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  1. #1
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    Rainbow flag creates controversy in Kansas

    Rainbow flag creates controversy



    Tucker Jankosky

    KWCH 12 Eyewitness News

    Thursday, July 20, 2006



    For J.R. and Robin knight, owning a bed and breakfast is everything they've always wanted. "We came here in search of our dreams, my wife always wanted a bed and breakfast and I always wanted a restaurant," says California native J.R. Knight.



    But recently their dream has turned into a nightmare, all because of a flag they're flying outside. “It's a rainbow flag - to some people it means friendship to some people it means gay pride," says Knight. But for Knight, it was just a souvenir from his 12-year-old son.



    Knight says the local Meade newspaper is trying to put him out of business and was frustrated when it ran an article about the flag and did not even bother to contact him regarding why he put it up. In fact, most people we spoke to in Meade said they didn’t even know what the flag meant until the article ran. But once word got around, the reaction was harsh.



    Knight says the radio station has called him threatening to remove the restaurant’s commercials if he does not remove the flag. A local pastor stopped by said it was equivalent to hanging women’s panties on a flag pole. When Knight jokingly said he might consider that – the preacher said he would have him arrested.



    His business has suffered - down to only a few local customers. The folks in Meade who've boycotted say it's too offensive for them to eat there.



    Local resident, Keith Klassen says the flag is a slap in the face to the conservative community of Meade. “To me it's just like running up a Nazi flag in a Jewish neighborhood. I can't walk into that establishment with that flag flying because to me that's saying that I support what the flag stands for and I don't," says Klassen.



    Knight says it's not meant to be a gay pride symbol but he doesn't mind if that's how it's taken.

    “Any gay or lesbian people that do stop by will be treated with the best service I can give you," says Knight



    But despite the local ridicule and loss of business, Knight is determined to stand his ground. “When this rainbow flag shreds, I will buy another one, and another one, and another one - just like my American flag, I'll buy another one."



    Knight says his son gave him the flag after a trip to Dorothy's house, a museum about the Wizard of Oz. The flag reminded the boy of "somewhere over the rainbow."

  2. #2
    epicAdam
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    Re: Rainbow flag creates controversy in Kansas

    Quote Originally Posted by Rand
    Knight says his son gave him the flag after a trip to Dorothy's house, a museum about the Wizard of Oz. The flag reminded the boy of "somewhere over the rainbow."
    Well yay for gay children! j/k j/k... little straight boys can just love Judy Garland and rainbow flags!

    BUT... I mean, honestly, what did he expect? It's good that he's standing his ground but I wouldn't want to stay in a place where I'm not welcome. Why bother to support the economy of a bunch of bigots?

  3. #3
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    Re: Rainbow flag creates controversy in Kansas

    Quote Originally Posted by epicAdam
    Well yay for gay children! j/k j/k... little straight boys can just love Judy Garland and rainbow flags!

    BUT... I mean, honestly, what did he expect? It's good that he's standing his ground but I wouldn't want to stay in a place where I'm not welcome. Why bother to support the economy of a bunch of bigots?
    Wll said. Let them keep their money and bigotry and continue to function as if they were in the stone age.

    What a group of terrribly informed and insecure people that community is that a flag should cause them to react in the manner is which they have chosen to do so.


    Everyone who does any traveling in that area should boycott the entire town and let them suffer the economic consequences. I don't suppose and major business have outlets in their community, such as places to purchase cares - if they do the mfg. should pull their product from their show line in the said stores that sell their cars.

    I wonder how that would go with the people of this sterile community.

    "Ignorance is bliss," it never amazes me how many blissful people we really have in this country.


    But then again, what do I know.


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    Re: Rainbow flag creates controversy in Kansas

    What's really interesting is that the regional media hasn't picked up the story yet. I live near Meade (about 25 minutes away) and I haven't heard anything about this. I friend from out of state emailed me the story.

    Meade is a small community. I'm really surprised to hear it's raising a stink. What's even more surprising is that Dorothy's House (located here in Liberal!) is selling rainbow flags! (*U*) I guess my students that work there are getting a new education....

    mikey

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    Re: Rainbow flag creates controversy in Kansas

    mikey

    I hope you can go with a group of people and support the restaurant - buy lunch tomorrow!

    It would be great to have others support these people

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    Re: Rainbow flag creates controversy in Kansas

    Quote Originally Posted by epicAdam
    Well yay for gay children! j/k j/k... little straight boys can just love Judy Garland and rainbow flags!

    BUT... I mean, honestly, what did he expect? It's good that he's standing his ground but I wouldn't want to stay in a place where I'm not welcome. Why bother to support the economy of a bunch of bigots?
    the point is not missed on me

    I have thought about the fact that ten percent of america is gay, and about ten percent of teh states now have some sort of gay marriage/domestic partnership laws.

    gays have long been a demographic with expendable cash, and if we all moved to the states that want us then the good guys would get the benefit of our presence.

    if they dont want us, fine

    we can gladly pay taxes in a different state

  7. #7
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    Re: Rainbow flag creates controversy in Kansas

    Quote Originally Posted by Rand
    mikey

    I hope you can go with a group of people and support the restaurant - buy lunch tomorrow!

    It would be great to have others support these people
    Well thank goodness someone noticed the heroic attempt by this smalltown buisiness man and his supportive words for gay people when he isn't himself! The real story isn't typical small town bigotry. The real story is atypical bravery and the balls to stand your ground when your own peer group hangs you.
    "I'm not ready to make nice. I'm not ready to back down." Dixie Chics

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    Re: Rainbow flag creates controversy in Kansas

    Quote Originally Posted by Rand
    mikey

    I hope you can go with a group of people and support the restaurant - buy lunch tomorrow!

    It would be great to have others support these people
    When I get back from a conference! I'll take a bunch of the teachers from my building -they'd love it.

    mikey

  9. #9
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    Re: Rainbow flag creates controversy in Kansas

    Quote Originally Posted by Brad
    Well thank goodness someone noticed the heroic attempt by this smalltown buisiness man and his supportive words for gay people when he isn't himself! The real story isn't typical small town bigotry. The real story is atypical bravery and the balls to stand your ground when your own peer group hangs you.
    Brad is right on the money with this response. I say bravo to to anyone who stands their ground against bigotry and hatred. If by chance I ever find myself in that area, I will happily stay at this b & b and help the owners prove that I and they are people first, not labels. Being gay is not who I am, just a part of it.

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    Re: Rainbow flag creates controversy in Kansas

    If I were anywhere in the area, I would eat there as often as I could afford! kudos to Mr. Knight for standing up to these bigotted, right-wing, christian cunt faces.

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    Re: Rainbow flag creates controversy in Kansas

    Well thats about 3.5hrs from where I live. I will ATTEMPT to get A LOT of people to go out there but I'm not so sure they will drive that far just for that. I'll try my hardest though!
    To the world you may be one person but to one person you may be the world.

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    Re: Rainbow flag creates controversy in Kansas

    I agree... good for the owner. And may all of gay america go and support him.

    The sad part is... there are a LOT of towns out there like this. We have made progress in big cities... NYC, LA, San Fran, DC, etc. But the smaller towns (and I don't mean the pop = 100 like meade) still have a lot of homophobia. Not sure when, if ever, that will change.

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    Re: Rainbow flag creates controversy in Kansas

    Kansas also has Intelligent Design taught in its classrooms, remember. I'm not really suprised. What takes the cake is that they didn't even ask why it was up before running the story.

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    Re: Rainbow flag creates controversy in Kansas

    Quote Originally Posted by Andreus
    the point is not missed on me

    I have thought about the fact that ten percent of america is gay, and about ten percent of teh states now have some sort of gay marriage/domestic partnership laws.

    gays have long been a demographic with expendable cash, and if we all moved to the states that want us then the good guys would get the benefit of our presence.

    if they dont want us, fine

    we can gladly pay taxes in a different state
    That ten percent figure is the result of faulty research and has been shown to be false; it's more like four or five percent (drat!).

    Moving to states that want us is not a bad idea!
    Y'all come to Oregon!

    ... where it's also legal to be naked outdoors!

    "Thirty-one* states allow all qualified citizens to carry concealed weapons. In those states, homosexuals should embark on organized efforts to become comfortable with guns, learn to use them safely and carry them. They should set up Pink Pistols task forces, sponsor shooting courses and help homosexuals get licensed to carry. And they should do it in a way that gets as much publicity as possible. "

    --Jonathan Rauch, Salon Magazine, March 13, 2000

    *the number is now forty

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    Re: Rainbow flag creates controversy in Kansas

    Brad, you are so right. We have to support the man. It's good old-fashioned Kansas stubbornness.

    Meade is about 3.5 hours from where I live, but this is definitely worth the fuel expenditure! Mikey, PM me with details, and I'll meet you there. See if I can get some friends to come along, too. Maybe even some straight ones. Who knows.
    Hockey First!

  16. #16
    General_Alfie
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    Re: Rainbow flag creates controversy in Kansas

    Is this the year 2006, or am I now in Kansas? These whiney-assed nuts should be deported. PATHETIC!



  17. #17
    holland
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    Re: Rainbow flag creates controversy in Kansas

    how dare him fly rainbows in this age of hate!! the world needs more hate!!

  18. #18
    Flash
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    Re: Rainbow flag creates controversy in Kansas

    If any of you are serious about going out and supporting the Knight's fight against bigotry, here is the link to their website. The place looks fantastic, and I wish I was closer to Kansas so I could join you guys there!

    http://www.lakewayhotel.com/

  19. #19

    Re: Rainbow flag creates controversy in Kansas

    This is a consequence of our becoming a wedge issue in politics. When Carl Rove, the Republicans, and the Crazy Christians decided to juice up their support by demonizing gays, ordinary decent people began looking at us as spawns of satan, all to keep Republicans in power.

    Conservatives see issues in black and white, they need enemies and victims (real or imaginary) to make sense of the world. They have successfully made flying a rainbow flag the equivalent of flying the hammer and sickle or the swastika to the folks in Kansas.

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    Re: Rainbow flag creates controversy in Kansas

    Quote Originally Posted by iman
    This is a consequence of our becoming a wedge issue in politics. When Carl Rove, the Republicans, and the Crazy Christians decided to juice up their support by demonizing gays, ordinary decent people began looking at us as spawns of satan, all to keep Republicans in power.

    Conservatives see issues in black and white, they need enemies and victims (real or imaginary) to make sense of the world. They have successfully made flying a rainbow flag the equivalent of flying the hammer and sickle or the swastika to the folks in Kansas.
    You are so right on Iman. I believe that Bush couldn't give 2 shits about gays (good or bad) but King Karl told him it's a good one for him so . . . . . .

    But I don't get that a politician can tell me what to think - he/she may push some buttons but if I'm anti-gay (religious or whatever) then it's me - not that they're telling me to be. Maybe the problem is someone on the fence is being pushed that it's ok to be anti-gay - not sure.

    I don't think seeing things black or white is so bad - on most issues. I think right and wrong can be very clear as it relates to actions. In terms of judging people, it gets much trickier. The idea that a rainbow and a swastika are in the same sentence is pretty damn scary.

    Rove is bad news - and he will be gonzo in 2 years. What really kills me is that I truly don't believe he/Bush/all Conservatives are so anti-gay. But if they know they can score points/get votes, then it's fair game. And real people, good people, us - get hurt.

    The Libs do it too - they pander to the pro-choice crowd. Try getting dem support much less liberal support if you don't believe in abortion. And look at now with support for Iraq - Lieberman is getting hammered.

    So wedge politics exists on both sides

    Great thread - proof that as far as the country has come - there's a long way to go.

  21. #21
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    Re: Rainbow flag creates controversy in Kansas

    Thats very upsetting. I hope it gains national attention where people from all over the country pour into that restaurant and community in support of those owners. I'd even sue the newspaper for slander and shut it down. The flag doesn't even mean gay pride to them. Idiots.

  22. #22

    Re: Rainbow flag creates controversy in Kansas

    Quote Originally Posted by chance1

    The Libs do it too - they pander to the pro-choice crowd. Try getting dem support much less liberal support if you don't believe in abortion. And look at now with support for Iraq - Lieberman is getting hammered.

    So wedge politics exists on both sides

    Great thread - proof that as far as the country has come - there's a long way to go.
    Not so fast Chance. Abortion and the Iraq war are legitimate issues. The gay agenda, flag burning, taking God out of the schools, and countless personal attacks are phony issues. If conservatives had a legitimate political philosophy with wide appeal, they would not have to manufacture phony issues.

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    Re: Rainbow flag creates controversy in Kansas

    Quote Originally Posted by iman
    Not so fast Chance. Abortion and the Iraq war are legitimate issues. The gay agenda, flag burning, taking God out of the schools, and countless personal attacks are phony issues. If conservatives had a legitimate political philosophy with wide appeal, they would not have to manufacture phony issues.
    My bad Iman - the issues are different for sure. Was not trying to make them the same rather to make the point that both sides of the political spectrum play the wedge card and pit people against each other - scare politics if u will.

    But being gay is not a belief vs. the issues I brought up

    Thanks for pointing that out

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    Re: Rainbow flag creates controversy in Kansas

    Quote Originally Posted by Flash
    If any of you are serious about going out and supporting the Knight's fight against bigotry, here is the link to their website. The place looks fantastic, and I wish I was closer to Kansas so I could join you guys there!

    http://www.lakewayhotel.com/
    Thanks for the link, Flash. Looks like weekend lunches are out. We'll have to figure something out.
    Hockey First!

  25. #25
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    Re: Rainbow flag creates controversy in Kansas

    They should build a new Disney World park in Kansas.

  26. #26
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    Re: Rainbow flag creates controversy in Kansas

    ^^

    *Shudders* I can't WAIT for the angry Christians to come out and protest a Disney Park in Kansas. I mean, what the hell is Disney doing? They obviously have sexual overtones in their movies. Goofy is clearly homosexual, Princess Jasmine is scantily clad, they're anthropomorphising animals and showing children the benefits of magic and witchcraft. Heresy I say!

  27. #27

    Re: Rainbow flag creates controversy in Kansas

    The power of the evangelical right wing in Kansas is extremely overrated by the rest of America. Its power has been waning since the early '90s. They couldn't carry weight with Bill Graves, a moderate Republican governor in the '90s. Democratic governor Kathleen Sebelius was elected in 2002 when the evangelical favorite Tim Shallenburger chased the moderate Republicans to the Democratic ticket. This year, no less than three candidates for state office have switched political affiliation from Republican to Democrat, including Sebelius's running mate, Mark Parkinson. The primary is this Tuesday, August 1st, and it is essentially a three-way race as to whom will win the chance to challenege Sebelius in November. However, just as in 2002, the most conservative of the three candidates (Ken Canfield) appears to be the slight favorite. If he wins, the same alienation that took place in 2002 will occur in 2006. With what looks like eight years of experience and running, the Kansas Republican Party is perfecting the murder-suicide strategy in primary season and chasing the moderates away. As things stand, they're not such a force to be reckoned with.

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    Re: Rainbow flag creates controversy in Kansas

    Good post, Meat_Loaf. But let us not forget our joke of a School Board.

    I guess I'll have to troll down to the court house tomorrow and use the new "Vote Republican" machines--I mean the electronic ballots. Should be interesting!
    Hockey First!

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    Re: Rainbow flag creates controversy in Kansas

    According to the Advocate, someone cut down the flag last week. The Knights have ordered two more and vow to keep flying it!

    Kansas B&B owners to keep rainbow flag flying despite local opposition

    A 12-year-old son's gift of a colorful flag he found while staying with his grandparents in California has put his parents in the middle of controversy in the small town of Meade, Kansas. J.R. and Robin Knight said they knew the rainbow flag was a symbol of gay rights when they decided last month to fly it on a pole in front of their business, the Lakeway Hotel. But that isn't why they flew the banner.

    "We just put it up. We didn't think about it," Robin said. "It has pretty colors, it's bright, it's summery." And, J.R. Knight said, it was a symbolic way to have their son nearby.

    The decision prompted a controversy in the town of 1,600 and eventually someone cut the flag down. It's also prompted an Internet-fueled debate on gay rights in rural America, and the Knights say they have received messages of support from around the world.

    Now, the Knights say, they are determined to replace the flag and keep it flying. Waitress Vicky Best said such a flag has no place in Meade.

    "It's hard enough to keep your kids on the straight and narrow without outside influences like that," she complains. "We stay in a small town to stay away from the crap like that that's happening in big cities," she said, calling homosexuality "biblically wrong."

    But retiree Charles Helms said he doesn't care if the Knights fly the flag. "If he wants to fly that thing, let him fly it," Helms said. "I don't have a problem at all because I know the story behind it."

    The Knights say they have no problems with homosexuals, but they have never taken a role in the gay rights movement. They moved to Meade two years ago from southern California to pursue their dream of operating a bed-and-breakfast.

    The Knights say the anger displayed by some residents has strengthened their resolve to keep the rainbow flag flying. Flying the flag not only protests discrimination, they say, but they also believe giving into the pressure would send the wrong message to their son, Anthony.

    "It's our business. It shouldn't be dictated by other people," Robin Knight said. So, when someone cut away the flag last week, leaving behind only tattered corners, the Knights quickly ordered two more, and said more will be coming to replace any others that might be destroyed. (AP)
    http://www.advocate.com/news_detail.asp?ID=35208
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    Re: Rainbow flag creates controversy in Kansas

    Quote Originally Posted by springboksfan View Post
    Good post, Meat_Loaf. But let us not forget our joke of a School Board.

    I guess I'll have to troll down to the court house tomorrow and use the new "Vote Republican" machines--I mean the electronic ballots. Should be interesting!

    WHAT??!?!?!! The school board is a joke?!?!?!? Thank the gods the primaries got rid of Connie Morris. Hopefully now, they can discuss other things rather than the evolution debate and having INS agents patrolling the schools...


    mikey

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    Re: Rainbow flag creates controversy in Kansas

    Quote Originally Posted by Andreus View Post
    the point is not missed on me

    I have thought about the fact that ten percent of america is gay, and about ten percent of teh states now have some sort of gay marriage/domestic partnership laws.

    gays have long been a demographic with expendable cash, and if we all moved to the states that want us then the good guys would get the benefit of our presence.

    if they dont want us, fine

    we can gladly pay taxes in a different state
    Every State needs to eventually accept reality. Gay people need to have gay support groups in every area of every State so that people who need them can use them. Permanant stupidity should not be acceptable, even if stupidity is encouraged/pressured by the church or political party. These people are using the conservative party to justify being assholes and bigots. They are even proud of being hateful bigots. I hope that more people who live there speak up publicly in support of this B&B and restaurant, write letters to the local editors, etc. Now is the time to speak out!

    Thank goodness the definition of marriage does change over time. Women were originally thought of as property and marriage was originally about an exchange of property.

    "When you can't hide, discrimination falls." David Boies

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    Re: Rainbow flag creates controversy in Kansas

    I've talked to some people and I think sometime we are gonna go up there and try to rent out each room at the same time.

    The BF and I are getting that Honeymoon/Anniversary/Sweetheart Suite.
    To the world you may be one person but to one person you may be the world.

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    Re: Rainbow flag creates controversy in Kansas

    Quote Originally Posted by TylerKS View Post
    I've talked to some people and I think sometime we are gonna go up there and try to rent out each room at the same time.

    The BF and I are getting that Honeymoon/Anniversary/Sweetheart Suite.
    Wouldn't it be fun if some of the Oklahoma/Kansas JUBbers hosted a JUB meet in Meade, Kansas? Support those who support us!
    Never regret anything, because in that moment it's exactly what you wanted.

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    Re: Rainbow flag creates controversy in Kansas

    Quote Originally Posted by TylerKS View Post
    I've talked to some people and I think sometime we are gonna go up there and try to rent out each room at the same time.

    The BF and I are getting that Honeymoon/Anniversary/Sweetheart Suite.

    Great - - hope you have a fun [and safe] time!
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    Re: Rainbow flag creates controversy in Kansas

    Quote Originally Posted by centexfarmer View Post
    Wouldn't it be fun if some of the Oklahoma/Kansas JUBbers hosted a JUB meet in Meade, Kansas? Support those who support us!
    I do wish Meade were closer - I'd be heading there on a weekend. I was surprised to see how far west it was.
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  36. #36
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    Re: Rainbow flag creates controversy in Kansas

    Quote Originally Posted by TylerKS View Post
    I've talked to some people and I think sometime we are gonna go up there and try to rent out each room at the same time.

    The BF and I are getting that Honeymoon/Anniversary/Sweetheart Suite.
    Seriously, THANK YOU for caring and doing something about it!

    Thank goodness the definition of marriage does change over time. Women were originally thought of as property and marriage was originally about an exchange of property.

    "When you can't hide, discrimination falls." David Boies

  37. #37
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    Re: Rainbow flag creates controversy in Kansas

    I'd most likely never even notice such a flag flying at a place I went to eat. And even if I did and I saw a flag representing something I loathed, I wouldn't care enough to make a fuss about it. Maybe some of those people need to get a hobby or something to keep them from obsessing about the "offensive" flag they saw at a diner 3 days ago.

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    Re: Rainbow flag creates controversy in Kansas

    These flags were hanging all over the place here when the war in Iraq began:


  39. #39

    Re: Rainbow flag creates controversy in Kansas

    I'm conservative, and even I think Kansas is a lame state. It's also the home of the wonderful, horrible, Reverend Phelps. The blue states should invade Kansas and sodomize all their sons and daughters, rename it "Gayland" or something like that, and put it under colonial rule. They should also give homesteads to a bunch of Asian Indians, Pakistanis, Aye-rabbs and other Muslims there.

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    Re: Rainbow flag creates controversy in Kansas

    Well that must be one of the most enlightening first CE&P posts ever. WTF, dude?!

    Ahem. <--- Notice title. Notice location.
    Hockey First!

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    Re: Rainbow flag creates controversy in Kansas

    Ok first of all I live in Kansas and not everyone is conservative. We actually have a rather large gay community here.

    Not everyone here is close minded, Kansas just gets more shit because of idiot Phelps.
    To the world you may be one person but to one person you may be the world.

  42. #42

    Re: Rainbow flag creates controversy in Kansas

    Sorry, I was being goofy, but I guess that fell kind of flat. I just reread my post, and it does sound kind of lame.

    I talk about politics and current events a lot more in my "real life," but am generally wary of getting too involved in online discussions, because sometimes they seem kind of futile. I'll try to adopt a more serious tone from now on, if and when I post. I want to be a good citizen here, and not a total ass.

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    Re: Rainbow flag creates controversy in Kansas

    No sweat, Greasy. You can always use the "humor" post tag as well. That way we'll all be on the same page!
    Hockey First!

  44. #44

    Re: Rainbow flag creates controversy in Kansas

    Quote Originally Posted by NongreasySweatproof View Post
    They should also give homesteads to a bunch of Asian Indians, Pakistanis, Aye-rabbs and other Muslims there.
    If you don't think Kansas has a large population of these ethnicities, you haven't been to north Wichita.

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    Re: Rainbow flag creates controversy in Kansas

    A couple of updates for y'all.
    Rainbow Flag Controversy

    Tucker Jankosky
    KWCH 12 Eyewitness News
    Sunday, August 13, 2006

    [video embedded in original story]

    A small western Kansas town is gaining more attention. The controversy is over a rainbow flag which was flying outside the Lakeway Hotel in Meade. That is - until someone tore it down.

    Owners J.R. and Robin Knight say the flag was a gift from their son. They say it was not necessarily a way to show support for gay rights – though they were aware of the flag being an international symbol of gay pride. After they decided to replace the flag, someone threw bricks through the hotel window with hate messages attached.

    On Sunday, the Kansas Equality Coalition got involved. It hosted a meeting for its southwest chapter. Though other issues were discussed – the flag issue was at the heart of the conversation.

    “I'm here today to support all the citizens of Kansas regardless of their sexual orientation and I'm here to support the Kansas Equality Coalition," says Jan Scoggins, who adamantly supports gay rights in rural America.

    “This is an issue for me because I firmly believe in civil rights and I have a gay son who I am very proud of," says Scoggins.

    She's here for the southwest chapter meeting of the KEC, a group that promotes gender equality and gay rights for Kansans. The group came to Meade after hearing about people boycotting a bed and breakfast because of a rainbow flag flying outside. When it learned about the death threats, vandalism and torment affecting the owners of the hotel – it knew Meade was the perfect place to hold the meeting.

    “I think it's important for us to speak out against bigotry when many people in these small communities can't do that for themselves,” says Anne Mitchell, of the southwest chapter of the Kansas Equality Coalition.

    The head of the KEC, Thomas Witt, traveled from Wichita to attend the meeting. “You never know where the next flashpoint in the battle for civil rights will be. Meade is a surprise to everyone but you just never know," he says.

    However, not everyone in Meade is happy to play host to this event.

    “I think it's a bunch of crap. This guy just comes in here from California and screws up our town. Now everyone thinks our town is a piece of crap, says Meade resident C.J. Thomas.

    Kyle Ross also lives in Meade and does not agree with the group’s message. “They have a right to do it I guess, but it just really doesn't stand for something good," says Ross.

    The Lakeway hotel donated the space for the meeting after receiving donations from gay activist groups around the world who had heard about their story. The story has also gained international attention on many internet blog sites where a passionate debate has ignited over gay rights in rural America

    The group says it is not trying to make the people of this community look bad and the people who vandalized the business were just a few bad seeds.

    “The people I've met in Meade are hardworking, fair minded, intelligent people who don’t support violence as a way to express hatred.

    The Meade case has also gained attention from CNN and MTV, which will travel to Meade to do a report on the flag controversy.

    Members of Fred Phelp's church were supposed to attend this afternoon's meeting, but they canceled because of the rain. Phelps' church protests military funerals. He says soldiers are dying because America tolerates homosexuality.
    http://www.kbsd6.com/servlet/Satelli...89968567&path=
    Posted on Thu, Aug. 17, 2006

    Flag flap unfolds beyond Kansas town

    By Deb Gruver and Dion Lefler

    MEADE, Kan. - Usually a storm precedes a rainbow. But in Meade, the rainbow is the storm.

    Weeks after the owners of the historic Lakeway Hotel started flying a rainbow flag in the middle of this town of about 2,000, a flap about gay rights, small-town politics and "California ways" is still the talk of the local truck stop.

    Now the story has spread beyond the home of the Dalton Gang Museum, with mentions in a national gay and lesbian magazine and spots on CNN and radio talk shows.

    People who had never heard of Meade now are blogging about it on the Internet.

    "JR" and Robin Knight say the flag was a gift from their son. He sent it from California because, they say, it reminded him of Kansas and "The Wizard of Oz."

    But after the Meade newspaper took a picture of the flag and identified it as a symbol of gay pride in a photo caption, a lot has happened.

    Many people quit coming to the restaurant the Knights run inside the 10-room inn they've owned for almost two years.

    Someone cut down the flag.

    The Knights put another one up.

    Recently, someone flung two bricks - with expletives [the word FAG] written on them - through a front window, destroying two neon signs along the way.

    But if the purpose is to run the Knights, who moved to Kansas from southern California, out of business and out of town, they say it's not working.

    The worldwide attention is helping business, they say.

    Meade, about 170 miles southwest of Wichita, is far from the leading edge of the gay rights movement.

    Eighty-nine percent of voters in Meade County cast ballots in favor of a 2005 state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and civil unions.

    Out of 105 Kansas counties, Meade had the sixth-highest percentage voting for the amendment.

    But Thomas Witt, head of the Kansas Equality Coalition, a group whose mission is to end discrimination based on sexual orientation, said he doesn't see evidence of widespread gay intolerance in the town.

    "We really think it's not the whole town," he said. "Most of the people out there are live-and-let-live; that's their culture. There's a few bad apples out there who think it's OK to write hate speech attached to a brick and throw it though people's windows."

    On Monday, the Knights shared with a visitor a thick notebook filled with e-mails, cards and letters from people who support their right to fly the rainbow flag, for whatever reason.

    The southwest Kansas chapter of the equality coalition held its regular meeting Sunday at the Lakeway Hotel. "The meeting was fine," Witt said.

    Although there was talk of a demonstration, only about half a dozen young men actually showed up to protest the meeting, he said.

    "They said their piece ... that they didn't want us in town," Witt said. Then, they left and drove up and down the street, he said.

    Anne Mitchell, the coalition's southwest Kansas representative, said her job takes her to Meade a couple of times a month, and she's found most of the townspeople to be "hard-working, caring and decent folks."

    "I just feel like it (the flag flap) is the isolated actions of a few people who got fired up and are acting out," she said.

    Several people have suggested holding a gay-pride parade in Meade.

    Barbara Wilcox, who covered the story for PlanetOut Network, an online community for gays and lesbians, said it captured people's imaginations because it hit the Web just about the same time the Washington Supreme Court voted to uphold that state's gay marriage ban.

    Wilcox said most of her readers saw Knight as someone standing up for gay and lesbian people despite pressure to back down.

    "It was kind of a nice scrap of news on a bad day," she said. "Having the guy's flag out there meant a lot to gay and lesbian people all over the world. That's not a small thing."

    But not everyone likes the flag.

    "I don't go for it," lifelong Meade resident Bob Mabery, 73, said this week, sipping coffee. "It's ruined the city of Meade."

    Meade, he said, was a "respectful little town, but this has practically destroyed it."

    When asked how a flag has destroyed a town, Mabery said it's just gotten everybody's ire up.

    For a while he was so upset he quit going to the Chuck Wagon Restaurant for his coffee.

    "No one's going to go around that place," Mabery said of the Lakeway. But he doesn't hate gay people, he quickly added.

    "I guess I'm just one who thinks it belongs in the closet."

    Sitting at a table near him, Beverly Bennett said she's not upset about the flag so much as she is about JR Knight coming into town with his "California ways."

    "He bellyaches about a lot of stuff" at City Council meetings, she said.

    The flag issue isn't the real problem, she said. It's the Knights' attitude.

    "I've known some gay people, and they don't bother me a bit as long as they don't push it on me," she said.

    It would be OK with her if the Knights flew 50 rainbow flags outside the hotel, as long as they were not on the same pole as the American flag.

    She'd feel that way about any type of flag, she said.

    When the Knights moved to Meade, they ran into trouble with an electric bill-related lien on their new property dating back two owners and one year.

    They fought the $4,800 special assessment on their tax bill, and that made others angry.

    "It's been hell since we moved here. It really is surreal," JR Knight said.

    He said he resents people calling him a malcontent when all he's doing is standing up for his rights.

    He attends most City Council meetings and often talks at them. He also started videotaping the meetings, and that hasn't sat well with some city leaders, he said.

    City Council member Curtis Hale said he thinks the problems between Knight and the city have been blown out of proportion.

    "Let's put it this way, the (flag) issue is not with the city at all," he said. "We've got nothing to do with it."

    He said the council voted to remove the lien and Knight "doesn't owe our city a dime," Hale said.

    Hale said Knight has made complaints about open meetings, but Hale said that's Knight's right and it doesn't bother him.

    "The council has no qualms with JR I know of," he said.

    Meanwhile, words of encouragement keep coming in to the Lakeway Hotel from people across the map who had never heard of Meade before but now have it on their list of places to visit.
    http://www.montereyherald.com/mld/mo...n/15294684.htm
    Hockey First!

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    Re: Rainbow flag creates controversy in Kansas

    I live in an area that would react this same way. It is really sad. Like my friend and I always say..."Never underestimate the power of stupid people." And in the south...well...they run rampant.

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    Re: Rainbow flag creates controversy in Kansas

    Great updates. Its a hard struggle and I hope Knight prevails in the end. Keep us posted if you hear anymore, thank you.

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    Re: Rainbow flag creates controversy in Kansas

    I do hope the best for the Knights!
    they'll win, I think!

    to change thinks, just let the world know... it always works!

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    Re: Rainbow flag creates controversy in Kansas

    Well...

    our dear friend Fred Phelps has heard about the flag and has decided to make a stop at Meade to protest.

    mikey

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    Re: Rainbow flag creates controversy in Kansas

    Oh lovely. Any idea when, Mikey?
    Hockey First!

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