Election letter: Brown's legislation would have rolled back civil rights
The March on Washington and Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech was not only about ending segregation but also about enjoying the fruits of being an equal citizen in all aspects of life. King, speaking on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to a crowd of 250,000, made the passage of the landmark 1964 Civil Rights Act possible. This law outlawed major forms of discrimination against racial, ethnic, national, religious minorities and women. It is ironic that 50 years after the March on Washington, state Sen. Sharon Brown sponsored an amendment to SB 5927 giving business owners the rights to exercise their religious, philosophical beliefs or matters of conscience when doing business. The amendment would legalize discrimination contradicting Section 2 of SB 5927, which declares that freedom from discrimination is a civil right. How can we forget the human struggle to be free from discrimination; the arrest of Rosa Parks, the Montgomery bus boycott, the bloody freedom rides, the confrontation at Ole Miss, the siege of Birmingham, the church bombings, and the murder of Medgar Evers? Brown's amendment emerged coincidentally with the cause clbre, a denial of service to gays. It smacks of crass opportunism.