By Rep. Darrio MeltonLast week, a federal judge in Mobile struck down Alabama’s ban on same-sex marriages, generating a statewide conversation about family values.
For many couples across the state, this meant that they are able to have their families validated by the state, allowing them to share benefits and adopt children.
For others, this meant a deterioration of traditional family values in Alabama. Speaker Mike Hubbard blasted the ruling, saying, “The Legislature will encourage a vigorous appeals process, and we will continue defending the Christian conservative values that make Alabama a special place to live.”
I’m glad the Speaker is willing to defend Christian values–and I hope that he puts all of those Christian values to work in the Alabama Legislature.
Jesus said to feed the poor and heal the sick, yet hard-working Alabamians die every day due to insufficient and inaccessible health care. Nearly a quarter of a million children in Alabama regularly struggle with hunger. Too many parents can’t find job opportunities to provide for their families, and too many children are being denied the ability to reach their full potential because of our struggling education system in this state.
And the same politicians in Montgomery who are committed to “defending the Christian conservative values” support this status quo that doesn’t work for too many families.
It’s our job as legislators to tackle the big issues facing our state and to relieve the pressure from our hardest working Alabamians–Alabamians who don’t know if they’ll be able to make rent or when they’ll be able to put a meal on the table again or how they’ll pay for a flat tire.
By expanding Medicaid, we can make health care available to 300,000 working men and women. Healthy individuals creates healthy families–it reduces the number of sick days that children have to take from school and keeps elderly relatives safe from potentially devastating sicknesses.
By increasing the minimum wage, guaranteeing equal pay for equal work and offering paid family leave, we can make hard work pay off for those who are doing everything they can to provide for their families. This gives kids a secure home and allows them to focus better in school, which yields better grades and a solid future.
There are so many things we can be doing to promote Christian, family values in Alabama. In the words of Jesus, “Let’s not just strain at a gnat and swallow a camel.”
I hope my fellow legislators don’t get bogged down on this one issue, and that we are able to put the other Christian values to work in Montgomery, too.
Representative Darrio Melton is a Democrat from Selma. He was elected to the Alabama house of Representatives in 2010 and currently serves as the Chair of the House Democratic Caucus.