I am disappointed in our city. I am 65 and a native of Baton Rouge. I have seen many good changes in Baton Rouge, but in some ways, we seem to be stuck in the 1950s.
Recently, the council failed to pass a resolution supporting repeal of a criminal law aimed at homosexuals. That statute is not only unconstitutional; it is an intrusion into the private lives of Louisiana residents.
Our district attorney has refused to prosecute under it. Our sheriff has apologized for using it to make arrests. So, why would our council members not try just a little, to counter the national ridicule we faced last summer because of this?
It is because some Baton Rougeans were willing to stand up for what they believe — that gays are not welcome in our city, that homosexuals are immoral, that they are dangerous, that they don’t belong here. I am ashamed that I did not stand up — that I did not express my feelings that everyone should be welcome in our city and that discrimination because of sexual orientation is morally wrong.
Pope Francis has said, “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has goodwill, who am I to judge?” Unfortunately, there are those who do judge, who are happy to condemn others. What’s worse, in a way, is that the vast majority of us simply stand by and do nothing. I am sick of it — sick of the arrogant, mean-spirited and self-righteous who detract from the outstanding hospitality and kindness of Baton Rougeans.
Whether supportive of gay rights, whether comfortable with homosexuality, whether convinced that gays and lesbians are as moral as anyone else, most folks surely do not feel that intolerance is desirable, that hatred is right or that good people should be unwelcome in our city. I hope that my more gracious fellow citizens will do something now — write, email, call a council member, show up at a rally, campaign for an understanding candidate. This continuing taint on our city must be removed.
Charles W. Lamar III