I’m From Defiance, OH – Video Story.

by meg lanker

Today’s Video Story was collected on the 50-state Story Tour. Check out the blog where you can read about the adventure we had and some of the stories we collected. If you haven’t submitted a story yet to IFD, or if you want to submit another one, I’d love to read and publish it. Write one up and send it in.
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My name’s Meg Lanker, I’m originally from Defiance, Ohio. I moved to Wyoming in 2003 and to Laramie in 2009. In February of 2009, just a month after I get here, the Wyoming State House begins considering HJ 17, House resolution 17, Joint resolution 17. This was to insert the Defense of Marriage amendment into the Wyoming state constitution, so if this bill did what it was supposed to, which was to say to a gay couple from Massachusetts- your marriage is not valid here-, not only would it violate the full faith and credit clause of the Constitution, we would also be singling out in Wyoming one specific type of marriage to not recognize. There were several attorneys who said this could be an excellent test case to get gay marriage legalized at the federal level because we’d be singling out one specific type, that’s blatant discrimination. My fiancée and I started organizing a rally at the state house against this. So we got nearly 50 people on the steps of the State House chanting, “Kill the bill!” and we had two Republican legislators speak at the event and one Democratic legislator. One of them, Pat Childers from Cody, Wyoming, it was a very powerful speech because he talked about how he was previously prejudiced against gay people until his own daughter came out to him as a lesbian and said, “But I was afraid to tell you” and he said, “How could I have given my daughter a reason to be afraid of me? And he says, “How could I do that?, she’s my daughter”, and he repeated that about four times, “She’s my daughter.” It gives me a lot of hope to see people willing to step out there and say I used to be prejudiced but now I’m not, legislators who are straight, Republican, Conservative, Christians, saying no, we don’t need to discriminate against gay people in our state constitution—that’s wrong. And we were out there after the kill the bill chant chanting, “Equality State”, we were yelling our state motto so loud they could hear us up in the house judiciary committee room two floors above with the windows closed on the opposite side of the building, it was great. And, I think even from seeing Internet commenters on this new friend of the court brief issue and the Wheatlan school board, there are people saying, hey wait, our motto is The Equality State, maybe we should start living up to that.

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