• John McGary, Woodford Sun News Editor

Here’s Johnny!

Picnics, cakes and pride

I spent part of my Sunday afternoon meeting people and taking photos at the Woodford Pride Picnic at Big Spring Park.

It was the first of what organizers hope will become an annual event, and one that seems likely to grow as folks become more accustomed to judging people by, as Dr. King said, “the content of their character.”

Perhaps it’s the thespian in me (I was in half-a-dozen plays in junior high, high school, and, believe it or not, the Navy), but I’ve never quite understood why some “straights” look down on people who’re attracted to members of their own sex. I realize there are passages in the Old Testament and the Koran that are, shall we say, rather rough on homosexuals, but, c’mon, folks – this is the 21st century, and followers of any faith should be wary of Sharia-type law, be it your faith or another.

Especially if it’s another.

Don’t get me wrong; I can be plenty intolerant.

Dear Readers will likely recall my semi-homicidal thoughts about people too lazy to use turn signals or return shopping carts, and those who text or email while driving. I have shared such musings in a column or three.

Difference is, those folks are doing things that can inconvenience and possibly kill others. Still, that doesn’t make it right for me to fantasize about sticking turn signal levers, shopping carts and cell phones where they don’t belong and probably wouldn’t fit.

(Especially shopping carts – even the small ones.)

As I spoke to folks Sunday, I thought of asking why they were there. Was it because they were gay, or had a gay friend, or what? Then I realized that not only would such information probably not fit in a photo caption, but also that the question might be offensive and, most important, that it was irrelevant. You don’t have to be gay to support gay folks.

Also, there were plenty of people in the spruced up park who were just enjoying a gorgeous early summer day. That’s what people of all makes and models like to do.

An organizer spoke about the regular meetings of the Woodford County High School Gay Straight Alliance and pointed out that while there’s a Fairness Ordinance in Midway, there’s not one in Versailles or Woodford County.

Monday, Midway Mayor Grayson Vandegrift told me that not one gay rights-related complaint has been filed since the city’s Fairness Ordinance was passed on June 1, 2015. Vandegrift said the state Human Rights Commission had told supporters of the law that, based on the city’s size and frequency of other civil rights-related complaints, they could only expect one every seven years. Vandegrift agreed with press accounts that described Monday’s Supreme Court ruling in favor of a Colorado baker who’d refused to create a wedding cake for a gay couple as “narrow.” Justice Anthony Kennedy’s opinion wrote that the remarks of a member of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, which had ruled against the baker, showed that body to be hostile to religion.

According to the New York Times, the decision “left open the larger question of whether a business can discriminate against gay men and lesbians based on rights protected by the First Amendment. The court passed on an opportunity to either bolster the right to same-sex marriage or explain how far the government can go in regulating businesses run on religious principles.”

So what’s it all about, Alfie?

I dunno.

I thought I’d close with a limerick written by John Lennon for a gay rights book in the mid-1970s, then looked it up and realized the hilarious last line might get me in trouble. It begins this way:

“Why make it sad to be gay? Doing your own thing is okay.”

Or, as another man who died at a young age whose first name also began with the letter “J” said, “Do to others as you would have them do to you.”

In other words, put your shopping cart back – even if it’s decorated with a rainbow.

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