Petition: Don't Divide Alabama
When the Alabama Legislature begins the 2014 session on January 14, State Sen. Jerry Fielding (R-Sylacauga) plans to introduce a resolution in the Senate supporting Phil Robertson, of Duck Dynasty fame, and his infamous homophobic and racist remarks to GQ magazine. Mr. Fielding has said, "Phil Robertson’s family values are shared by the vast majority of Alabamians." Nothing could be further from the truth. Robertson's comments were ignorant and hurtful towards African-Americans and LGBT people and have done nothing but divide American families — smack-dab in the middle of the holiday season. Alabamians believe in the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. And that means treating everyone — and their families — with dignity and respect. [Read the full resolution here.]
Incidentally, Sen. Fielding represents a district in which a man named Billy Jack Gaither was brutally beaten and murdered, his body burned on a heap of rubber tires, simply because he was a gay man. Bullying is still very much alive and well in the United States, especially in the South. The Alabama Legislature should spend its time working on legislation that would protect all children — gay, lesbian, straight, queer, transgender — from dangerous bullying. LGBT youth who come from unaccepting homes, schools and congregations are significantly more likely to attempt suicide, be victims of violence, or fall into the trap of drug and alcohol abuse. Mr. Fielding and the Legislature should take up measures to ensure these children receive a quality education in a safe space.
Furthermore, still today landlords can evict and employers can fire LGBT individuals for simply being who they are. Mr. Fielding and the Senate should spend time researching the dire effects this has on our state's economy by driving away business and talent. Imagine if Alabama passed an employment and housing non-discrmination act, sending a strong message of love and compassion for all Alabamians, not just a preferred few. Fortune 500 companies overwhelmingly embrace policies to include sexual orientation and gender identity in their workplaces. We're telling these companies, "We don't want you here," when we embrace the thinking of yesteryear.
Alabama doesn't need politicians in Montgomery making job-killing, time wasting declarations. Hateful rhetoric is anti-family values, it punishes our economy, and it leads to violence. Let's put aside divisiveness that uplifts the privileged majority at the expense of oppressed minorities and their families. Tell Senator Fielding and his colleagues to get back to governing and moving Alabama forward.
Use the form letter below to craft your own message to your state senator.