Some of my recent posts have been unhappy, to say in the least. They have been in response to legislative nonsense which is literally threatening the lives of my friends in various states (in the Union, not states of mind ;). It's sort of odd, being insulated as I am, because while everyone around me is more or less the choir when it comes to debating issues, I can get my hopes up that maybe things aren't so dire. The weddings held around the country were an incredible boost.
And then suddenly a bill comes up and often even gets passed by at least one twig on the legislative branch, and suddenly the fight for lives is once again on. I often succumb to despair, because I don't understand how so many people can be so blind as to what these politicians are trying to do to people whom they cleverly dehumanize by affixing a label. It doesn't even technically have to pass house/senate or be signed into a law; the fact that it actually became a bill is scary enough.
However I do have the fortune of knowing many wonderful people. More importantly, I know many wonderful people who are doing something, rather than just flailing around blindly. One of them is fighting perhaps the scariest of the "Kill them all and let God sort them out" bills; the Conscientious Objector Policy Act which passed in the Michigan house on April 21st.
Since apparently it just wasn't important enough to make national news (or even Michigan news; I've seen many folks in Mi who are seeing this for the first time on LJ and then saying it was not reported at all locally), here is a summary: Doctors in Michigan cannot be censured for refusing to treat someone based on the doctor's ethical, moral, or religious beliefs. Racial refusal is !ok, though, and emergency medical care (like if a badly beaten young man has been yanked off of a fence and brought in unconscious) must be rendered.
Upon further reading I discovered that the bill is allegedly there to keep Catholic doctors from being sued for not performing abortions or prescribing birth control. It is worded vaguely enough, however, that it could be used to deny help to anyone so long as it isn't based on skin color or national origin.
Ethical: He serial-murdered nursing students. Let him rot from the injury he got in the jail fight.
Moral: She's lesbian and therefore morally repugnant. The breast cancer is just nature's way of weeding her out.
Religious: I'm sorry, but the patient is male. By the mores of my religion I may not look at any male other than my husband.
The bill's sponsor has welcomed other people to amend the language so as to clear up the loopholes. Others have pointed out that the bill's language is formed around a 1967 non-discrimination law, which specifically does not include "sexual orientation" as a protected status. They like it fine just as it is, thankyouverymuch.
That could end up being the loophole which gets the thing killed if it passes the senate and is signed by the governor -- the Michigan non-discrimination laws include religious faith, and the bill about denying service does include "religious" grounds. So the first time a "Christian" doctor refuses to treat a Catholic or a Jehovah's Witness or a Jew or a Mormon because his religion considers them to be apostates; or the first time a Sunni Muslim doctor refuses to treat a Shi'i Muslim, the "religious grounds" portion will be in direct conflict with the Elliot-Larsen Act.
So anyway, political stuff aside, the friend I mentioned before is Jeff Huo, who graces LJ's presence under the username turnberryknkn. Some of his entries are silly; some are romantic; those about his family and friends are warm; and those about medicine are fervent. Jeff took a "vacation" from medical school in order to get a PhD (for those who have never suffered through or seen someone suffer through a PhD, note that this is about equivalent to taking a break from dangling over pits of rabid rats in order to dangle over pits of aggressive deadly snakes).
Once Jeff finishes his PhD (on how certain cells/genes/something (IANAD) are more susceptible to diabetes) he will return to medical school to become a doctor for children with cancer. For an idea of his dedication to this path, see this entry. In his copious spare time he's a medical activist who is very passionate about funding for health care for those who can't afford it and other "quality of life" issues.
However, this post is the reason for the title of my current post. One thing I can count on is that there are people like Jeff who are doing everything possible to fight all of the nastier sides of humanity, and that he is thankfully nowhere near alone. In fighting HB 5006, Jeff is representing the Michigan State Medical Association -- meaning that most doctors will ignore this law in order to uphold their Hippocratic Oath.
With so many enemies around it's sometimes hard to see the friends. Remember, though, that there are people on our side, and many aren't specifically gay rights activists. In fact, I think it's extremely relevant that many of those fighting against BGLT discrimination are doing so under the banner of human rights -- as it should be.