Editorial by: Manny Velasquez-Paredes
Originally published in Connextions Magazine Issue 21 – #Proud2BMe
Why do we celebrate PRIDE? Simply because if we hadn’t shown PRIDE back in 1969 during the Stonewall Riots – then we wouldn’t have achieved ALL of the things we have as a community. Last year, the United States Supreme Court reached the decision that Marriage Equality is now the LAW OF THE LAND.
Yaaaay for us! Right????
But what happened afterwards was a monsoon of several states trying and sometimes succeeding in passing so-called “religious laws,” which aim to protect the religious rights of the people and aims to protect them from having to “deal” with groups of people their religion does not approve of, in other words, DISCRIMINATE AGAINST ANYONE THEIR RELIGION TELLS THEM IS BAD.
Of course, at the core of these laws are pure unadulterated hatred, bigotry and homophobia. They also neglect to take into consideration that as a nation, we ALREADY HAVE FREEDOM OF RELIGION, as per the First Amendment.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
Now, I am not – nor do I intend to be – a lawyer BUT I am an educated person with an MBA and multiple awards and I have a clear understanding of the First Amendment, and nowhere within the First Amendment does it say – nor subliminally suggest – that the Freedom of Religion means that people can FORCE their individual religious beliefs unto others. Our political leaders CANNOT …. they are PROHIBITED …. from creating any laws regarding any religious organizations and are also PROHIBITED from denying anyone the right to practice their chosen religion – HOWEVER – this DOES NOT give anyone the right to FORCE their religions and religious beliefs unto others, they CANNOT FORCE others to live how their individual religion tells them to live.
Personally, I believe if a bakery refuses to take my order because I’m gay, then I would rather spend my money on a bakery that wants it. However, that bakery should have the balls to place a sign on their front door which clearly states they “DISCRIMINATE BASED ON RELIGIOUS BELIEFS” that way, I, along with others who hate discrimination, can just move on to the next bakery and give them our money.
And don’t get me started on the RIGHT TO PEE! For centuries, we have shared public restrooms with transgender people and no one cared. But suddenly, some moronic political “leader” decided that people “needed to be safe” in the bathrooms. If safety is such an issue, then put cameras in the bathrooms, of course not inside the stalls – but in the hallways, by the doors, by the mirrors, by the sinks and hand-driers, put them everywhere you can legally put a camera, even put cameras on the floor that can record under the stalls. But of course, these laws are NOT to “protect the children” they are to keep the trans-community in the closet and we are glad to join the #JustPee, #LetThemPee movements and any others that aim to be inclusive, which is why we’re PROUD and we ask you to join us in this movement to be inclusive and let’s celebrate PRIDE with #Proud2BMe!