“No, you can’t go to college in Indiana. Or Arkansas!”

I haven’t been speaking up on any of these insane news stories surrounding gay rights lately.  Not because I don’t have an opinion.  We all know I have too many opinions.  Partially it’s been because I’m finishing the Gridley Girls final revisions for the paperback launch (8/4/15 — mark your calendars!) while also writing Gridley Girls Reunited (Book 2 due 8/2/16!).  Partly it’s been because I’m still recovering from Lyme Disease and its nasty co-infections.  And also, I’m just plain tired of bigotry.  Really, super tired of it.

My daughter is a junior in high school.  She gets inundated with emails from universities trying to entice her to visit them.  It’s a normal part of 11th grade.  Today, we sent one of them this reply:

BallStateEmail

First, there’s the crazy guy in my home state of California who wants to execute gays and jail and fine anyone (including me — gasp!) of spreading gay propaganda.  Seriously, not only would my friends and family be executed but I’d be fined millions of dollars and jailed simply for writing a book that shares the message of love towards everyone.  A book that celebrates the friendship between straight people and their gay best friends is now considered “propaganda supporting homosexuality”.  Well, if I’m a propaganda-spreading-homosexual-supporter then lock me up!  But don’t even think about killing my friends.  You’ll have to shoot through me first, because I don’t want to live in a world that would consider shooting my friends for living as God made them.  Period.  So forget the jail time, the fines and any other macabre ideas you have for me in this legislation.  Just execute me alongside my gay brothers and sisters.  Because that’s what we are:  brothers and sisters.  If this madman can’t see that, that’s his problem, not ours.

When this California based legislation hit the news, I had to talk my 17-year old daughter off the ledge as she sat on the couch reading it and crying, real tears, at the thought of her gay aunties, uncles and cousins being executed (she didn’t seem to have any fear of my impending jail sentence — not sure what to make of that).  Interestingly enough, when I told her that we would just line up to be executed with Rose, Debbie, Jimmer and Ryan as a family, she felt better.  I haven’t consulted my husband or son on this family pact but I’m moderately sure they’ll oblige.

But then there’s Indiana.  Really Indiana?  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:  take homosexuality out of your bill and replace it with any other group.  Any other group!  African-Americans, Italians, Asians, British, Canadians, women, the disabled, the deaf or blind, lepers, deaf and blind lepers.  Any group.  Just insert another group and see if you would still want this legislation.  If you do, then as a state, you’re much worse off than I thought and no one can help you.  If you don’t, then it’s time for some real soul searching.  Is it possible that you’re trying to cover up you’re own homosexual tendencies?  I think that’s probably what’s going on with the crazy guy in California.  Shakespeare’s “the lady doth protest too much” keeps coming to mind here.

I’ve been asking people their opinions on Indiana and the most interesting point that I’ve been surprised at are the people who support this legislation who would also be considered very “gay-friendly”.  One person likened the legislation to the Apartheid and said they’d like to watch it happen so the country could freeze Indiana out.  Watch them fail from their decision.  Another said he’d like the legislation to pass so that others would follow, as a way to “bring all the bigots to the surface”. And look, it’s already happening in Arkansas.  I loved this idea.  It is much easier to go through life knowing who’s a bigot and who is not.  If only we could all wear jackets telling our true feelings.  Do we live in fear or love?

Fear is no reason to exclude an entire group of tax-paying, law-abiding Americans from anything.

Meanwhile, Indiana and Arkansas and any other state who wants to exclude any group from receiving services, please take my daughter off your email list.  There are plenty of inclusive universities for her to attend where she can receive an enriching education with humans of every variety.  Plus, clearly you wouldn’t want her gay-loving type around anyway.

I urge every college bound student to think long and hard about your education decision when considering states where this is happening.  And remember that including all people in their ability to receive services in no way says that you condone their way of life.  If your religious beliefs prohibit you from agreeing with homosexuality, that’s your right and we all need to work to protect that.  Just don’t force it on the rest of us by exclusionary tactics.  Being gay is not like “No shirt, no shoes, no service.”  They can’t change their shirt and quit being gay any more than you can change your shirt and quit being a bigot.

So back to the jackets — mine will for sure be pink.  What will yours look like?

And remember:  YAL,

Meredith

PS – Not that it matters, but I am a good Lutheran girl who votes fairly conservatively.  It is possible to love Jesus, low taxes, minorities and gays all at the same time — try it, you might like it!

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