Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law -- for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well. - Barack Obama, Inauguration speech 2013
Although we are celebrating that President Obama mentioned LGBTQ rights in his inaugural speech, we need to remember that ultimately the responsibility for equality and fairness lies in our own hands. We must take a stand even when it means facing people with views that run contrary to our own. The only way to change hearts and minds is to speak across the table to those who don't understand what this discrimination feels like to those who aren't able to have their relationship legally recognized or who remain "sexual deviants" under Montana law.
We have an opportunity now to correct that second part. Please send a message to your state senator today, asking for passage of Senate Bill 107, which would remove the offensive language in our criminal code classifying same-sex sexual relations as “deviate sexual conduct” and prescribing up to a 10-year prison sentence and up to $50,000 in fines. The law has already been declared unconstitutional by both the Montana and U.S. Supreme Courts.
One Montanan who felt compelled to take a personal stand against this law recently posted an open letter to his representative on the Fair is Fair Montana Facebook page. He lives with his partner and a female roommate, and his female roommate's father is a Montana Representative who opposes LGBT rights because of his religious views.
Here’s what our friend had to say:
I know that you will vote on this bill as your conscience dictates, but please keep me and my family in mind when you do. Understand that your vote really does make a difference in my life and that my future in the State of Montana is in your hands. Please think about the fact that you are going to have to look me, someone who has cared very much about and for your daughter and your grandchildren, square in the eyes and explain your decision, whichever way you vote.
We must hold our senators and representatives accountable. Government has absolutely no place in our bedrooms and discrimination has absolutely no place in Montana.