Legal Rights Not Subject to Others'
By Floyd Rose
This is America. It is a multi-religion nation. When
[Valdosta, GA] Mayor John Gayle placed
his left hand on the Bible and his raised his right, he
swore to defend and protect the Constitution of the United
States, not his religious beliefs.
I, too, am a Christian, but my legal rights are not subject
to the religious views of others. When the mayor said some
of his friends are gay and he has nothing against gay people
but he couldn't sign the proclamation for the
P.R.I.D.E.event, it reminded me of the 1960's when whites
said, I don't have anything against black people, some of my
best friends are black, but I don't want them to have the
right to sit next to my children in school, to eat at the
lunch counter, or drink from the same water fountain as
The Valdosta-Lowndes County chapter of the Southern
Christian Leadership Conference acknowledges the rights of
all American citizens, whatever their color, their race,
religionor sexual orientation. And we are all things human
before we are anything racial: white, black, brown, red or
yellow. We are all things human before we are anything
religious: Hindu, Muslim, Christian or Jew. We are all
things human before we are anything gender, male or female.
And in this human context, there are needs that are common
to us all. We all need food
to eat, air to breathe, water to drink, clothes to wear,
shelter to protect us from the elements, and family and
friends to love, and to love us. And we were all born, and
must all die.
We may be in different religious, racial and gender boats
but we are all sailing in the same human ocean.
We have a choice. We can continue to try to sink each
other's little boats whose
colors, shapes, or sizes we don't like, or we can all get on
the love boat, where there is unconditional acceptance;
where we don't have to see everything alike or, like
everything we see, but where we are all free to see what we
see; where we accept each others products, with no
obligation to accept their conduct and where the differences
which make no difference to our Creator, make no difference
Although I married a woman. That was my choice, and as a
Christian I believe that marriage is between a man and a
woman. However, as an American, I respect the rights of
others to be different, and will always fight for their
right to be different. And their legal rights should never
be subject to my religious views, or determine by the latest
polls, or the proclamation of politicians.
Let me be clear. The research is clear: a person's sexual
preference may be a choice, but his sexual orientation is
physiological, it is not a choice. It is what it is.
Finally, what if the rights of African-Americans to vote, to
ride on the front of the bus, or to eat a hamburger at
Woolworth's Department store, had been subject to the polls,
or the will of politicians?
SCLC , Valdosta, GA