We have an African-American in the White House, gays ok'd in the military, immigration reforms finally being intelligently addressed, women cleared for combat on the battlefield, the Boy Scouts are reconsidering their no-gays policy, and pretty soon, we can have chicken coops right here in the city.
Sounds like a lot of progressing going on -especially with the chicken coops.
But in a time when Mayor Bob Buckhorn is extolling the virtues of this city to businessmen and financiers and the 'best and the brightest' of college grads with the hope of drawing them to our city, we have yet another blight on the name of our city which recently has endured way too many national black eyes and punch lines.
And now, with last Thursday's Hillsborough County Commission Commissioners rejecting a domestic registry measure in a 4-3 vote, which would have benefited people in hetrosexual and same-sex relationships by allowing them to participate in decisions for their partners which would normally be extended only to blood relatives and/or spouses, well we come off looking like a bunch of back country backward, dare we say it...rednecks and rubes.
At the very least not the culturally rich, and enlightened and socially progressive image we have been trying so darned hard to project to the world and to all of those best and brightest and businessmen and financiers.
And like it or not, even though the Commissioners are bucking a regional trend with domestic registry ordinances in place in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater and Pinellas County, we still take it on the noggin in the image department, Tampa being part of Hillsborough County and all.
Commissioner Al Higgenbothan says he cast his 'no' vote based on his religious beliefs.
Since when is religion supposed to have anything to do with government.
The elephant in that room where the voting took place is obviously the 'S' word. Or words. Same-Sex Marriage, and the fear on the part of these socially conservative four nay voters that somehow, this registry thing would lead to, heaven forbid, guys marrying guys and gals marrying gals, just like they do in several other states.
And then there's the 'I' word.
And the wrong headedness in confusing a human rights issue with a hot button social issue.
Vicco, Kentucky is a small town in central Kentucky, pop. 335, smack in the middle of the Appalachian coal fields. The good citizens of Vicco have fallen on hard times since their mines closed down and workers fled the area.
The mayor, a gay man who owns the town's only beauty salon, spends his busy days coloring and cutting hair, then running the short block to city hall to tend to the city business, which right now is to attract people and business and financiers to the struggling municipality and he's doing a good job of it, according to an article about him and the town in the New York Times.
And on January 13 of this year, the small, struggling town of Vicco Kentucky became the smallest city in the United States to pass an ordinance by their city council in a vote of 3-1, to ban discrimination against anyone based on sexual orientation or gender identy.
The mayor says the reason it passed with nary a sour word -even though there was one nay based on the council-man's religious beliefs - was bacause "We have a lot of tolerance here, and we are looking to move forward."
Take note, Al Higgenbothan and all of the rest of the Hillsborough County Commissioners.