I have been reading so many letters to the editor, responses, even sermons now on how people are going to (or should) vote on Question #1 regarding whether or not the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) inclusion to the city’s nondiscrimination ordinance should be repealed and here’s what comes to the forefront of my mind: This is actually not an issue about human sexuality. And yet that’s how people are talking about it. What Question #1 *is* about is human rights and whether or not we all have access to the same rights. Question #1 has nothing to do with marriage. And yet people are debating it as though it does. Question #1 is about whether or not every single person in Springfield has the right to keep their job as long as their employer can support their position and as long as the person’s job performance is satisfactory; it is about whether or not every single person in Springfield has the right to be able to put a roof over their head provided they are able to pay for it; and it is about whether or not every single person in Springfield has the right to be served when they go to a restaurant or a store or a place of business. That is it. Nothing more, nothing less.
And so to all of the people who are arguing this on a human sexuality level, it is time for you to consider that maybe you are missing the point. It is time for you to search deep within yourself and ask yourself if you think it is fair, in the United States of America, for any tax-paying citizen to be denied the right to be employed without fear of loss of employment due to something that has nothing to do with their job performance or the employer’s ability to support the position financially, if it is fair for any tax-paying citizen to be denied the right to housing when they can pay for it, or if it is fair for any tax-paying citizen to be denied public services when all they’ve done is walk into a place of business and ask for said services like anyone else. Because that is what’s at stake here.
On April 7, I am going to walk into my polling place and vote NO on Question #1. I am going to do this because I am a person of faith. I am going to do this because I am a follower of Jesus Christ who taught me to treat each and every person with dignity and respect, who taught me that it is in the very ones society despises and pushes to the margins that I can see his face. I am going to vote NO so that every tax-paying citizen of Springfield, MO can have the exact same rights that I have when it comes to employment, housing, and public services. I am going to vote NO and it is my sincere prayer that those of you who live within the city limits will join me in doing so as well.