On Saturday, August 27, two events are planned in Charlotte, NC: Charlotte Gay Pride and “God Has a Better Way”.
The goals of Charlotte Gay Pride are to:
- Celebrate LGBT families from the Charlotte area
- Provide LGBT individuals with a place to celebrate without harassment
- Advance LGBT rights and visibility in the Charlotte community
- Enpower individuals to be themselves in a relaxed and accepting environment
- Gather hundreds of “worshipers, intercessors, musicians, soul-winners, walkers, talkers and believers of every age, color and size to stand together”
- To “walk through or surround the (Charlotte Gay Pride) event to evangelize, sing, pray, hand out water and reach out with love to those in attendance while resisting the (gay) agenda.”
- And, they “expect this to be a challenging day as sexual immorality, wickedness, and rejection will abound, nevertheless, into the battle (they) must go-and (they) have a plan.”
More on the story here.
It’s been a rough few weeks for LGBT persons in Montana.
I testified at the legislature (with many of my brothers and sisters) against HB 516 which would overturn (perhaps even unconstitutionally) the right of cities and towns to enact their own anti-discrimination legislation. It passed out of committee- despite the amazingly logical arguments against it.
And Senate Bill 276, introduced by Tom Facey would have brought the criminal code into line with the judiciary- in effect aligning the language with the law, by removing the language of the deviate conduct laws which criminalize sexual behavior between consenting adults of the same gender. Bringing the language of the law in line with legal precedent. A no-brainer, right?
Sigh. Not for these Republican legislators. It just got worse. The hearing had some of the most disgusting things I’ve ever heard– much less to be spoken publicly by elected officials. The Billings Gazette had this to say:
Also turned back was a plan to get rid of a state law making gay sex subject to criminal penalties — even though the courts have ruled it unconstitutional and unenforceable.
Republicans, in a 13-7 vote, stacked up against the idea of removing from the books the law offensive to the gay community, which has argued over the years that the antiquated law sends a hostile message.
But House Republicans stuck with their party’s platform that calls for keeping the anti-gay law, even though many Senate Republicans had supported the idea in sending it to the other chamber.
“Voting to say this should stay on the books is truly a cruel act,” said Rep. Diane Sands, D-Missoula. “When you cast that vote you said that I and other members of this Legislature who are gay or lesbian should go to prison for up to 10 years for whom I love. Don’t come up to me later and say you are sorry.”
The Montana GOP has made things very clear- they don’t give a shit about human rights, they don’t give a shit about science and they don’t give a shit about gay people. In fact, they hate them. The only reason not to pass this bill was to slap the faces- repeatedly- of Montana LGBT persons. The only reason. That’s hate.
The plank that still stands in the Montana GOP Platform that promotes the criminalization of “homosexual” acts, I argued before, is anachronistic and hateful and should be removed.
I’ve changed my mind.
It should stay because that’s exactly what they believe. That kind of ridiculous hate and intolerance is exactly what the GOP legislators have sanctioned, promoted and supported. I thought that out of deference to some amazingly open Republican Montanans I know (and am related to) that this kind of thing could be avoided- that the official government of Montana would not tell LGBT kids that they are less valuable than others, that it wouldn’t keep LGBT adults living under the specter of vilification, intolerance and second-class citizenship.
I was wrong.
The MT GOP is intolerant and anti-gay. Period. And the people of Montana need to know that- without equivocation.
So, if you’re a Republican-leaning Montanan and you’re saying to yourself, “These legislators are crazy, they don’t speak for me,” you’re wrong. They do. And if you don’t follow the same ignorant, bigoted stance they are taking, you need to speak up.
And maybe consider leaving the party of bigotry and ignorance. Because, like it or not, the Montana Democrats are the only people standing united for human rights.
And if you’re an LGBT person who is still a Republican, the only thing I can (honestly) say is “Why? They hate you. Do you hate yourself?”
Because- mark my words, it’s just going to get worse.
“Day of Dialogue” from Focus on the Family is not What Jesus Would Do. This is a call to action for Christian youth to target GLBT youth with a “God has a better plan for you” message. I’m all for a God loves you conversation, but not a conversation that directly targets the most vulnerable of the vulnerable in our society–the GLBT youth.
…and Kathy’s not amused.
Read her excellent take (backed up with scripture quotes!) here.
I’ve been getting some exposure over my post Montana Republicans Are Now Officially Homophobes and Bigots. Andrew Sullivan linked to my blog. Outrage was expressed on the Montana GOP’s Facebook page. Another Facebook page wants to “Tell MT Republicans to Remove Hate from their platform“. The Missoulian published my editorial. Several other media outlets picked up the story. I’ve been doing my best to keep the legs under this issue. Other people have been great at spreading the news.
It’s not enough.
People are asking me if I’ve lost my mind- “Why does this matter so much to you?” “Why can’t you let go?” Let me explain.
As long as that plank is in the Montana Republican platform, it sneers at all LGBT persons throughout the United States. As long as that plank exists, it allows bigotry and homophobia to claim official sanction. It encourages intolerance, hate and the violation of human rights. It promotes ignorance, both social and scientific. It takes a segment of human society and seeks to criminalize them because of their biology, their sexuality, their choice of self-expression. It creates confusion, shame and fear in the minds of children, parents, institutions and churches. It also creates attitudes of moral superiority and bullying, mocking that phrase “all men are created equal,” substituting Orwell’s “some are more equal than others”. In short, it’s in the best interests of every human being in this country to see that this plank is changed.
Because you never know who’ll be next.
Sure, Montana isn’t exactly the political mainstream- it isn’t mainstream at all, really. Sure, there aren’t a lot of LGBT persons here. Sure, there isn’t a lot of impact on the rest of you. But this is a STATE. One of Fifty. And along with Texas, it’s discriminating against a specific group of Americans. Where does the creeping stop? Will Wyoming jump on board? Is Idaho next? Utah? Nevada? Arizona? Alaska? Who knows?
Make fun of us if you want, but if you discount Montana and it’s impact on the United States of America, you misread history. Montana’s natural resources and people have nurtured this nation since Lewis and Clark pioneered the Missouri. This isn’t just the home state of Gary Cooper, Myrna Loy, Ivan Doig, Norman MacLean, Evel Knievel, Charlie Russell, Henry Plummer and Ted Kaczyinski. It’s the place that nurtured such prominent political and social figures as Mike Mansfield, Jeannette Rankin, Chet Huntley, Lester Thurow, Lee Metcalf, Jack Horner, David Lynch, Marc Racicot, etc. Political leaders have made this a place to see and be seen. Teddy Kennedy on a bucking bronc in Miles City, or candidate Obama marching in the Butte fourth of July Parade- in fact he was here twice- and returned as president.
It matters. Maybe not to you. Not yet.
But stopping this now will be a hell of a lot easier than later, when it’s YOUR bedroom they’re talking about.