kansas' fight is everyone's fight

Originally written  February 13th, 2014


When I was a kid learning about civil rights, I’d often wonder what I would have done in the 50s. Would I have stood up to the ignorance, hatred, and bullying? Or would I have been too afraid to speak up? Would I have fought alongside those who were fighting for the most basic of human rights, or would I have allowed them to fight their own battles? Could I have sat at that counter in Greensburo? Could I have been a gotten on the Freedom Riders bus?

It was easy then to say yes. Of course. It was easy to say I could have, when I assumed I’d never have to. 

It was the 90s. The 50s were in the history books and in the stories my mom told. The 60s had happened, now it was the 90s and I was sitting right next to black and Latino kids in my classroom.

Of course I could say yes – because I never thought I’d have to do it.

That was the 90s.

Now it’s twenty years later, and if you replace today’s headline with “black” instead of “gay”, it’s like no time has passed at all.

When anti-gay segregation laws are being passed, and people are having real, actual, conversations about whether allowing a same-sex couple to get married opens the door to polygamy and child-brides, it’s time to ask yourself the question again.

When are we going to stand up for what we know is right? When are we going to stand up to lawmakers who seem to have forgotten that the whole point of being in the politics is to help the people. When are we going to stand up to a law that only exists to belittle its own tax-paying, law-abiding, citizens?

Rep. Charles Macheers was absolutely right to say “Discrimination is horrible. It’s hurtful … It has no place in civilized society.” It’s a shame that he’s using that thought to push for a bill that does exactly that.

But you can’t rationalize with ignorance. You can’t sit ignorance down and try and talk to them like they’re an adult. Ignorance can’t hear you.

You can’t tell ignorance that, not only is this bill absolutely disgusting, it’s also absolutely pointless. Denying basic human rights to gay citizens won’t stop them from being gay, because there’s no choice in it. How do I know? Because I’ve never made a decision to be straight. It just… is.

Today I encourage Kansas to fight this law.

Be better human beings than your law assumes you will be.

Be smarter business owners than your law assumes you will be.

Be more loving than your law assumes you will be.

Be more open-minded than your law assumes you will be.

Be better than the state of Kansas has today declared you should be.

Today I encourage you to board your own Freedom Bus. Because unless we continue to fight, these laws will continue to pass.

This isn’t someone else’s duty. This isn’t someone else’s fight. If you are an empathetic citizen of this country, if you posses any type of soul, if you have within you the ability for compassion – this is your fight. Because looking out for our neighbor, making sure our fellow man (or woman…) is afforded the same rights as you – those are the things that make this has made this country exceptional. Those are the things that will make this country exceptional again.

Twenty years ago, asking yourself what you would have done, it was easy to say you would have fought. I’m not saying it won’t be easy to say it now, but if the alternative is to see the rights of my neighbors, friends, and family taken away…

This is our fight.