Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of SB 232, SD1, HD1.
I rise in honor of all those who stand steadfast against those who assail us merely for wanting their share of justice and equality that is promised in our constitution.
I rise and stand for those of the generations before me, who have fought, whether loudly and proudly, or quietly and strategically, but nonetheless relentlessly for their rights, regardless of categorization, labels or insults, because what truly matters is that when we promote and safeguard the rights of one, we protect and enhance the rights of all.
I rise and literally stand on the foundation of support built by those around and behind me that serves not only to lift me higher but allows me to stand prouder and pump up the volume of my voice.
And, I rise to thank all of my colleagues who regardless of differences in the past, some made more apparent in recent times, are still willing to stand up regardless of the stones and arrows that are slung our way. From my very core being, from the inner most reaches of my soul, I thank you.
Questions have arisen about why this now, why so fast, what about other priorities. To that I answer that it is always the right to do the right thing.
What a difference a year makes after the roller coaster ride that carried this issue from exhilarating highs to stomach churning drops. We now stand on the precipice of another peak.
In Greek mythology, Sisyphus was condemned to repeat forever, the same meaningless task of pushing a boulder up a mountain, only to see it roll down again.
The myth can easily be distinguished by the fact that the passage of the bill before us is not “meaningless.” Punishing at times - yes, and even torment, having to enduring theocratic proselytizing and dogma. But hardly “meaningless.”
For the struggle and fight has helped to galvanize and bolster those in the battle to see done what we believe is right, is just, is fair.
And, it is my hope that we need not live through such heartbreaking and gut-wrenching endeavors again. That instead, we shall not be subjugated to re-living the task for pushing this enormous rock up the hill of trying to re-invent, re-introduce, and repeat over and over again, merely to see it roll back down. Because when it fails, there is no shattering or booming crash as the rock falls back down. Instead, there are merely quiet tears of sadness, gossamer breaths that break, that disintegrate before our very eyes, dissipating like ribbons of smoke.
But I hope that today, instead, we shall see the rock finally break that tipping point, overcome that pinpoint zenith that has long alluded us and see the rock over the edge to the other side. What awaits us all after that point – be it another hill, another struggle and another battle remains to be seen.
The French philosopher Albert Camus analogized Sisyphus and the absurd-ism of human existence. He imagines that truly tragic moment, when the hero finally becomes consciously aware of his wretched condition. And once Sisyphus acknowledges the futility of his task and the certainty of his fate, he is free to realize the absurdity of his situation and reach a state where “one must imagine Sisyphus happy.”
But for all of us who have long waited this day, happiness does not come from the recognition of absurd-ism and futility. Happiness comes by embracing the struggle that is part of the human condition. Happiness comes from that single step, large or small, taken in the advancement of true liberty and equality.
It has been a long pursuit of happiness promised by the Declaration of independence because we seek not just to have it written in words, but to have it realized and effectuated in our daily lives.
Let that long pursuit and chase come to an end, at least for today.
Let us have that day where we can mark in our calendar the overdue respite that has tired many for generations. Let today be a day where we all have that day of being created equally.
And let today be that day where we move ever closer to having justice for all.