Thursday, October 29, 2009
When the Stars Align
As famed British actor Sir Ian McKellan held an audience spellbound at Florida State University's Conradi Theater, our city commission was unanimously adopting a policy to extend its benefits package to cover domestic partners in straight and gay relationships. And as they were doing that, the President of the United States... for the first time EVER... signed a pro-LGBT rights bill into law: the Matthew Shepherd/James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. Matthew Shepherd was the young gay man in Wyoming, brutally beaten and tied to a fence to die in October, 1998. James Byrd, Jr. was an African-American man in Texas killed by three white supremicists who beat him, stripped him of his clothes and dragged him for three miles chained to the back of a pick up truck. That crime occurred in June of 1998.
Of course, the Hate Crimes Prevention Act was part of a military war bill... which is a bit odd... however this is legislation that so many groups have been seeking for years, so the signing of the bill, like the domestic partner benefits package in Tallahassee, has been greeted with enthusiasm and praise from the LGBT community.
So while the world seemed in chaos during those months in 1998 when such brutality was all over the news, yesterday was a day when, for once, all the stars seem to be in alignment for those who have been the "left behind" for so long.
Thanks be to God!