Some of you kind readers have followed or noted that over the past 2 months Fiona and I have been joining many hard-working equality activists trying to push through an anti-discrimination ordinance in the Kansas town of Roeland Park.
While we came to the battle late, and the two of us only spoke to the Council thrice in support of the ordinance, we nonetheless had an emotional investment in the outcome. And like many, we were crushed by the defeat of the ordinance, and stunned at the level of thinly-veiled disgust shown to us by the activists who came from local and far-off churches.
More than 45 people spoke regarding the ordinance, and at times the public comment phase took on a surreal atmosphere. The very first speaker stood up and said she opposed the ordinance because, in her words, “you can’t discriminate against gay and transgender people because they aren’t black.” Unfortunately, this sage of justice didn’t really consider the fact of gays and transgender persons who could be black! I almost hope no one does tell her this fact, because it might collapse the quantum uncertainty within which she exists. It’s worse than a Schrödinger’s cat thought experiment.
Another woman, a reputed physician, made a 100-second tirade against the ordinance by reading out a list of more than 20 diseases carried by gays and transgender people. The terms and the tone she used were the same sort of malediction one might hear from an animal control officer (played by the late, great John Candy) who had just discovered a pile of dead raccoons on the main stage of the Kauffman Center.
Even the lady who has been the Iron Fist of the St. Agnes Fish Fry (because you don’t want any homos or trannies at a charity fish fry, no ma’am) seemed to have completely lost her mind, and for 90 seconds read a Bible passage which had no relevance to the topic at hand. And she wasn’t selling her bizarre message either – I mean, if you’re going to go play in non sequiter land, you at least need a voice talent like Morgan Freeman. I mean, that man could read the phone book and I’d pay to hear it…but I digress.
The giant letdowns of the night were five of the Council members. One who didn’t show up and thus was not on record as to their vote, and the four at the meeting who said “no” with only modest hesitation.
If it appears that I’m finding some grim humor in the situation, then you are correct. First, it was highly ironic that just that very morning, President Obama finally signed into being an Executive Order banning LGBT discrimination in the Federal Government and for all Federal contractors, with no religious exemptions. My irony meter actually melted down, and I’ve requested a return label from Amazon.
As I told a young gentleman with a flower behind his ear who was broken up and shaking outside of the meeting room – those who hate and fear us did not win the war. They won this battle, but they are unarguably losing the war.
The main photo at the top of this post is myself and my brave wife hugging each other after the verdict. There is a great video segment here, which also has about 5 seconds of me speaking at the microphone.