I edited the length of this statement on the fly Tuesday wanting to make sure I kept it brief because it was VERY cold and did not want to over stay my welcome, this is the full statement I had written and the core of the message was retained. I was very honored to have been invited to be a part of this important event.
I have a confession. I am straight, I am a person of faith, and I am a citizen. That may not be particularly astonishing news, though it may be to those who occupy this rotunda behind me that I am all of these things and find HB2453 an offense to my citizenship, to all of you, and to my deeply held religious beliefs!
I am glad to see HB 2453 stalled by Senator Wagle and the hopes for passage seen as dim based on pressure from the business community and the possible negative economic impact it would have. That being said, it is unfortunate and unjust that the discriminatory abuse and damage it would do to real people, with real lives, for no other reason than who they love, was not the primary reason for the Bill’s controversy and stalling by the Senate President.
As I read the bill I see no way to compromise or rework the bill that will not result in discrimination against citizens in our State, and in particular in its current form, discrimination against same gender couples, not to mention the broad scope of ambiguous language used that opens the door for all kinds of “religious” objections to marriages. To those who say this bill is not promoting discrimination, I would say, you are at best are too biased toward the subject and the Bill to be objective or and at worse you are simply disingenuous.
When I look to this bill as an actual “religious” protection from my own Christian tradition, Jesus was only critical and condemning of the oppressive civil government of his day and the oppressive actions of some of the religious leaders of his day. Other than that he welcomed into his presence “All,” he certainly did not send anyone away because of his “deeply held religious beliefs.”
Personally I do not believe HB2453 is dead yet and that is why we must remain ever alert to the goings on here in our state and national government. This “bill,” whether in its current form or some amended form thereof, is not a “religious freedom” bill at all and it breaches any sense of separation of state set forth in our Constitution and the writings of Thomas Jefferson. This bill is a “discrimination” bill cloaked in religious language in order to appeal to certain theological based persons in our state.
I would implore us to not respond and react in kind to those who would discriminate against and oppress our friends, family, brothers, sisters, moms, dads, nieces and nephews I would encourage us to overcome them with love. Love is a powerful force, love is what has brought you here to this place, and it has the power to transform our land into a land of equality and justice for all, where ALL MEANS ALL, is the rule and not the exception.
I want you to take a second and look around you, really look at the person/persons next to you, how many are here? The day is coming, and I believe it is not far off, when love will be celebrated for all regardless of gender, a day when love is love. The day is coming when moms and moms, dads and dads, and moms and dads will tell their children of this day and more to come. We are not there yet, obviously, the road will not be easy, the resistance will be strong, and when it is difficult to put one foot in front of the other, and the days are long and the nights are longer, when your knees feel weak, your arms are weary, and your voice raspy and tired of crying out, you remember this sight, your remember why we rally, you remember all these persons with you here in this place and around the world who stand by your side, you remember the equality and justice for which we stand. We may not change the hearts of souls of everyone, but if our standing and speaking up help others to stand and speak up then this rally is worth the time! And when you stand and speak know, you are not alone. You are NOT ALONE! Thank you … Peace and Light for Our Journey!