Sunday, January 04, 2009

Prop. 8 and Conversations

Benjie Perez posted an announcement to the cause REPEAL PROP 8!!.

Hi everyone,
This is an e-mail I received right before Thanksgiving from Joe Solmonese, President of the Human Rights Campaign. Please read what he had to say and be aware that we are donating to a great charity who is aligned with our vision to repeal Prop 8!!

Dear Benjie,

As Thanksgiving nears, I feel profoundly grateful to the people like you who've given their time, money, and passion to the cause of equality this year. Your energy is downright inspiring.

I also find myself uplifted by the amazing victories that we achieved on Election Day. But there is also no denying the blows we were dealt this month, with marriage bans in Arizona, Florida and California.

Historians will point to this election as a turning point in the long struggle for civil rights. Eight years of White House hostility toward LGBT Americans are finally over. While HRC is working on many fronts to fight California's Prop. 8 and promote marriage equality across the U.S., I have a task for you today: talk to your family and tell them why marriage equality matters to you.

The conversation may be easy, or it may be hard. But in the wake of Prop. 8, a dialogue to change hearts and minds has never been more important.

You might want to talk about the person you love. Or about why it's so important for straight allies to support marriage equality. If you need more inspiration, I have a story for you.
Jan and DeAnn, who were married in California this August, had spent 8 years living next to Jon and Brenda. They chatted about lawn care, skiing, and home repair, and DeAnn even taught their four children in spelling games and rounds of Old Maid once a week – but knowing the anti-gay stance of their neighbors' religion, Jan and DeAnn had decided never to discuss their personal life.

Brenda was in her yard when the limousine pulled up on Jan and DeAnn's wedding day. When she asked what the occasion was, they decided to tell Brenda they were getting married. They were shocked when Brenda immediately hugged them, burst into tears, and sobbed, "Why didn't you tell me?" Jan replied, "You never know if you're going to get a hug or a brick through your window." DeAnn said, "I was afraid of losing your children." Then, Jan says, "We all cried, gave one last hug, and entered the limo with soaring spirits."

These are the stories we have to tell. This is the case we have to make: real people, real consequences. Too long, the discussion has been about the definition of marriage rather than the rights of marriage. Many people don't even realize that legally married same-sex couples are denied more than 1,000 different rights on the Federal level, including:

visiting a partner or child in the hospital
passing on property without taxes
taking family leave to care for a sick child
tax equality

One conversation at a time, America is changing and will continue to change. If we want equality to be the law of the land sooner rather than later, each one of us – LGBT or straight – must now answer the challenge by sitting down with our family and friends, educating them and listening to them in return.

Please accept my sincerest thanks for all that you have helped us accomplish this past year. And when you sit down to the Thanksgiving table tomorrow, think of all we could be celebrating in the coming years.

Joe Solmonese


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