The Olympic spirit is one of welcoming and friendship. Competition is the focus, but all are accepted on equal footing.
If only that were the case here at home.
It's apparent that our home team is the most diverse in the world. It's a team of all races. It's a team that includes lesbian athletes. It's a team where immigrants new and old shine. More than 40 foreign-born Americans are part of the U.S. team competing in London.
When Bernard Lagat competes for gold in the 5,000-meter race, our nation cheered for the Kenyan-born immigrant.
Fifteen-hundred-meter race silver medalist Leo Manzano is the son an aspiring American from Mexico. He said he hopes his performance inspires other Hispanic-Americans.
Openly gay athletes are harder to find at the Olympics, but they are there. According to OutSports.com, a gay sports website, just 23 of the 10,000 Olympians competing are openly gay. Still site founder Jim Buzinski says in a recent Fox Sports article that he expects there are many more than that, calling sports is the "last closet."
We cheered American women's soccer midfielder Megan Rapinoe when her goals helped carry the team to a gold medal. She's a lesbian. "Yeah. So, what?" shrugged a nation.
But even while we embrace these athletes competing at the Olympics in London, many Americans continue to pursue anti-immigrant and anti-gay policies at home.
Here in Montana, voters will be asked to decide on an anti-immigrant legislative referendum this fall. LR-121 would codify discrimination against immigrants and deny anyone who can't produce proof of citizenship or immigration status government services. It's wrong for Montana.
And our state continues to discriminate against gay, lesbian, bisexuals and transgender people. We worked with the Montana Human Rights Network in Missoula to successfully pass an ordinance protecting this population from discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations, and we are working with them again to secure a similar ordinance in Helena this fall.
The ACLU of Montana's Fair is Fair Montana campaign is promoting the rights of same-sex couples in our state. We are waiting for a decision from the Montana Supreme Court on our lawsuit seeking domestic partnerships for these loving, committed couples.
The spirit of acceptance and inclusiveness should not be reserved for a two-week athletic competition held every four years. We should hold it in our hearts every day.