Friday, May 06, 2011

Thank you Jeff and Lori Wilfahrt, your son would be so proud

A little over a month ago I posted a heart-wrenching tribute to Cpl. Andrew Wilfahrt, a gay servicemember who had lost his life to an IED in Kandahar, Afghanistan in February of this year. The couple speaking in the clip are Andrew's parents, Jeff and Lori Wilfahrt, who in spite of the loss of their beloved son just a few weeks earlier and their overwhelming grief chose to go public and speak out in favor of the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. It is hard to imagine how anyone could not be moved by this couple's powerful words and their determination to speak in spite of their debilitating pain.

And so it was with great awe, a lot of tears, and so much admiration for their courage that I watched these amazing parents once again pay tribute to their son's memory by speaking out against yet another potential huge injustice, this time aimed at Minnesota gays and lesbians: a ballot referendum to place an anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment on the 2012 ballot.

And of course, as has been the case in every other state that has succeeded in getting these hateful referendums on the ballot, it is the organizations who "claim" to be advocates for the family (but who care nothing about hurting good families like the Wilfahrts or mine) and churches who "claim" to be doing God's work (but are tearing at the fabric of every loving family who refuses to abandon their beloved gay children) who are spending millions of dollars to get hate and bigotry enshrined into the State's constitution.

The horror of that kind of betrayal and cruelty leaves me speachless and filled with rage --- but so thankful that there are people like the Wilfahrts who can channel their grief and anger into such eloquent but powerful arguments for why this kind of legislation is profoundly unAmerican, so unChristian, and beyond despicable.

Please watch the video clip, but be patient, the sound quality is not great in the beginning, but does get better as the wind dies down:



Beth said...

Not all of us here will take this one lying down.

Join me in my outrage,

Anonymous said...

Lori Wilfahrt Speech at Outserve October 2011

Thanks to the Internet, I watched the mother of U.S. Army Corporal Andrew Wilfahrt (Killed In Action in Afghanistan in 2011) speak at the first conference of (The Association of Actively Serving LGBT Military Personnel) after the repeal of the military's discriminatory Don't Ask Don't Tell (DADT) policy. For some fifty years I have been a
student of, and participant in, public speaking, oral argument, and advocacy writing. Lori
Wilfahrt's speech was elegant: graceful, dignified, and powerfully simple.

Andrew Wilfahrt's legacy is just beginning because of the extraordinary efforts of both his
parents for the cause of marriage equality. For military and civilian gay people, marriage
equality would mark the end of the last major vestige of government-sanctioned discrimination in our country. The ideal of equality is baked into to soul of America. The Founding Fathers considered the ideals life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to be unalienable rights, even though their own lives did not reconcile discrimination based on race, gender, and sexuality. The reconciliation of the ideal in concept with the actual experience of equality has taken hundreds of years. Andrew's legacy now contributes to that reconciliation of equality, through the speeches of his parents (multiplied on the Internet) and conversations around "Andrew's Round Table."

I can imagine that the spirit of Cpl. Andrew Wilfahrt is dancing for joy to experience his mom and dad speaking with such elegant power. With grace and dignity, they are embracing positions of advocacy accidentally arising because their son (who happened to be gay) had the courage to volunteer for the military, and gave his life serving a country founded on the ideal of equality.

Rich in St. Paul

Seething Mom said...

Thank you Rich in St. Paul and Beth from "Minnesotans United For All Families" for putting your hearts & souls into fighting this fight. I can think of no greater way we can all honor Corporal Andrew Wilfahrt (and his selfless parents) than to fight like hell on this issue.

As a former Minnesotan whose heart will always be in Minnesota, I will try and do my part to keep the horrible travesty of enshrining discrimination and inequality into Minnesota's state constitution. It is the least we can do in Andrew's name.