Monday, November 3, 2008

A personal plea

I Recently sent this note to a few members of my loving but quite conservative extended family. We'll See. To those of you in CA, we're cheering you on (and did send cash).


Dear Family--

I have debated extensively whether or not to send a note to my loved ones in California. I generally try to steer well clear of political discussions with family, but this one hits too close to home. After the warm welcome you extended when we visited in June, I want to think
that you will already be remembering me and my small family as you get to Proposition 8 on your ballot, but I know that the issue of same-sex marriage is a difficult one, for many reasons, so I would like to remind you what a difference it would make for you to vote No on Prop 8.

Gail and I have been blessed to have the protection of state marriage rights in Massachusetts. Because we are legally married, I had parental rights as one of Leigh's moms as soon as she was born, even though Gail gave birth. We still had to complete an expensive second parent
adoption, as well as additional legal papers (like powers of attorney, and healthcare proxys) to protect us when we travel, but it was such a reassurance to know that we didn't have to worry about the legal integrity of our family at the same time we were struggling to adjust to life with our newborn over two years ago, and to know that families like mine are now treated fairly as a matter of routine by the legal system in our home state.

Marriages like ours have been legal in Massachusetts for over 4 years now. Despite the dire predictions, life has gone on completely as normal, only now families like mine are treated with respect and acceptance. Many of our legal and administrative nightmares have gone out the window, as we can now simply and easily explain our relationship to our employers, our friends, our family...and even the government workers at the social security office. It is difficult to express what a profound sense of relief it is not to have to fight to protect our family at every step of the way. We still face many legal hurdles, particularly at the Federal level, but state marriage rights have provided our family with much needed stability and recognition.

I have heard, even all the way out here on the East Coast, campaigning saying that marriages like mine must be banned in order to protect California children. I ask you to remember that the children who will be truly effected by Proposition 8 are those like my own daughter, Leigh, children who will have a much more stable and secure family if their parents retain their right to marry.

I know this is a difficult issue. I know this is a huge shift for us culturally. I've seen and understand what a profound task it was for my parents to grow to accept and embrace my family. I deeply understand the combined sense of conviction and protection that might lead you to cast a vote that would hurt families like mine. But I ask you to remember, your marriages will remain solid and your children will remain safe if you vote NO on 8; the only real effect will be to make thousands of families headed by loving same-sex couples, families that already exist, legally safe and secure.

Respectfully and with love,



N said...

This is a great letter.

Lo said...

Beautiful letter.