"For us to say we're going to make a special right for someone that has a sexual preference or a deviance, then that's totally ridiculous. I certainly don't want me as an Alaska Native or as a French person to be placed in the same category that has a perverted sex ideal." - Sen. Jerry Ward, R-Anchorage
Some people live under rocks. While it is often entertaining to listen to them use terminology that makes no sense or belongs in the Middle Ages, sometimes when they have power, they become a danger. For Sen. Ward to describe gay and lesbian people as having a "perverted sex ideal," is the stuff that reaches the unbalanced and tips them over, causing the type of hate crimes the legislation is trying to stop. We will never know how many beatings, how many deaths, will find its roots in his words, because some homophobe found permission in them to hate and exclude.
I don't live under a rock, and nor does my church. Gay and Lesbian people are children of God in the same way and manner as the straight community. Their relationships hold the same dignity, their contributions to the betterment of our community are received with the same gratefulness as anyone else. It is clear that while gay and lesbian people comprise from 3-7 percent of the population, the rate of hate crimes against them is well out of proportion to their number. It is logical to include them in any hate crime legislation.
Fr. Rob Bruschi
Holy Trinity Episcopal Church