Buzzfeed’s Tony Merevick has a great story about Laura Phillips, the infamous “woman in a rainbow dress” and ordained minister who helped officiate the weddings of several gay couples outside the Carroll County Courthouse after a judge in Arkansas ruled on Friday that a ban on same-sex marriages was unconstitutional:
When the time came to say “and by the power vested in me by the state of Arkansas,” Phillips didn’t just state it, she yelled it, while the crowd surrounding them cheered and wiped away tears.
“I might have been yelling with my whole heart. I was shaking,” Phillips said of that moment. “I had to pull over on the way home. It was amazing and it’s still kind of sinking in — the magnitude of what happened yesterday.” By the time the clerk closed for the day, 15 same-sex couples received marriage licenses.
I bring all this up because her son is actually well-known to readers of this site: Will Phillips was only 10 years old when he beautifully articulated why he doesn’t stand up for the Pledge of Allegiance in school:
“I’ve always tried to analyze things because I want to be lawyer,” Will said. “I really don’t feel that there’s currently liberty and justice for all.”
At the end of our interview, I ask young Will a question that might be a civics test nightmare for your average 10-year-old. Will’s answer, though, is good enough — simple enough, true enough — to give me a little rush of goose pimples. What does being an American mean?
“Freedom of speech,” Will says, without even stopping to think. “The freedom to disagree. That’s what I think pretty much being an American represents.”
Later that year, he gave a wonderful speech at a rally protesting the National Organization for Marriage’s national bus tour opposing same-sex marriage:
When he was 13, he spoke at the Northwest Arkansas Pride Parade, too.
By the way, the Phillips will tell you that Will did all of this on his own. His speeches weren’t written for him. He wasn’t “indoctrinated” into supporting LGBT rights. He just decided it was the right thing to do.
Damn, I love this family.
By the way, I know it’s short notice, but Laura will be at the Washington County courthouse today morning to officiate ceremonies for any newly-married couples!
(Thanks to Alan for the link!)