Wednesday, October 16, 2013

To The Man Who Probably Shouldn't Have Worn a Blue Shirt Last Night

Act #289: Never stop.

I was in the crowd last night when you got up to the podium during the city council meeting following a proposal by our local human rights commission to extend protections against discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations to individuals based upon sexual orientation and gender identity.  I wanted a chance to talk with you, maybe help answer some of the questions you posed, but in all the chaos, I missed the opportunity to do so.  Also, the four armed police officers standing guard at the door made me a tad nervous.  So today I am hoping that the magic of Facebook brings this letter to you.  First and foremost, I applaud you for your courage to be the lone dissenting voice in the room last night.   Really, I do.  I know it was probably not easy to get up there in the sea of blue fairness supporters, and ask the city council NOT to adopt a fairness ordinance.  Particularly since you probably had no idea that organizers asked citizens to wear blue to demonstrate their support for the ordinance.  During your remarks, you challenged the council with this question:  Where does it end?  If we start protecting the gays, how far will we allow our government to go?  Who else will we have to protect? 

You see, that's the thing.  Call me simple-minded, but I think it actually ends right there.  If sexual orientation and gender identity are added to the classes of people protected, virtually everyone in our awesome little town can work, live, and visit a restaurant freely, equitably, and without harassment.  Currently the LGBT community is the only group of Bereans that we are legally allowed to discriminate against.  Yes, it's true - I can fire someone right this moment just because I don't agree with their "lifestyle".  Our local pizza joint can refuse to deliver a pizza to someone based solely on who they love.  You said that sometimes that's just life.  That people suffer all the time and they just need to get over it.  That once you were laid off from a job and you just dealt with it.  And yes, life does come with some unexpected blows, and people do lose their jobs for various reasons.  But how would you feel if you lost your job that day not because of a reduction in force, or a factory shut-down, but simply because you were married to your wife?  Seems hardly fair, right? While I understand that we can't protect every single American from unemployment and heartache, at a minimum  I would hope that every American would be afforded the freedom to at least start off on an equal playing field.  Isn't that what you said you were fighting for when you were enlisted?  Freedom?

You said that when you first publicly declared your Christian faith, you were prepared for a life of persecution, that you didn't ask the government for protection.  You didn't have to.  The Civil Rights Act already protects you from discrimination in employment and housing.  The local Berea ordinance protects you from discrimination in public accommodations.  You asked, Who is protecting you from this "offense" to your faith?  And I humbly ask you, sir:  What exactly is offensive in allowing people to work, live, and visit public establishments free from discrimination and harassment? I promise you that there's little to no chance that any of those in this particular class will be forcing their way through your church doors as you fear.  The sad thing is that if your Christian God is the same one that I've known all my life, He would never, ever close His doors to anyone, especially those who are not protected, not accepted, and not welcome by people like you.

Where does it end?

With the revision of the ordinance extending protections against discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations to virtually the only remaining non-protected individuals, I dare ends here.   But at least to me, the more important question is this:  Why would we ever want to stop until every single human being was treated fairly? 

The Girl Who Just Can't Stop

P.S.  Cool shirt.


  1. Diane, I totally think we should hang out sometime!

  2. I've been reading your blog for a while, and I love it. I love how even tempered you are in your assessment of the world around you and I find that quality to be admirable, because I know some days I feel like I'm in a blind rage about the things I see happening. But today I'm a little perplexed by your assurances that this (the legal acknowledgement of LGBT folks' civil rights) is where the adding of protected groups of people ends. Non-monogamy is on the rise in the US, and how will we address the needs of families to have protections for all people raising a family or living together? I dare say we'll be fighting for those rights at some point, too. Or, as we're learning more about the intelligence and consciousness of the animals around us, what if we decide that some of them are "people" (google Dolphins and Non-Human People, the research is stunning though not terribly surprising), who deserve different protections than what we've given them thus far? I wouldn't comfort the man in the blue-not-Fairness-blue t-shirt by telling him that this is all we'll be asking for, I'd tell him that some of us are going to fight for the rights of any person (human or non) whose protection under the law is not guaranteed. And I would point out that even Jesus would encourage us to live and act in service to one another, to make life better for all of us. But I certainly wouldn't mislead him by letting him think this is the end.

    1. Shekinah, you are absolutely right. Couldn't agree with your more.