I come before you today as a citizen, a constituent, and a fellow American. There are many challenges facing us in the coming year, and it is important that we meet these challenges informed and with dignity. We must protect each other, and remember what this country is based on and why. In these times, when our nation is faced with outside threats beyond any we have experienced in recent history, it is imperative that the nation become a more closely bonded community than ever before. Strength, for certain, is in unity. "United we stand, divided we fall." These words hold as much truth today as they did the first time they were spoken. They must be heeded if we are to survive a stronger nation. Our freedom is at stake, and not just from abroad. Our freedom is at stake right here, in our homeland, right now. We must unite and prevail, or our country will emerge from these controversial times divided, weak, angry, and afraid.
We meet with controversy every day in various forms, and deal with it accordingly. When we make mistakes, we learn from them if we are wise. We look to history and to our religion, if we have one, for guidance in making the right choices. From time to time, we come across decisions that are exceptionally difficult to make. We also come across situations or circumstances that make us uncomfortable. These are the most challenging of all decisions and situations, and when we find we have made the right choice, we are that much better for it. But how to make these decisions, while still keeping our core principles and honor, can be very difficult. That is when it is time to prioritize. That is when you have figure out which principles hold the most importance, and will effect the most people in the most positive way. Sometimes this means giving up something that you believe in strongly for the good of the people, your constituents, your fellow Americans. Sacrifice is one of the most revered actions for the good of common man - or woman. Sacrifice is something we all have to do at one point or another, for our kids, parents, friends, and for our country. And even though sacrifice means compromising ourselves or our beliefs so that others can benefit, it is something that all of us have done - without a second thought - for those we care about.
These last few years, Americans have sacrificed for each other more than ever before. From Semptember 11, to Iraq, Afghanistan, to every state that has had earthquakes, flooding, tornadoes, hurricanes, the list goes on and on. It didn't matter during these times what the person who was helping you believed, where they lived, what color they were. Nor did it matter what their sexual orientation was. It shouldn't matter when it comes to marriage, either. How can I group gay marriage in with all these events? Simple. Gays died in the World Trade Center on September 11, and gays helped save and care for the injured. Gays are fighting and dying for our freedom in the military in Iraq, Afghanistan, and everywhere else the military has taken them. They have spilled blood for all of us over the centuries whether or not they admitted or we acknowledged they were gay. They elected you, and every other official that is in office today. They pay taxes, vote, and do everything that a "good American" does on a daily basis. Is it right and correct for them to sacrifice their lives and money for you, when you are not willing to sacrifice a belief that you may have for them? No, but they do it anyway, regardless of what you believe. That is dignity. That is integrity. That is the truly American thing to do. The moral, human thing to do. Is it not wrong to keep a minority group from having the same rights as we do? I say it is wrong. Terribly wrong.
"But, but, but..." you may say.
There is no viable reason whatsoever to deny one single citizen of the United States equal rights. There is no legitimacy in deciding a particular group of law abiding citizens that have fought and died for your freedom should be denied the same life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness that the rest of us have. God specifically forbids it? It is immoral? So is not believing in God, as is worshipping any god besides Him. Are you going to then deny the believers of every other religion the right to marry? Are you then going to deny all non-believers the right to marry? If you insist on banning gay marriage, then you really ought to ban all non-Christians from marrying while you're at it - otherwise you are being hypocritical and unfair.
Let us not be hypocrites, and let us not be unjust. Let us make a small sacrifice in an effort to bring a little more happiness and unity into this great nation. I ask you to please, vote no on SCM/HCM 2004. Do not endorse discrimination. Discrimination has no place in our State Constitution nor in the Constitution of the United States of America.