Out in Kentucky, John Wright is a Mason, just like his father and grandfather before him. In fact, John Wright is the leader of his local lodge, a real big shot, I suppose. But see, recently, John Wright told some of the members he was also a gay man and all heck broke loose.
One member called him "a flaming faggot" and insisted that he resign; then he led several members in a walkout. But John Wright refused to resign. And he also refused to simply stand by when another local lodge proposed a change to the Mason's state constitution that would have banned openly gay men from being Masons in Kentucky. And he was still standing when a vote at the annual statewide meeting in Louisville turned down the proposal.
John Wright considers this a critical moment in Mason history: "They said with a strong voice that they are not going to discriminate. I do think that there are a large number of them of a newer mind-set that they can put these differences behind them and work toward the goals that the fraternity has. They can become better men and make our communities better places."
Still, John Wright is no Pollyanna. He saw the looks on the faces of some of the men as the vote was taken, men who wanted to expel openly gay men, and he fully expects there will be other attempts to change the constitution.
"I think it's not over by a long shot," he said.
But for now, John Wright, and any other gay man, has the right to be a Mason.