I do not understand why there is so much hate for people who are “different.” The shooting in Orlando was a horrific tragedy and a senseless act of hate and violence.
I felt sad and angry at the same time. My first thought was my daughter. As a proud father of a gay daughter, that shooting could have happened anywhere. The nightclub could have been in San Antonio or South Texas. That could be anyone’s son or daughter next time, simply because he or she is gay.
In just the last year we have come so far. The U.S. Supreme Court declared same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states. Finally, marriage equality – the freedom to marry. Yet at the same time, I feel we have gone backwards with the hate and violence escalating. While those in the LGBT community may have the freedom now to marry, they still do not have the freedom to live without fear of hate or violence against them.
In our country’s history we have discriminated, and often continue to do so, against women, Hispanics, African-Americans, people of Jewish decent and other religions. Our LGBT community experiences the same discrimination. But why? They are human beings just like you and I.
There is a disconnect in those who champion religious views but speak against gay rights. In the name of God, they discriminate against human beings. But God loves everyone. God does not discriminate. Same-sex couples are part of our communities, culture and country. They live in our communities, work in our communities, attend church in our communities, and volunteer for our military where they sacrifice and fight for our freedom and liberty. They are our sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, friends and neighbors.
As a society we must not tolerate acts of discrimination, hate or violence for any reason. We must all work to build safer communities, to lead by example, and to be part of a solution that will safeguard the future of us all. I remain committed to equality and to treating every human being with dignity and respect. We must remain vigilant against terrorists, domestic or foreign, that threaten our community, and we must oppose violence and hate simply because people are different.