Kicking A Lion

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All Vermonters deserve equal rights

All Vermonters deserve equal rights

December 1, 2008

Open letter to Gov. Jim Douglas: During the last two weeks, the emerging battleground in the fight for gay marriage and equal rights has become our state and our legislature. I applaud and support Sen. John Campbell (D-Windsor) for his work to prepare and to introduce a gay marriage bill that will provide full marriage rights to Vermont same-sex couples where the civil union bill of 2000 has fallen short and has kept gay and lesbian relationships separate and unequal.

With this particular issue even more of a political landmine following this month’s national elections, I am proud to have a member of the legislative leadership who is bringing Vermont back to the forefront of progressive politics and progressive thinking in this country.

I am, however, surprised by the politicking that is being demonstrated by you, sir. Fresh off your re-election to a fourth term, you have already drawn the line before hearing any formal argument, before reading any bill or legislation and you are seemingly oblivious to 58 percent of Vermonters who have been polled and have indicated they support or lean towards supporting gay marriage for same-sex couples. This is clearly one more example of how out of touch you are with Vermonters.

I am disappointed how you are trying to sidestep the most important issue in this country right now with your claims that lawmakers in the Legislature should solely focus on solving the economic downturn that it appears your policies have created during your previous three terms.

Your misleading statements have made Vermonters believe that the House and Senate can only handle one issue at a time and has made lawmakers feel that supporting a gay marriage bill will make citizens suffering from economic strains become more impatient with the Legislature for focusing on “other issues.” Civil rights should never be put to the side of the table, just as no other policy or legislation should be placed above legally granting God-given human rights to the people of this state.

The people who discriminate against me without even knowing me or those who are like me, they have lowered me to their level. Their hate has made me hate; hate their intolerance, their bigotry. I don’t believe that you “hate” the LGBT community but I feel as if you are ignoring us by wanting to focus solely on the economy of the state. I am not a second-class citizen, Gov. Douglas. I am who I am and I am proud. I am gay and first and foremost and most importantly, I am a human being.

The one place that I’ve finally felt comfortable and accepted is now threatened, not just by votes cast in other states, but now by the pen in your hand. All of us; gay, straight, lesbian, and transgendered are all threatened by these decisions.

If one group of people are discriminated against for being different, then all people can be and will continue to be discriminated against, for we are all unique, but we are more similar than different. It’s easier for some to highlight and magnify the differences than to acknowledge and accept the obvious similarities.

We all are human; we all love, we all feel. We all are equal in God’s eyes, and the divisions between us are man-made.

A higher law above that of any state or federal Constitution has already commanded freedom and inalienable human rights for us all, regardless of sexual orientation, and yet some believe that they have the authority to say to whom they apply. As if to say our relationships, our love, our lives, are any less meaningful that that shared between a man and woman. Compromises were once made, and separate rights were a stepping stone, but separate is never equal, and not morally just.

I have personally never voted for you simply because your views and opinions have honestly never matched with mine, but I still hold a level of respect for all my state’s elected officials regardless of whether I voted for them or not.

Gov. Douglas, your statements have lowered my level of respect for you. I grew up believing that regardless of parties and affiliations, all Vermont politicians were different than the elected officials of larger cities and states that say one thing before election day and do another and after winning office.

But now you have taken back a campaign promise that I heard this fall. I heard you numerous times during the debates and on your television ads saying you wanted to “improve the quality of life for all Vermonters.” If you truly wanted to increase the quality of life for all Vermonters, why won’t you grant all Vermonters equal rights and end the discrimination and separation happening right inside our Green Mountains?

The lawmakers in the Legislature can multitask, governor. Let them. Vermonters are calling for equality in marriage and a gay marriage bill can be a top priority and the economy doesn’t need to be shifted into second place. You know this. Vermonters know this and their voices are clear. Listen and make the right decision Gov. Douglas, the choice is yours.

CHRISTOPHER M. WARD

Winooski

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Written by kickingalion

December 1, 2008 at 4:34 pm

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