Editor’s note: The gay marriage issue has many sides. Here is one, put in an unusually personal and straightforward way. The writer — who says her fight is “in defense of the soul of America” — is vice president of the Naples chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG).
Gay marriage will not be on the Florida ballot this fall, but is expected to be there in 2008.
Same-gender marriage is not a quest for special rights. It is about equal rights — the same rights and responsibilities, including the more than 1,000 federal rights that are provided when “married.”
I have read many views set forth in this paper and respect the deep differences of opinion; I could not ignore the mean-spirited and bigoted attack printed in a letter to the editor on June 30.
I must respond.
I am the loving mother of a happily married (legally and religiously) lesbian daughter and the grandmother of their children being raised in a loving and caring home in Massachusetts. These women hold professional positions, are involved in their children’s education, pay taxes, contribute to their community and are active in their religious congregation.
While I do not ask you to praise them,
I do ask that you show them the same respect you would ask for your own children and grandchildren.
I found the letter opposing same-gender marriage an example of homophobic rhetoric and misinformation that is capable of ruining lives physically, emotionally, economically, and socially. Such biased, blatant attacks based on prejudice, misconception and myth is damaging to all of us. We all wish to be safe in our homes, work, schools, and neighborhoods; unfortunately this often is not reality for most lesbians, gay, bisexual and transgendered people.
Two-thirds of LGBT youth who are “out” were threatened or injured at school last year and LGBT teenagers attempted suicide at more than five times the national average. These children need our protection.
I find it offensive and misleading to perpetuate the myth that we freely choose our sexual orientation.
Homosexuality is an inherent and immutable identity, not some “deviant and dangerous” voluntarily selected lifestyle.
There are a myriad of differences in sexual orientation, gender identity or expression. Yet, these are our children, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles and friends. Instead of hate and prohibitions we should be increasing efforts to provide support, education and advocacy for the equality and protection of all persons.
The aspiration of equality is not recruitment, but tolerance.
I concur Americans should wake up, as “the very soul of America depends upon it.”
We need to practice and teach our children: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
The United States was founded on the values of equality, fairness, security, tolerance and decency for all. An amendment to define marriage is an attempt to provide special rights to one group of citizens to the exclusion of others.
The Constitution sets forth our form of government, the exercise of powers and a system of checks and balances. The amendment process has been used to expand rights, extend protections and refine governance structure. The amendments do not seek to abridge rights or impose restrictions on individual freedoms.
The first 10 amendments are known as The Bill of Rights. They begin: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Freedom of religion is a fundamental American value.
I support the American value of Separation of Church and State. It is not for me to tell you what to practice and what your beliefs should be or for you to dictate mine. Because of my faith I fervently believe in the sanctity of marriage. However, neither my personal religious beliefs nor yours are a reason for or against amending the Constitution.
I support marriage equality. Recognizing someone else’s family or marriage does not change or reflect on your own. Parents who care about their children and have a loving and committed relationship better serve children. The one common denominator we all share is the quest to be accepted, appreciated and loved.
Let us reclaim our American family values and turn our focus on the needs of the poor, the sick, the elderly and the pursuit of justice. A same-gender marriage is simply not a threat to our way of life. All persons should be encouraged not outlawed from settling down with lifetime partners and raising their families in stable homes.
Marriage among persons who chose to commit their lives and love to each other is good for the community and the country.
Amid the national holiday celebrating freedom, I am grateful to live in a country where I am privileged to celebrate the joy of community, the gift of diversity, and the vision of harmony.