This is kind of old news, but I missed it at the time, and maybe some “Alas” readers did too. Wyoming State Rep Dan Zwonitzer, who is straight and a Republican, in February of this year voted against a measure that would have forbidden Wyoming from recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other states. ...
Thanks to Ampersand for passing this on. Pandagon has more. Here is an excerpt from Zwonitzer's speech:
Being a student of history, as many of you are, and going back through history, most of history has been driven by the struggle of man against government to endow him with more rights, privileges and liberties to be bestowed upon him.
In all of my high school courses, we only made it through history to World War 2. It wasn’t until college that I really learned of the civil rights movement in the 60’s. My American History professor was black, and we spent a week discussing civil rights. I watched video after video where people stood on the sidelines and yelled and threw things at black students walking into schools, I’ve read editorials and reports by both sides of the issue, and I would think, how could society feel this way, only 40 years ago.
Under a democracy the civil rights struggle continues today, where we have one segment of our society trying to restrict rights and privelges from another segment of our society. My parents raised me to know that this is wrong.
It is wrong for one segment of society to restrict rights and freedoms from another segment of society. I believe many of you have had this conversation with your children.
And children have listened, my generation, the twenty-somethings, and those younger than I understand this message of tolerance. And in 20 years, when they take the reigns of this government and all governments, society will see this issue overturned, and people will wonder why it took so long. ...
And here is Zwonitzer's message, posted at Pandagon:
I have obviously thought about this issue a great deal in the last 24 hours, and have truly come to realize that marriage in any form is greater than allowing a group of our citizens to continually be persecuted; and I’ve come to understand that many of the reasons they are vilified in our society is directly related to the fact there is not an opportunity to form recognized, committed long-term relationships.
It is my sincere hope that the outside world does not continue to believe Wyoming to be an intolerant and bigoted state. We have a low population which does not allow a lot of room for intolerance here as everyone knows everyone. When people come to know others who are different and accept them, their attitudes change.
Luckily, I have not had significant negative feedback today from people in my District. Yes, there has certainly been some comment from citizens from the “deep red” portions of my state. I am hoping that the silent majority of Wyoming understands and agrees with me, as I am fairly confident they do. It was greatly controversial right up until it was killed in committee, and within a day things have settled back down.