By David Mixner -
Remember it was Arizonans, in the midst of a Republican landslide who voted to send Congresswoman Gabby Giffords back to Washington. The same state has elected over the years a large number of progressive LGBT members to office. Well-known and respected LGBT leader Neil Giuliano was elected for years as Mayor of Tempe, Arizona. Just in this last election the first native American LGBT Representative was elected in Arizona. And lets not forget that it was in New York where the Tea Party Republican nominee for Governor, Carl Paladino, threatened to take a baseball bat to the heads of some people. And it was in Alaska that Sarah Palin's PAC group placed rifle sites over the pictures of targeted Democrats (including Giffords) running for reelection.
Last June I was honored to be chosen, along with Congresswoman Giffords, as the keynote speaker at Equality Arizona. The ballroom was filled with hundreds of not only LGBT activists but straight political allies. Along with others in that room, I listened to the charismatic and energetic Congresswoman call for the repeal of DADT. Most movingly, she had brought her mother and father to the event and spoke how proud she was to have them see her stand at an LGBT dinner and fight for civil rights. I met her and her parents afterwards and was swept in by their unconditional love and kindness.
Hate knows no state. Arizona is simply a geographic place on a map. Hate lives in Alaska and in New York. The counter force to hate - love - lives everywhere. It is not a place we are attempting to change, it is hearts.
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