I attended the March 31 Scottsdale City Council meeting regarding a work-study done on a potential non-discrimination ordinance that protects all people, regardless of their sexual preference or gender identification. It. Did. Not. Go. Well. So, to start, I wrote back to those members who I watched disregard the rights of all people. Its probaly in their virtual trash can already, but I need to make sure their shucky-ducking was seen and duly recorded.
[A letter written and sent to Mayor Jim Lane, and Council Members Guy Phillips, David Smith, Kathy Littlefield, and Suzanne Klapp]
I am writing this in response to your work-study meeting held on March 31, 2015 regarding the non-discrimination ordinance for LBGTQ peoples. It is with great displeasure that I reach out to you today, as I do not desire to spend my time rebuking people who I believe have a similar general interest, but I am so compelled to do that today.
If I may speak frankly, your words and actions in the meeting were dishonorable to the post you hold, and the people you are charged to protect. Your skirting of a legitimate dialogue about the matter at hand showed not an intellectual disagreement with the matter, but a cowardice that can only be rooted in your own self-preservation. No doubt there are individuals and groups who reached out to you with threatening language about the security of your post if you were to side with the forward movement of the ordinance. In the end, you chose the preservation of your position rather than the greater good of honor all people. As a community leader for over fifteen years, I embrace the ideology that a good leader is one who stands for what is right, no matter what the consequences may be.
You have chosen otherwise.
Your attempt to salve the situation by referring back to the unity pledge was impotent and blatantly condescending. You know full well that a unity pledge is not enforceable. If we believed in the volunteer spirit of the community to always do what is good and right, no criminal laws would be necessary. Yet, you used a pledge to be the banner through which you hid behind.
As a public leader in the community, I have no choice but to raise awareness of your, and your fellow council members, lack of regard for all persons. I will also be posting this letter to my personal website, which is read by numerous people within the city, state, and nation. Your name will be attached to these words, as your actions have determined it appropriate.
Again, this is not a matter of “adding a law”, or “creating a problem”. Other cities have done it, and have faced no backlash. Phoenix is ahead of you on this. Your Mayor is incorrect; you are not leading as an enlightened city. You are cowering from threats.
Again, it is with no pleasure that I write this, but I am compelled to do so, because it is the right thing to do. I ask you to do likewise, and reopen dialogue moving towards a non-discrimination ordinance for people of the LGBTQ community.
My prayer is that your discernment and compassion are heightened, and your fear is abolished – that you would be ready to protect all people fully, in the same manner that you and I are.
Rev. David E. Wasson