When you’re watching a tearjerker, like The Notebook or Perks of Being a Wallflower, they often call it a “three-hanky” movie, depending on how much you’re going to be crying. Last week Stephen Colbert aired what might be their best segment ever, a full-box-of-tissues video that has the power to change the world. Colbert profiled Johnny Cummings, the mayor of small town Vicco, Kentucky, located on the eastern side of the state. It’s the kind of place stereotyped as filled with “yokels” and “rednecks” — not exactly a town we associate with tolerance or being a leader in the LGBT rights movement.
But that’s precisely what’s happening in Vicco. Cummings helped pass a equal housing ordinance, which states that no one can be denied housing on account of sexual orientation. It’s not surprising that the openly gay Vicco would be pushing for this legislation, but what’s truly inspiring is the way the town has gotten behind it, defying our stereotypes about the divide between the Red and Blue States. As someone who partially grew up in Kentucky, but not a Kentucky as tolerant as this one, I couldn’t help but cry sweet tears of happiness at seeing the baby steps the state is taking.
Because it’s not just Vicco that’s moving toward equality. According to Cummings, other towns in the area have approached him, saying that they want to be the next ones to pass the legislation. If that’s not enough to warm your heart, wait until around the four-minute mark, when Cummings’ best friend, a policeman in the town, discusses their odd-couple friendship. Keep that box of tissues handy. You can watch the full video below.