Governor Bullock released the following statement on the City of Bozeman passing an ordinance prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in employment, housing, and public accommodations:
“Tonight, Bozeman has shown important leadership in protecting their residents and visitors from discrimination. Discrimination is bad for the state’s economy and businesses, as well as contrary to the freedoms we expect as Montanans. I encourage other Montana communities to follow suit in the near future.”
The NDO passed unanimously with all commissioners and Mayor Krauss voting- Deputy Mayor Carson Taylor was absent, but since he introduced the measure, I’m calling it unanimous.
It was a bit anticlimactic. No one spoke during public comment time, and no visible opponents could be identified in the crowd. However, there were at least 40 members of the community visibly wearing “Support Fairness Dignity Security” stickers. I sat with some veteran activists- and there were a few tears- but mostly this was as expected. Bozeman is a welcoming community and recognizes that fairness and dignity are vital components of community structure.
Are you willing to put the economic future of your city at the mercy of fundamentalist hysteria?
If so, just watch Bozeman take over as the leading economic force in the state….
Bozeman Non-Discrimination Ordinance Vote
Now taking place Monday, May 12th at 5pm
Bozeman City Hall
121 N. Rouse Street
Bozeman, MT 59715
It’s still very important that we show support, so
grab friends, family, coworkers and we’ll see you there…
Recently, I have been turning toward the Beatitudes. I have looked at them from every direction and wondered why more “Christians” haven’t taken to them as a way of life. The one that really struck me today was Matthew 5:9, “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.”
All my life, I have been a peacemaker. (Well, okay, there was one period of about 5 years where I tried to stir up as much drama with my family as I could. . .but let’s not dwell on the past) I don’t like it when people fight and I just want to see people get along.
I seem to have been born with a highly developed sense of compassion and empathy. I used to (and still do) befriend what my mom lovingly termed, “The Unlovables.” These were the kids that got picked on in school because they were different. The kids that had no friends. I was constantly asking questions as to why people were being treated so badly and my heart regularly broke for them. I also have to admit (much to my chagrin) that I got a little teary at the end of Dangerous Liaisons when I watched it in high school. My heart broke for Glenn Close’s character. Yes, she brought most of it on herself, but did she really deserve to be treated so harshly by the very society that created her? Where was the compassion? I know, I know. . .it’s silly.
There have been many inspirations for me over the years: Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Jimmy Carter, the Dalai Lama and Martin Luther King, Jr. And more recently, there have been some inspirations from closer to home: Liz Welch of the ACLU Montana, Gregory Smith of the Pride Foundation, Caitlin Copple, Jamie Greer, Edie Windsor just to name a few. These are the “Children of God.”
I have seen some very negative posts lately. I have even created one. And if you saw my last post, you will also know that I have issued an apology in the interest of being a peacemaker. I do not presume to know the mind of God. I would be leery of anyone who says they do. However, I listen to the “Still, small Voice” inside and I know what God says to me. And it may not be the same thing that God says to you. Does it mean you are wrong? No. Does it mean I am wrong? No. Just different.
Christians are not bad people. They are people, just like the rest of us. They make mistakes. They fall from the path. We have to remember to hold ourselves to the very standards that we are comparing them against, like “Judge not, lest ye be judged.” I would also refer to Luke 6:42 “Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou beholdest not the beam in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother’s eye.”
A moment of clarity came to me this morning in a Biblical argument with a misinformed person. The Bible is a tool to show YOU how to live. It is NOT a tool for YOU to show ME how to live. It is for me to use the tool myself. But, I digress.
Psalm 34:14 says, “Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.” Pursuing peace and negotiating it is a tricky business. But even the ACT of pursing peace is the act of departing from evil and doing good. We need to be mindful of that.
The Old Testament was tribal law, meant to hold the Israelites together during the time when they had no home. The Old Testament is included in the Bible to show Christians where they came from and what their history was. Jesus brought the New Testament to show a better way to live. It is a new covenant, replacing the old. Jesus was/is the Son of God. A child of God. A peacemaker.
I will continue to be a peacemaker. I will continue to support people that are peacemakers. I will continue to fight for people’s rights and to fight injustice where I see it. That is part of what being a peacemaker is.
Perhaps I am not on the forefront, helping to change and write policies and laws, but that doesn’t mean I am ineffective. I am on the sidelines, changing people’s minds and hearts. I write because I can, because it is a talent given to me by God and I have been charged with using that talent. And I will continue to wield it as a peacemaker. I am a child of God.
- Join Pride Foundation Scholars At Special Reception (dgsmith.org)
- You’re Invited (dgsmith.org)
The recitals of the proposed Helena, Montana LGBT non-discrimination ordinance state that “it is the intent of the City of Helena that no person shall be denied his or her civil rights or be discriminated against based upon his or her sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.” It is a wonderful statement, really, one that even a few years ago would have been unimaginable, coming from any Montana governmental subdivision, state or local. Yet, here it is.
And I have been dubious for so long, even though I know in my soul that equality is a social inevitability, rather than a mere possibility. It is here, and it is now. But, do we have the will, collectively, as a community to make it happen. The Helena City Commission is out there, and though we have not always appreciated some of their steps or the way in which they took them, passing this ordinance will be a bold step forward. I for one appreciate the resolve and energy it has taken to come even this far. They have done their part.
The advocates too, the Montana Human Rights Network, the ACLU, other organizations, and many individuals who work, live, play and pray here have done their part too. They have stepped up and spoken out on behalf of a marginalized group that for too long has lived in fear and been denied equality. They are not asking for something more, or something special, but just the opportunity to live as the majority do – without fear or denial of security in employment, to participate in social and recreational activities with their friends, family and neighbors, schoolmates and fellow churchgoers, etc., and to be able to access all accommodations for basic needs including food, health, shelter, etc.. We owe these dedicated, courageous volunteers a great debt of gratitude for their willingness to fight the good fight, regardless of the outcome.
There have been the nay sayers too. They have stood up and said what they believe. And though we may disagree, we do not judge or condemn. In fact, we very much support their right to hold their beliefs and to practice them and voice them as they do. These rights are fundamental and vital to the life of this democracy. We propose. We discuss and dissent. We resolve and we move on – together.
Then, there are the rest of us, the citizens of the Helena valley, the community and the people.
We too have a stake in this. We have the opportunity to shape a community which truly reflects our values, one that can shine as a beacon of humanity for all of Montana, as the capital city should. We enjoy diversity, for otherwise life would be boring. We embrace the idea of a free society, for it is our heritage. We love justice, as even the prophets proclaimed that we should. Most of all, we thrive on patience, tolerance, kindness and love. And the greatest of these is love. The great ones proclaimed it, as even the wise and the holy ones have lived it. The singers sing about it, as the preachers preach about it. And it is all true, in the end. We must love one another even as we have been loved – not some frothy and emotional, sappy appeal, but the kind of action that elevates others need and dignity above our own. It is the kind of action which tolerates differences in deference to commonality and our shared struggle.
And so I ask – do we have it? We talk, preach and pray about notions like peace, justice, and fairness, and I believe that we intend them and desire them. But, do we do them? If I have evoked even a moment of pause to consider this question, we need not be too hard on ourselves. For in this action now before us we have the opportunity to redeem our lack of fidelity to our best of intentions. I am asking you, the people of this community to come out and join me in supporting the Helena Non-discrimination ordinance which will be coming on for final hearing and approval by the Helena City Commission at 6:00 on Monday, December 17th, not just because it is of vital importance to so many, or because it is the right thing to do, but because it says so much fundamentally about who we are as a community, as a society, about being the change we wish to see in the world. It is not enough to have good intentions, to talk, preach and pray about the world that we want to live in, that we want for our children. We have to get out and build it.
- The State Of The Ordinance (dgsmith.org)
- Boise Approves Transgender-inclusive Non-Discrimination Ordinance (dgsmith.org)
- Help! Helena Non-discrimination Poll Freeped By Haters (bilerico.com)
Jesse Page, left, and Brendan Taga, exchange wedding vows just after midnight on Sunday, December 9, 2012 at the King County Courthouse in Seattle. Marriage ceremonies were held in the courtroom of Superior Court Judge Mary Yu beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Sunday, the first day same-sex couples in Washington State can legally be married. Many of the judges donated their time to be at the courthouse to officiate at the weddings. Click pic for more…. Photo: JOSHUA TRUJILLO / SEATTLEPI.COM
- Same-sex couples in WA start taking wedding vows (sfgate.com)
- Who’s Marrying the First Gay Couple? Judge Mary Yu (slog.thestranger.com)