Jul 052011


There is a great tradition in the Northeast United States of annual town meetings. Important issues for the town are voted on by everyone attending (who is a legal voter in that town), and this is where the famous line, “stand and be counted” comes from. After everyone has spoken on the issue, they call on those in favor to “stand and be counted,” and this is how major community issues are handled.

We’ve just celebrated the day the Declaration of Independence was ratified. Those founding fathers did more than just vote, they pledged their lives and fortunes in defiance of the Crown. Note they not only said it, they affixed their signatures to the document…an act of treason.

Today arch-conservatives and christianists love to roll-out claims about what they believe the founders believed (see “Christian Nation” claims). But in Washington State the anti-gay forces have forgotten completely this most important act of courage.

After failing to pass an anti-gay marriage amendment, they went to court to have the names of the petition signers kept secret. Their laughable claim is that gay people will physically harm the signers.

There are many reasons the names are always made public, not the least of which is so people can be sure their name wasn’t added by someone else. Just as important should be one’s willingness to take responsibility for one’s actions and beliefs.

If you want to take rights away from a minority group with whom you disagree, have the courage of the founders. Stand and be counted.

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