In 2014, Alabama was No. 2 on a Rolling Stone list of the 5 Worst States for LGBT People.
Three years later, a license for a same-sex marriage is now attainable in Alabama, and more rights are slowly being reclaimed after a long history of oppression and hatred toward LGBT people.
Birmingham has recently taken a significant step forward for LGBT, minority and women rights after electing as mayor Randall Woodfin, a 36-year-old Democrat who is pushing the boundaries of antiquated Alabama politics. He is set to take office on Nov. 28.
He has already achieved one of his goals: passing the Human Rights Ordinance, which establishes anti-discrimination laws against LGBT people for the first time in Alabama. The ordinance makes it illegal “for any entity operating in the city to discriminate against a person based on his or her race, sexual orientation, national origin, gender identity or disability,” according to AL.com.
Woodfin’s website lists his plans as mayor, including support of minority- and women-owned businesses and the rolling out of LGBT protections. He also intends to “hire an LGBT liaison to serve on (his) executive staff.”
Legislators are finally understanding that inclusiveness makes a city, state or country thrive. America is the land of opportunity, so should we not open our arms to everyone else in pursuit of happiness?
Bigotry still runs rampant in Alabama and, unfortunately, even on campus. You can see homophobia, transphobia, racism and sexism every day if you pay attention.
The hatred is even more glaring in smaller cities and towns; you pass little churches with four-word names that often don’t preach a non-judgmental love, like Mark 12:31 and Matthew 7 speak about in the Bible. So-called Christians pass judgment upon others in the name of God when they forget what the Bible actually teaches.
Although progress has been made for the cause of LGBT equality, many steps remain. Birmingham is slowly becoming more progressive, and showing discrimination will no longer stand in our state.
Josh Simmons, a junior English major from Elba, agrees that the ordinance is a step forward for the state but it shouldn’t stop there. “Birmingham legalizing this is a huge step forward, not just for Alabama, but for other major cities to follow suit,” Simmons said.