December 1, 1976 ~ October 12, 1998 -- oh yeah, and the Protection of Marriage, too.
....I can't believe 5 years have already passed. May the Lord bless you and keep you, Matthew Shepard, and make his face to shine upon you.
Apparently, the despicable Mr. Fred Phelps (I can't use Reverend, as he's been cast out of at least two actual churches, and his entire congregation are blood kin or the spouses of blood kin) wishes to put up a statue stating that Shepard went to Hell for his sinful practices (per Leviticus, which requires punishment for people wearing cotton/poly blend shirts, eating shellfish, and using a chair that a menstruating woman has used-- but does not actually specify a punishment for lying with a man as with a woman. Personally? Never done it. Sleeping with a man is TOTALLY different than sleeping with a woman, and if you're doing him like you'd do her, someone really SHOULD spank you). Without really interpreting, rulings by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals seem to permit this.
People are talking about jackhammering the statue, or otherwise destroying it. Speaking personally, I'd rather they took the plaque off and replaced it with these words:
In Memory Of
Dec 1, 1976 - Oct. 12, 1998
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
On October 12, 1998, Matthew Shepard was deprived of his life and liberty because of how he chose to pursue happiness.
There's nothing I could really hope to add to Kynn's eulogic post on this... except to wonder whose marriage is such a pathetic sham that it requires you start protecting it on the 5-year anniversary of the death of a young man who was murdered for pursuing a lifestyle that is judged by some to be a threat to marriage. I cannot imagine how poor Matthew was a threat to marriage, or how I am, but apparently I am so judged by my fellow man. And so Matthew would be so judged by some, if he were still with us today. If you need a reminder of what was done to this poor soul, CNN.com has an archived article</a> from Oct. 12, 1998.
And to you, Gentle Reader: I would ask you to remember this extremely cruel commentary when polls open for the next presidential election. Please elect someone who considers Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness to be more important than the defense of marriage from people who are pursuing happiness.
Please elect someone who can remember Matthew Shepard.