Friday, February 23, 2007

Read the Speech by Straight GOP WY Lawmaker Favoring Equality for Gays

(Dan Zwonitzer, Hero to Homosexuals.)

Needless to say, I am quite happy to wake up today and find not only a personal letter in my email in-box from the brave Wyoming legislator, who just happens to be straight and a member of the GOP, who stood up for gay marriage equality and civil rights for all, but the text of his actual speech also waiting to be read.
Again, Dan Zwonitzer, you are worthy of much praise and thanks from gays, not just in the Equality State, but across the United States of America.

This is his letter:
In a message dated 2/23/2007 8:02:21 A.M. Pacific Standard Time, writes:
Thank you for your positive message. It's appreciated to get some positive feedback, you can imagine some of the feedback I've received here in Wyoming hasn't carried your sentiment.
There were 10 other legislators in the room in the crowd of 60 listening to debate, and when one of the proponents of the bill said some very infuriating things, it triggered something in me, and I went a bit overboard in my off-the-cuff speech, but so many people came up to me afterwards to than me.
Of course, I made the newspapers and both TV stations here, and everyone wanted a copy of my impromptu speech, so I typed up what I remember saying. It wasn't anything brilliant, but I was passionate and I think it swayed a vote or two.
I'll attach a copy so you get a better understanding of my thought process. It was a speech more of society and history, than specifically for this issue, but it accomplished what it needed to.

No, Dan, it is not I who deserves thanks from you, but you who are very worthy of gratitude and a big pat on the back from the entire gay and civil rights communities. Thanks for sharing both your letter to me and the speech you made in the WY legislature, before the vote was taken.
Here's the text of Dan's speech:

Thank you Mr. Speaker and Members of the Committee.

I am not going to speak of specifics regarding this bill, but rather talk about history and philosophy in regards to this issue.

It is an exciting time to be in the legislature while this issue is being debated. I believe this is the Civil Rights struggle of my generation.

Being a student of history, as many of you are, and going back through history, most of history has been driven by the struggle of man against government to endow him with more rights, privileges and liberties to be bestowed upon him.

In all of my high school courses, we only made it through history to World War 2. It wasn’t until college that I really learned of the civil rights movement in the 60’s. My American History professor was black, and we spent a week discussing civil rights. I watched video after video where people stood on the sidelines and yelled and threw things at black students walking into schools, I’ve read editorials and reports by both sides of the issue, and I would think, how could society feel this way, only 40 years ago.

Under a democracy the civil rights struggle continues today, where we have one segment of our society trying to restrict rights and privelges from another segment of our society. My parents raised me to know that this is wrong.

It is wrong for one segment of society to restrict rights and freedoms from another segment of society. I believe many of you have had this conversation with your children.

And children have listened, my generation, the twenty-somethings, and those younger than I understand this message of tolerance. And in 20 years, when they take the reigns of this government and all governments, society will see this issue overturned, and people will wonder why it took so long.

My kids and grandkids will ask me, why did it take so long? And I can say, hey, I was there, I discussed these issues, and I stood up for basic rights for all people.

I echo Representative Childers concerns, that testifying against this bill may cost me my seat. I have two of my precinct committee persons behind me today who are in favor of this bill, as I stand here opposed, and I understand that I may very well lose my election. It cost 4 moderate Republican Senators in Kansas their election last year for standing up on this same issue. But I tell myself that there are some issues that are greater than me, and I believe this is one of them. And if standing up for equal rights costs me my seat so be it. I will let history be my judge, and I can go back to my constituents and say I stood up for basic rights. I will tell my children that when this debate went on, I stood up for basic rights for people.

I can debate the specifics of this bill back and forth as everyone in this room can, but I won’t because the overall theme is fairness, and you know it. I hope you will all let history be your judge with this vote. You all know in your hearts where this issue is going, that it will come to pass in the next 30 years. For that, I ask you to vote no today on the bill. Thank you.

If Dan Zwonitzer is any indication of the new generation of state GOP lawmakers who happen to be straight, but fair and tolerant and speaking for gay equality, then American politics and all of us will greatly benefit from their views on civil rights for gays.


jimbo said...

Again, it is an individual making a difference, not an organization. Keep count of the upcoming Zwonitzers in the world.

Marc said...

Bravo to Representative Zwonitzer for standing up for what is right.

Anonymous said...

Dan is not straight, just to set the record straight. He just hasn't publicly come out yet.

Anonymous said...

Well, well, well. Finally someone speaks the unvarnished truth. History will of course judge Wyoming Rep. Zwonitzer as being more than correct in his stance for fairness civil rights and liberty for all including gay people and his childern and grandchildern can be very proud of that.

Thank you Rep. Zwonitzer. Gee whiz, if more democrats felt and spoke like you we would not even need this show of brave Republican support. :). Of course, I am extremely glad that our reasoned Republican friends can support us as well and I am very thankful.


Paul Holzapfel

Jeff Franke said...

Cheers for Rep. Zwonitzer! Having been born and raised in Wyoming during the 60s and 70s, I find this a welcome change of events for a state that prides it itself on equality. We need more people like Rep. Zwonitzer (of the Al Simpson ilk) than what the world sees in our current Vice President. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I love this guy! But if Republicans stop bashing gays and using anti-gay fear to get elected, won't that make them, gasp... Democrats? We should all be independents like Zwonitzer is at heart, this two party system is simplistic and moronic!

Anonymous said...

He isn't straight...I applaud his courage in standing up and being courageous unlike other closeted Republicans, though.