The Norman Transcript

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September 30, 2010

Proclamation support depends on perspective

NORMAN — When the Norman City Council voted in favor of proclaiming October as Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender History Month on Tuesday during its regular meeting, they did so in the face of tremendous opposition — and support.

For every resident who stepped to the podium to express disapproval of the proclamation, there was another one right there to express support.

Reasons for individual support or disapproval were as varied as the audience itself.

Amy Venable, pastor at St. Stephen’s United Methodist Church in Norman for the past three-and-a-half years, said she supported the proclamation because it hit close to home for many in her congregation. She said 11 children in her church “have two moms” at home.

Venable said the children are always welcome in her church.

“And if anyone ever wants to argue with me about the moral choices of their parents — the right, the wrong of it — I point out that those children have a right to come and worship in my church and go to vacation Bible school and make felt puppets and come to water day and learn about Jesus and hear the sermons and sing the songs,” she said. “(The same) as I had as a kid growing up in Tulsa to two very boring, very straight parents.”

Venable commended the parents of the 11 children, saying that she would “hate to think” about them being bullied simply because of their parents’ sexual orientation.

“I’m proud that they are in a church where they can feel OK,” she said. “They can feel just like everybody else and no one questions them about their home life.”

Dana Jackson, who moved to Norman from Los Angeles 10 years ago, said she is tired of GLBT community’s plight being compared to Civil Rights.

“I’m bi-racial … I know first-hand what it’s like to deal with that issue (discrimination),” said Jackson, who admitted that Norman’s not perfect in her eyes.

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