a lawsuit challenging a law passed by the Mississippi legislature in 2016. In that year the legislature said, among other things, that it was alright for state employees and private businesses to refuse services to members of the LGBTQ community. The Mississippi legislature had received word from the God in whom they believe, that members of the LGBTQ community displeased Him notwithstanding the fact that He had participated in their creation. In order to know what their God thought, it was, of course, necessary for His thoughts to be filtered through the minds of His is self-appointed spokespersons in the Mississippi legislature who were responsible for passing the legislation in question. Those who objected to the law thought that for Mississippi legislators to be considered the vessels into which God would pour anti-LBGTQ venom, was highly suspicious, if not completely incredible. The Supreme Court was not so troubled. It declined to delve into the complex question presented, and permitted the law to stand.
A few days later it was Karen Spence, the wife of the vice-president, who was in the news. She, it turned out, was another vessel into which it seemed, God had poured anti-LBGTQ venom. She had taken a job at a school that does not simply refuse to hire members of the LBGTQ community in any capacity, but refuses to accept children if they participate in or condone homosexual activity. Among its many tenets, as described in the Parent Agreement that all parents sign, is a denial of the theory of evolution, a denial to which the actions of the school would lend credence. Employees are required to sign an employment agreement that, among other things, says the employee will not do anything that violates the “unique roles of male and female.”
Karen’s husband, Mike, was outraged that anyone was offended that his wife had gone to work at that well spring of intolerance. The vice-president said that attacking “Christian education, is deeply offensive to us.” Some might respond that a school that espouses intolerance towards those who do not subscribe to what it thinks its God wants, is offensive to the rest of us.
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The final episode occurred on January 22, 2019. The good news was that the bad news imparted to the country on that day, had nothing to do with anyone pretending to be the vessel through which God made His wishes known. It simply had to do with reversing what Trumpsters perceived to be an ill-conceived legacy from the Obama years pertaining to the LGBTQ community. It had to do with military service, something about which the Trump has no first-hand knowledge, due to the debilitating effects of a mischievous heel spur that prevented him from serving in the military.
In 2015, then Secretary of Defense, Ashton Carter, let it be known that he thought the only reason transgender people should be barred from the military should be an individual’s lack of merit. On August 19, 2015, the Secretary said that regulations banning transgender individuals from the military were being dismantled, and on June 30, 2016, those regulations were repealed. Then came the Trump.
Thirteen months after the regulations were repealed, the Trump said transgender people would no longer be permitted to serve in the military. On August 25, 2017, the Trump ordered the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Homeland Security to submit an implementation plan by February 21, 2018, that would, among other things, reinstate the ban on transgender individuals serving in the military. Not unexpectedly, suits were brought attacking the Trump’s actions. One trial court that heard a case that arose because of the decision to ban transgender individuals from the military, ruled, among other things, that the reasons the Trump gave for the ban “were not merely unsupported, but were actually contradicted by the studies, conclusions and judgment of the military itself.”
Another case attacking the ban was brought in Washington state and, like its predecessor, the ban was struck down by the trial court. That court observed that the transgender individuals seeking entry into the military were a protected class and laws impairing their rights were subject to strict scrutiny. The government appealed that decision, and on January 22, 2019, the United States Supreme Court reversed the decision of the lower court that had prevented the administration from implementing its ban on permitting transgender individuals to serve in the military. It permitted the ban to go into effect while the matter was litigated in lower courts. Until the lower courts have ruled on the question, and the case once again arrives at the United States Supreme Court, transgender people will not be permitted to serve in the military. Only God knows how He will instruct the members of that Court to rule when the case once again appears before it. Those among my readers who are not in touch with God, however, probably know.