Bockelman Feels Surly, List Offenders

PROMO Executive Director AJ Boeckelman says he feels surly in his recent email blast.  Here are excerpts:


Dear Equality Supporter;

I’m kind of surly today. Let me explain:


Look. Whenever I write to you, I’m usually upbeat about the progress we in the LGBT community are making in Jefferson City. Because it’s the truth. You know that because I’ve also leveled with you when things have not been going our way. In many ways, though, things could not be looking better for LGBT persons everywhere….


So, as I started this legislative session, things seemed to have a different air to them… As such, I’ve intentionally met with and worked through a number of Republican legislators, asking them to sign on to the Missouri Nondiscrimination Act (MONA). By and large the reception hasn’t been what you might be inclined to expect. From many of them, I’ve heard heart-warming stories of friends, family and co-workers who have changed the hearts and minds of these lawmakers. And so, as of a few days ago, we have 5 Republican co-sponsors on MONA in the House.


We even managed to get a long-time Democratic holdout to sign on as a sponsor, too. His story? He stated that he has seen the military make such strides over the last two years, even citing the recent expansion of benefits to couples, and that it was time for him to finally put his name down as a co-sponsor.


So, with all this great stuff going on, why am I so fed up?… The last few days though have been the greatest challenge. It is one thing to be dissed by people who have always said nasty things about you. You sort of expect it. You get used to it. You can kind of ignore it. But when it comes from your “friends,” it cuts so much deeper.


As I called on the final handful of Democrats, I was greeted with a stone wall. “I can’t sign on to that, my district won’t let me”….”I’m running for re-election”….”I’m running for Senate, and my district won’t like this”….”It’s gonna happen. It’s just a matter of time.”


I call bull-hockey for multiple reasons:


•           By nature of having a “D” behind their name, they are already going to be hit by opponents as supporting the “Homosexual Lobby.”  Signing on to equality is not going to lose a single vote that they were likely to get.


•           If they truly believe “it’s a matter of time,” then why wait? The time is now.


•           Republican colleagues are coming around. Even conservative Democratic colleagues are coming around. As more support builds from these former lawmakers, the hold-outs from these “friends” will seem less like excuses and more like deliberate decisions. Their excuses just don’t hold water and the issue is becoming a truly bipartisan issue.


Here’s the list of offenders:


Rep. Jeff Roorda, 573-751-2504

Rep. Mike Frame, 573-751-4567

Rep. TJ McKenna, 573-751-4451

Rep. Linda Black, 573-751-2317

Rep. Ben Harris, 573-751-2398


Adding to my particularly cranky mood this week was a package of miscellaneous biblical quotes from a clearly deranged individual out of Tucson, AZ, which arrived on Valentine’s Day. By not supporting MONA, by standing on the sidelines of history, these servants of the people, who claim to be our friends, send a very clear message that crazy is okay, and that it is perfectly fine that someone should be fired from their job, denied an apartment or denied access to services just because they are, or are even perceived to be, lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender…


In equality,

A.J. Bockelman


Originally in February 18 MOScout.