by Max Brantley
DOZENS TO GATHER AT SEN. JASON RAPERT’S OFFICE, SPREAD MESSAGEOF LOVE AND TOLERANCE
(CONWAY, AR)—Dozens of gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender, questioning people and their allies (LGBTQA) will converge outside of the Conway offices of state Senator Jason Rapert on Friday, July 1st at 1:00 p.m. The group will stage a kiss-in to protest the Senator’s long-standing opposition to the LGBTQA community as well as the lack of state-wide elected Republican response to the LGBTQA community in the wake of the mass shooting in Orlando.
Event organizer James Thweatt said, “What better way to spread love to those that hate than to show them love in action?”
Thweatt also commented, “Though the kiss-in may be provocative to some, it’s also a way to show everyday Arkansans that LGBTQA people express love the same way they do.”
Thweatt also said the event was created, in part, because of the lack of public sympathy by elected Republicans in Arkansas towards the LGBTQA community affected by the mass shooting in Orlando. “Elected Arkansas Republicans have issued no public responses of sympathy towards the LGBTQA community that were affected by the deadliest mass shooting in American history,” said Thweatt.
Thweatt reached out to Republican state legislators, including Senator Rapert, via e-mail and received no response from the Senator. He said, “Their silence and lack of sympathy towards a terrorized community is telling and seems like veiled bigotry, especially from those that have waged war against the LGBTQA community in Arkansas.” Thweatt cites last year’s HB1228 “Religious Freedom” bill that Republicans attempted to pass through the legislature and brought a great deal of public scrutiny to the state as evidence.
The group has a Facebook event page. More information about the kiss-in can be found by searching “LGBT Kiss-In” on Facebook.