Thursday, March 6, 2014

Bravery...and Ultrarunning

The state of Kentucky has passed legislation against recognition of other states' same-sex marriages.  This law--unfortunately--is supported by a majority of voters.  However, in what to me is a very brave move, the Attorney General of the state, Jack Conway, has just come forward to say that he will not defend that law:

Kentucky's chief lawyer Jack Conway went against his governor and arguably the will of his constituents when he tearfully announced on Tuesday he wouldn't defend a Kentucky law banning recognition of out-of-state gay marriages.

"I felt like I would be defending discrimination," the Democratic attorney general since 2008 told TPM in an interview on Tuesday. "And for me that's a line in the sand. I couldn't do it."

It was a rare and extraordinary move that split the administration of Gov. Steve Beshear (D), who revealed that he would appeal a federal judge's ruling against the statute after his top lawyer refused to do so.

You are a brave man, Jack Conway, to do the right thing in the face of pressure and the inevitable political and personal blowback.  For me, here is the money quote.  At the end of the day, some years or decades from now, we all will know what side of history we were on: discrimination, or equality:

"I thought long and hard. I thought about the arc of history," he said. "I thought about the fact that at one time in this country we discriminated against women. At one time we discriminated against African-Americans and people of color. At one time we discriminated against those with disabilities. This is the last minority group in this country that a significant portion of our population thinks it's OK to still discriminate against in any way. And I didn't think hat was right."

And so with those words, Jack Conway has taken his stand: "I didn't think that was right."

The link to Ultrarunning is simply this. In our sport we reenact the struggles inherent in everyday life: striving for goals, reaching for excellence, overcoming setbacks, finding out what you are made of when the chips are down. 

Our sport represents life, although in fairness you could probably say this about any sport--the reenactment of life's dramas in games.  The fact that people do sports must reflect that inherent need to go to the edge--on purpose--just to see what you've got.


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