Sixteen year-old Tully Satre stood alone during a town meeting with Sen. George Allen (R-VA) and eviscerated the bigot.
I never dreamed of the day when I would reach a political debate on a human rights issue based on civil liberty and the foundations of our great country with a Senator, former Virginia Governor, and a potential candidate for the Republican Presidency. Senator George Allen (R-Virginia), held a public hearing in Culpeper this evening. I was there, and so was Culpeper.
Tully states that there were at leat 100 people in the room, several of them prominant figures in the community--and many members from his old church. This may have been daunting to some, but not Tully. When it was his turn, he stepped up:
"I wanted to speak with you in regards to a Hate Crimes bill that was introduced in Congress not too long ago." He nodded at me as I continued, "This bill sought to add 'sexual orientation' to the country's list of types of people that are victims of hate crimes. I myself have been victim to threats and assaults of hate crime based on the fact that I am gay, and I am a Virginian. Only two weeks ago my friend was in Richmond when he walked out of a restraint with his partner another person called him a 'faggot', drew a knife, and attacked my friend. Luckily, my friend lived - others are not so lucky. Last year, you supported legislation which sought to add 'sexual orientation' to the nation's hate crime list, and for that I thank you - but later this year you said that you regret your support for this bill and would not support this bill in the future, why is that?"
Senator Allen kept his smile, kept his poise, and prepared one of those typical political responses. He told me a story, that once he was at a Gay Pride Festival in Philadelphia, and there was a peaceful group reciting verses from the Bible across the street. They were arrested for assault. He believes in religious freedom, and believes religious freedom of expression is ideal in this country. I agree. Senator Allen continued to say that he believes sexual orientation is not a civil right Everyone broke into thunderous applause. I doubt the crowd understood - Senator Allen seemed to turn the table making my statement appear as if I was advocating for "special" rights, which of course is far from the truth.
And then the ass-handing begins:
"Well Senator," I began. "I too believe religious freedom of expression is part of what this country was founded upon - it is a beautiful thing to be able to express your views, however sexual orientation is not a civil right, it is a part of someone, and gay citizens are being denied basic civil liberty, very basic rights that most citizens are granted." The Senator said something along the lines of disagreement. "If you believe that this is how gay citizens should be treated," I continued, "I am assuming that is why you supported the Federal Marriage Amendment."
Be sure to read the whole thing! Perhaps leave him a comment, they're mostly positive so far. Only a few trolls.
The young man was very much alone in his stance, it seemed, given the cheering from the audience for all of Sen. Allen's answers. Apparently there were a few reporters there as well, one from the NYT--which freaked Allen out to the point that he recalled Tully and hemmed-hawed some non-answers to try and save face. Which is a fairly futile task when your ass was served up to you on a silver platter by a teenage constituent.
(cross-posted, hat tip Pam)