Dear Senators Kerry and Edwards,
In a recent email, your campaign asked, “What values matter most to you?”
I’d like to let you know what matters most to me is keeping my family close, acquiring financial independence and a successful retirement, and equality for GLBT people – which includes full marriage rights, not just civil unions.
But you probably have people reading through these letters for you, and they have probably been given a list of criteria to weed through the thousands of letters, to find only the ones that will help your campaign. So the chances of your actually ever reading this letter yourself are quite slim. Further, you’ve probably been watching the polls and have deduced that since “most Americans” are “against gay marriage,” that taking the side of the minority would not be to your advantage. This makes me wonder why I am wasting my time writing. In reality, I have no real choice but to vote for you, because I obviously can’t vote for Bush, and if I don’t vote at all then that’s actually one in his favor.
But the fact is, gentlemen, I’m a real person who is affected by the decisions you make as Senators, and the decisions you might make as the President and Vice President. I am a mortgaged homeowner living in Marion, Iowa. I live with my girlfriend of 5 years in a loving, monogamous relationship. We have 2 dogs and we split all household bills equally. We both work 40 hours a week, pay our bills on time, contribute to the economy both locally and nationally, pay taxes, are responsible pet owners, are defensive drivers with clean records, and we get involved in democracy by voting and grassroots activism. At the end of the day, the most important thing to me is not some imaginary “gay agenda.” It’s being able to relax at home with my girlfriend and not have to worry what she will do if something happens to me.
But I DO have to worry. I have to worry if she will be allowed to visit me in the hospital during restricted hours, even when I am dying. Will she be allowed to make medical and financial decisions for me, as per my own wishes? Will she be able to determine burial arrangements for me? Will she get to keep our house that we’ve both paid towards?
If we ever decided to have a baby, only one of us would have legal rights over the child. If that parent dies, the survivor would be the obvious choice to care for the child, but in the eyes of the current laws, that child is now an orphan. This is one of many reasons why our conscience has left us childless; we couldn’t bring a child into such an unpredictable situation. These are the things that are important to me, Senators. These are things legally married people take for granted, and these are things that keep me awake at night. You see, it’s not just about being fair. It’s about issues that affect me every single day.
At the moment, the laws of society don’t allow me to be a real person. I don’t want to change the world or promote homosexuality. On the contrary, in my experience it’s a disadvantage to be gay and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. But that’s who I am, and I just count myself lucky that I have someone who loves me, and I am surrounded by family and friends who support me.
I want to be able to live my life as if I were just as real as you or any other heterosexual. Civil unions aren’t going to cut it. Separate is never equal, as evidenced by history. I am fully convinced that there is NO valid argument against allowing any two people to marry legally, be they man, woman, transgender or even chopped off from the waist down by a freak farming accident. If they love each other and are willing to take on all the responsibilities of marriage, why deny them the right of such?
Some arguments – and the reasons why they fail – against marriage equality are as follows:
1. It will undermine the institution of marriage.
a. One will not affect the other. I would like any...
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