MY VOICE: Happy 4th of July! (by Kim Fidler)

4th-of-july-american-independence-day-flyer_GkgD2dwuJuly is a month of patriotism. It is ironic that on July 1st, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act took  effect in Indiana. While we have come so far with the SCOTUS decision to legalize gay marriage, it is definitely a step in the wrong direction to have RFRA in Indiana.  In July, we celebrate essential democratic anniversaries — the birth of the United States on July 4, 1776 and the birth of the Women’s Rights Movement on July 19-20, 1848.

On July 19-20, 1848, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott spearheaded the first women’s rights convention in American History.  Over 300 women and men came to Seneca Falls, New York to protest the mistreatment of women in social, economic, political, and religious life.  This marked the first public meeting calling for women’s right to vote.

It is so difficult for me to believe that some people do not even exercise their right to vote these days.

I vote and ask others to do so. The damage to Indiana via this law will last for years. This law is a response to the failed attempt to place a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Nevermind that gay marriage challenges have cost Indiana $1.4 million in attorney fees or that nearly $2 million has been spent to “repair” the image of Indiana. All of this, of course, was at the expense of the tax-payers.

I personally do not favor boycotts of Indiana businesses, as I see the now famous round, blue stickers in many businesses that demonstrate that “we serve everyone”. I hope that tourists and businesses continue to visit Indiana and to do business with those businesses that do serve everyone proudly. We, as citizens, must take a positive and active role to ensure that Indiana does not suffer by continuing to emphasize the positive.

I am proud to actively and positively remain a volunteer for Spencer Pride and to serve on the Spencer Pride Board of Directors. I continue to try to politely address the remarks of people who do not know the law or the issues on social media. I fear that such comments will continue to make the citizens of Indiana look uneducated and just a bit “redneck”. It is not difficult to make a positive effect. This starts with talking to our children about this law. If you do not have the stomach to speak publicly or to visit legislators at the statehouse, it is fine. There are many other ways to demonstrate that Indiana is still a very welcoming state to everyone.

I try to respect the opinions of others. However, this was a Supreme Court ruling. How can people blame President Obama? It is my hope that the citizens of Indiana will rise above this terrible RFRA law in an active and positive manner. It is my hope that the Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality will help us move forward in Indiana.

We must begin at the polls. When we fail to vote, we fail to make changes. The positive side to all of this is that RFRA has angered many. It has caused many to realize that we have a human rights issue with RFRA. It has caused awareness and conversation, that has resulted in approval, acceptance, or in the very least tolerance of those who are different from some of us. It takes all kinds of people to make the world an interesting place. Please vote. Please ask others to vote.

Please keep the aforementioned dates in mind and in your heart. Please do not allow the brave acts of others to have been done for nothing. Please also take the time to thank those who have and who currently serve in the military to ensure that we continue to have freedom in the United States of America!

Happy 4th of July!!

This post comes straight to you from Kim Fidler.  Kim has been a member of the Spencer Pride Inc. Board of Directors since 2013. This post is part of a series entitled “Voices of Spencer Pride” where we share perspectives from our volunteers about topics that they find important. We hope that you find this post meaningful to you and if you think someone else would also find value in it, we encourage you to share it with them as well. THANK YOU!