It never ceases to amaze me how confused, distraught, and just plain out of touch some people can get when they think about the LGBT community. Case in point: when asked about Missouri House Bill 2051, the vile “Don’t Say Gay” bill, Missouri Rep. Dwight Scharnhorst – one of its sponsors – stated that “There is no need to talk about Billy wanting to marry a goat” (www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/23/missouri-dont-say-gay-bill_n_1447121.html). Seriously. That is what he said. But of course he continued with, “I’m not bigoted, I have friends who are homosexuals.”
Sure you do, Dwight, because in 2012 people go around saying, “Hey, Dwight, did you know I’m a homosexual?”
Then there’s the main sponsor, Missouri Rep. Steve Cookson. In defending the legislation, he stated, “Many of the recent articles on HB 2051 have shifted focus away from the true intent of my legislation, which is meant to protect the moral values that are most important to Missouri families.”
Really? Well, how about this, Steve? How about the moral value of assuring that all children feel safe in their schools, protected from those who would bully them because they’re LGBT and assured that their teachers and friends can openly and vocally support them when they feel despair because of the taunting they get from peers?
It is for reasons like these that PROMO (www.promoonline.org) and Progress Missouri (www.progressmissouri.org) have teamed up to provide you with a helpful resource to stay up to date on this bill, to take action against it by signing the PROMO petition, and to upload your own video response to this bill. Check out www.OktoSayGay.org and tell us your story today.
PROMO’s moral value is to keep the spotlight on bullied LGBT youth who will suffer further abuse if this obscene bill passes, and our true intent is to do everything in our power to defeat it as quickly and decisively as possible.
A.J. Bockelman is executive director of PROMO, Missouri’s statewide organization that advocates for LGBT equality.