Petition: Want Marriage Equality? Paint Capitol Building Rainbow
Pictured above is what the dome of the U.S. Capitol might look like if painted in the rainbow colors of the gay pride flag. Would you love to see that in real life? So would one real estate firm, which has filed a White House petition to do just that.
Online listings site Estately.com is lobbying for the home of the House and Senate -- and one of the most famous landmarks in American history -- to be splashed with the colors of gay pride for as long as it takes for all 50 states to legalize gay marriage. "Since not every congressional representative has a gay son to personally remind him/her that marriage equality is a basic human right, it is deemed necessary to paint the U.S. Capitol the colors of the gay pride flag," the petition states. "For those who find it easy to ignore the LGBT community's quest for the same basic rights [as] heterosexuals, this blast of color would provide a clear reminder of the injustice millions experience in this country."
In a blog post on Estately's website, the firm says it got its inspiration for the petition from the head of nonprofit group Planting Peace, who recently painted his house -- which sits across the street from the outspoken anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan. -- in rainbow colors (pictured at left). Estately wants to see the exterior of the Capitol building and the carpeted floors of the House and Senate changed to bright rainbow colors in hopes that the coloring "might help [anti-gay marriage politicians] realize the absurdity of their stubborn views," Estately spokesman Ryan Nickum told AOL Real Estate.
So far, the District of Columbia and nine states have legalized gay marriage. The nine states are: Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont and Washington. Rhode Island recognizes out-of-state marriages, and California briefly recognized same-sex marriages in 2008 before a voter-approved ban passed. That ban was found to be unconstitutional by a federal appeals court and that ruling is being reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court. Estately's petition to change the colors of the Capitol Building needs 100,000 signatures by April 20 to be considered by the White House. As of Friday evening, it only had 10. Now the firm said it has no expectations of its petition actually becoming reality, but it's an interesting statement as public opinion and political figureheads continue to coalesce around the issue of legalizing gay marriage. (Hillary Clinton recently announced her support for gay marriage, and on the GOP side, so did Ohio Sen. Rob Portman.) AOL Real Estate spoke to Nickum to learn more about Estately's bold (and colorful) move.
Q. What do you expect this petition to accomplish?
A. We have no delusions of grandeur that this will be the White House petition heard round the world, but our hope is to draw further attention to the absurdity of those who work to deprive same-sex couples the right to marry. We think a senator sitting in a ridiculously bright rainbow-colored office would eventually see the absurdity of his outdated views and change his or her vote.
Q. Do you think it's risky for a company like Estately to so closely align itself to a social cause like gay marriage? Any fear of alienating clients?
A. Yeah, it's a concern, but gay marriage is something that affects our business, too: Preventing people from marrying makes buying and selling homes immensely and unnecessarily more complicated and expensive. Our energies are spent trying to improve our real-estate search to make finding a home to buy easier, so the challenges homebuyers experience is always on our mind.
Beyond the business decision, making a statement that same-sex couples deserve the same rights and opportunities to be happy that heterosexual couples enjoy is simply the right thing to do, and it's something people and companies across this country do every single day.
Q. Say your petition does get the needed 100,000 signatures. What's your next move?
A. I guess we'd have to wait and see how the White House responds to the petition, but in the unlikely chance the paint job gets the OK, I guess we'd celebrate with a jumbo bag of Skittles and a round of beers. If they needed volunteers to paint the Capitol, I'd be happy to fly back to D.C. to help. I bet the cherry blossoms would look beautiful offset by the sun reflecting off the rainbow-colored dome. Might be a real boost for tourism.
Q. If you could paint and design the U.S. Capitol, what would it be like?
A. Personally, the Capitol building as it is now is an inspiring site -- not just for its architecture but as a symbol of what it represents. I just wish the decisions made under its dome would live up to its promise.
Visit Esately.com to learn more and sign Estately's White House petition.
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