Thursday, July 28, 2011

WMP Responds to Baseless Claims of "...Until Love is =" Leader Erin Wilson

Recently, WMP wrote a piece noting the political reality in Holland regarding the fierce gay rights debate that has engulfed the city. The fact is that even if a member of council changes their mind, opponents of the gay rights measures will get the signatures to put the issue up for a vote.

That being noted, we advocated for a vote of the people. After all, that's where this issue will be decided-at the ballot box. WMP deals in political realities. We don't live in the Twilight Zone, we don't live on Fantasy Island.

Erin Wilson, a prominent leader of "Boycott Holland Until Love is Equal," said the following of that piece:

"The point of this post is not that a referendum is going to happen, it's that we should remain quiet on this, which isn't going to happen, because it's unjust. The City Council has yet to vote on the merits of the ordinance. They effectively voted on whether they should vote on this at all: several said on the record they voted "no" in order to prompt a popular vote."

WMP wants those advocating for gay rights issues in Holland to stay quiet? Are you kidding? That's one of the oldest tricks in the book: when someone differs from your path, use extreme language to paint yourself as a victim, saying the other side wants to shut you up.

Wilson's claim we're trying to keep them quiet is a baseless accusation that is as untrue as it is ignorant.

First of all, let's take a trip back in time to our post previewing the Council's vote. We got it wrong, we predicted a 5-4 passage with Mayor Dykstra deciding the vote. Mayor Dykstra did decide the vote, but voted against it. Here is the excerpt where we preview Councilman Shawn Miller's vote:

"Miller is a complete coin-flip. For him, the question will be "can government help in this situation?" Given that empirical evidence, as referenced in the Grand Raids Press editorial, shows cities without protections for gays have more instances of discrimination than those without, we think Miller will come down as a yes vote. Miller is big on individual liberty, and if this measure will help uphold the liberty of some of Holland's citizens, Miller won't look at the issue as an inappropriate role for government. Just the opposite-the measure reasonably uses government to attempt to insure the liberty of Holland's gay residents.

In clear and in no uncertain terms, WMP wrote that the measure "reasonably uses government to insure the liberty of Holland's gay residents." Does that really sound like WMP wants to keep these groups quiet?

Second, we have given the group a lot of coverage and have been extremely fair to them. We wrote a vote preview, wrote about the aftermath, and interviewed their spokesman Drew Stoppels, along with some other coverage.

Also of note, City Council members can cast their vote for ANY REASON THEY WANT. Any. Wilson's arguments about forcing the council members to vote through the prism he demands just doesn't hold water. This is why we have elections.

Mr. Wilson is clearly a smart man who passionately believes in this cause. He would do well to step back, take a deep breath, and remember that "my 90% friend isn't my 10% enemy." An old Apache saying tells us "their are many paths to the same place." The movement will never succeed if it refuses to engage people who don't fully agree with them. Former candidate for US Congress Field Reichardt said it best in one of his comments: "Better to do an initiative campaign ... and if you lose, do it again ... then again. Each time you will educate more people, and eventually you will win."

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