Pat Steadman, a gay Colorado state senator, invoked Shakespeare’s Hamlet when debating a civil unions bill on the Senate floor recently. Watch the video below:
Sen. Steadman is arguing about religious exemptions present in the bill and the nondiscrimination laws that already exist in Colorado. Probably the most iconic comment of the video is this one (around the 1:06 mark):
“What to say to those who claim that religion requires them to discriminate? I’ll tell you what I’d say: Get thee to a nunnery. And live there then. Go live a monastic life, away from modern society, away from the people you can’t see as equals to yourself. Away from the stream of commerce where you may have to serve them, or employ them, or rent banquet halls to them.”
This evolves into a full-blown speech, and it is wonderful:
“Go someplace and be as judgmental as you like. Go inside your church, establish separate water fountains in there if you want. But don’t claim that free exercise of religion requires the state of Colorado to establish separate water fountains for her citizens.”
The anti-gay National Organization for Marriage is reportedly furious with Steadman for “lashing out at people of faith,” but nobody’s really paying attention to them, anyway. The bill passed in the Senate by a bipartisan vote of 21-14.