[Vision2020] Criticism of Moscow Example of Defining Values

Tom Hansen thansen at moscow.com
Fri Dec 28 09:50:20 PST 2007

>From this week's "Out on the Town" column (by Jill Wagner) of 7 Magazine at:



Criticism of Moscow Example of Defining Values
By Jill Wagner

The city of Moscow made a caring decision to offer health insurance to
people who might not otherwise be covered and suddenly found itself under
the harsh scrutiny of the Idaho Values Alliance.  So much for the value of
taking care of each other.

I've lost count of the number of times I've heard critics of U.S. foreign
policy gripe about the billions of dollars we send to Africa for people
living with AIDS, to victims of natural disaster in faraway lands or
otherwise parcel out abroad when there are grave domestic problems that need
attention.  These critics then ask, what about the millions of Americans who
live in poverty, have no health insurance, are homeless or suffer under the
weight of drug abuse?

The Moscow City Council voted to offer medical benefits to domestic partners
of employees and the traditional values folks blew their top.  Apparently,
we can only take care of our own if they fit a very specific set of
criteria, that is, if the couple seeking benefits is a man and a woman with
a marriage license.

Forget about same-sex couples, this alliance doesn't even want a man and a
woman who share a home, but are not legally married, to also share medical

When my partner read out loud the newspaper story about the flap to our
south, I hissed at the mention of the word "values."  It was a visceral
reaction that caught me off guard.  Clearly, I have some rather deep and
negative assumptions about those who claim "values" as their guiding

Thanks in large part to President Bush and his policies, the word is like an
arrow aimed at the hearts of LGBT Americans.  Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and
transgender people have no value to those who believe in family values.

With 2008 upon us, I am elated it is a presidential election year.  For all
but six months of the nearly eight years I have lived in Spokane, Bush has
been president.  How I would love to experience this region under the
influence of a more liberal administration.

By no means do I believe there will be a quick and wholesale shift in
attitude if a Democrat wins the White House.  But I can't help but think
that a different leader can foster a different understanding between
disparate communities.

Primary election season starts in a few weeks, which means a dialogue about
social justice could and should kick off the new year.  We should be
demanding to know what the candidates think and feel about the federal
non-discrimination act.

While communities like Moscow (and Spokane) institute laws to honor all
their citizens, we as voters can ask the same of our federal officials.  I
remember by the end of 1992, the election season had been dubbed the Year of
the Woman.  Wouldn't it be grand to find ourselves at this time next
December celebrating the Year of the Queer?


Seeya round town, Moscow.

Tom Hansen
Moscow, Idaho

"Gays and lesbians stood up for civil rights in Montgomery, Selma, in
Albany, Georgia and St. Augustine, Florida, and many other campaigns of the
Civil Rights Movement.  Many of these courageous men and women were fighting
for my freedom at a time when they could find few voices for their own, and
I salute their contributions."

- Coretta Scott King (March 30, 1998)

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