History was made on May 9, 2012, when President Obama announced that he supports same-sex marriage. It was a huge win for the LGBT community and all who believe in marriage equality.
LIKEME Lighthouse founder Chely Wright summed it up well in her official statement:
“President Obama’s public affirmation of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community is an historic moment in American history. Our president has made a bold statement about leadership and equality – and his statement will have a profound effect on the lives of LGBT Americans, young and old. President Obama’s powerful words will echo all over the nation– galvanizing the message that all Americans deserve dignity and that their equality matters.”
The word dignity is one of the salient words in her statement. Isn’t that really what all people ultimately want in their personal lives?
We’ve recently seen an example of legislation that does not promote dignity in any way: Missouri House Bill 2051, also known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, would prevent teachers from discussing homosexuality and LGBT issues in high schools unless they are talking scientifically about reproduction. This is a dangerous bill that, if passed, could have significant negative repercussions for high school students at a critical period of self-esteem development. The bill is not now on the House calendar, and the next few weeks will determine whether it moves out of committee or stands a chance of making it to a vote.
This bill inspired another act of courage when on May 2, 2012, Missouri Rep. Zach Wyatt (R-Kirksville) came out as a gay man and the only openly gay Republican in the Missouri House. He spoke out against HB 2051 by saying, “Stand with me as a proud Republican, a proud veteran, and a proud gay man who wants to protect all kids by addressing bullying in our schools.”
We applaud Rep. Wyatt and our other legislators who show courage when such blatant discrimination is introduced into legislation. And in June, when we celebrate gay pride festivals around the world, it’s good to know that some politicians, including the leader of the free world, will still stand up for the dignity of others.