Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Dear Springfield City Council

I was at City Hall on September 8th. What I heard was one side asking for permission (or demanding their "right") to discriminate, and another side asking for reasonable safety and protection from discrimination. Every citizen should be free of discrimination, but vulnerable populations need the assistance of government to ensure their safety. Some tried to say LGBT discrimination didn't exist. Surely none of you could have sat that meeting and believe such discrimination doesn't exist. You stared it in the face for hours.

Adding LGBT citizens to the list of those protected from discrimination doesn't force people to like them, sign off on their existence or allow them to be who they are. They exist already. They are who they are already. They simply depend on you to send the message that they must be given the same respect and consideration that is offered to every other citizen of Springfield. We don't all have to get along on a personal level, but everyone should expect to be treated fairly in matters of government, business and employment. You are using your power to set that minimum standard. I beg you to use your power wisely and in accordance with the Constitution, which protects our life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. One side's pursuit of happiness is to work and live in peace, the other side's objective is to protect the right to harm others.

These citizens are vulnerable because they are a minority. However, they pay taxes and deserve the service and representation of their government. They are not criminals, and therefore deserve freedom. They are only a small percentage of the population, yet over half of your speakers recognize their equality. Because we love them. Because I cannot imagine looking into my friend's faces and not saying I fought like hell for them, with everything I could muster. They would do it for me; I have no doubt. See, I'm not even gay. This isn't even my cause. I was just raised to be better than this. And right here in Springfield there are thousands of people like me, who aren't gay but love someone who is. We're watching. We're voting. And writers like me will make sure you are held publicly accountable for whether you decide to protect all your citizens or just the ones you deem worthy.

You represent Springfield. You can show that this is a city where people can expect to be treated fairly, or you can send the message that only approved citizens receive the full services of their government. Many have tried to muddy this discussion with shades and variables, but for you it is black or white. Yes or no. And you will have to say, with the entire city watching, are you for discrimination or are you against it?