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What I would die for

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Editor:

Open letter to Wyoming legislators:

I never knew if I believed in something strong enough to die for it. Being a woman, and now an old woman, I didn't have to face the question of having to die for my country. The things I most treasure in our country -- free speech, due process, equal opportunity -- would I be willing to die for these? I ask my students, "Is there any idea that you would die for?" And I never knew what my own answer would be.

I did not want to stand with the demonstrators for the "Honk and Wave for Gay Marriage" in Riverton. It was a Friday afternoon, and I wanted to crawl into bed. As I made my poster, I wondered if people would jeer at us, or give us the finger. I was in no mood for trouble.

It was cold and there weren't many of us. I didn't want to be there. But when I heard that first honk, something came alive in me. There as a stranger out there, someone who didn't even know me, that was willing to witness my struggle, to stand up for me. What was it that came alive in me? I've wondered for the past few days now, and I think it's the surprising love that happens when we realize we are all connected, we are all one.

And then it happened -- not once, but twice. A truck charged at us, swerving at the last moment, the tires scraping along the snowy curb inches from where we were standing, and then roared off. We were all stunned. We were horrified, and we shouted in outrage, and we laughed like people do when they've escaped something outrageous.

A few minutes later, a car did the same thing: charged us, swerved again against the curb at our feet, and then roared away. The message was clear, "I could kill you. I would like to kill you."

And that's when I knew -- from witnessing the love from a stranger and the gestures of such open hatred: I knew I would die for this.

I would die for these beautiful, young, smart, funny, mouthy and obnoxious students who want nothing from married couples but the opportunity to make their own relationships as deeply committed, lawful and as sacred as possible. I would die to protect these students from those who would so easily harm them, solely for being courageous enough to be honest about who they are.

 

 

 

JEWEL DIRKS, Riverton

Co-sponsor, Central Wyoming College Gay-Straight Network

 

 

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