The rainbow flag flying outside the Lakeway Hotel in 1,600-strong Meade, Kan., wasn't meant to be a statement about gay rights. When prejudice, though, led someone to cut the flag off the hotel flagpole, the rainbow banner turned into just that.
The Hutchinson News reports:
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.Their son, who is 12, bought the flag for the hotel.
"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 (who was away) nearby.
Since the battle over the flag made the news, the Knights have received support from all over the world. Locally, we've heard reports that people are paying for hotel rooms they don't even plan to use, just to support the Knights.
The couple have vowed to keep the flag flying. They have ordered two more flags and vow to order more if these are destroyed. The newspaper reports:
The Knights say the anger displayed by some residents has strengthened their resolve to keep the rainbow flag flying.Last year when Kansas voters approved a ban on same-sex marriages, a new bumper sticker became popular in Lawrence, Kan. Playing off the state tourist slogan of "Kansas as big as you think," the bumper sticker declared: "Kansas, as BIGOTED as you think." Not everyone in Meade is reacting angrily to the rainbow flat, but some are, and these are the folks who are proving the truth of that bumper sticker.
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.
Haven't we all had enough of this kind of attitude? Aren't we tired of bigotry and backwardness being the hallmarks of our state? It's time for all of us in Kansas to stand up and declare that such bullying is wrong.
We can't stop people from acting out of their prejuce, but we can show our support. Isn't it time for a little drive out to Meade? Spend the night at the Lakeway and enjoy a meal there. It's certainly on my list of things to do.