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Ladywriter

Favor to Ask from Your Gay Friend at the ACLU

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Dear ACLU Supporter,

I'm angry and heartsick about what may happen in California on

November 4th.

In the most personal way possible, I'm writing to ask you for a favor:

help us ensure that gay couples all across California keep their

fundamental right to marriage -- the basic right to be treated just

like anybody else.

I hope you will forgive the indulgence when I speak from the heart and

tell you my personal story.

You see, I grew up in a loving and supportive household, where my

family believed I could be anything I chose -- anything except being

an openly gay man. Neither of my parents finished high school, and

yet, they believed I could accomplish all I set out to do as I went

off to Princeton University and Stanford Law School.

They got me through the toughest of times, scrimped and saved, and

always believed that failure wasn't in the cards for me. They had more

faith in me than I often had in myself. Whenever my parents visited me

at Princeton, my Dad would slip a $20 bill in my pocket when my Mom

wasn't looking. I never had the courage to tell him that the $20

wouldn't go very far towards my bills, books and tuition. But, it was

his support and belief in me that sustained me more than the tens of

thousands of dollars I received in scholarships.

When I finished college, they were hugely proud of my -- and their --

accomplishments. That was until I told them I was gay and wanted to

live life as an openly gay man.

Though I always knew I was gay, I didn't come out to them for many

years, as I was afraid of losing the love and support that had allowed

me to succeed against all odds. When I did tell them, they cried and

even shouted. I ended up leaving their home that night to spend a

sleepless night on a friend's sofa. We were all heartbroken.

When my Mom and I spoke later, my Mom said, "But, Antonio (that's the

name she uses with me), hasn't your life been hard enough? People will

hurt you and hate you because of this." She, of course, was right --

as gay and lesbian people didn't only suffer discrimination from

working class, Puerto Rican Catholics, but from the broader society.

She felt that I had escaped the public housing projects in the Bronx,

only to suffer another prejudice -- one that might be harder to beat

-- as the law wasn't on my side. At the time, it felt like her own

homophobia. Now I see there was also a mother's love and a real desire

to protect her son. She was not wrong at a very fundamental level. She

knew that treating gay and lesbian people like second class citizens

-- people who may be worthy of "tolerance, " as Sarah Palin asserts

but not of equality -- was and still is the last socially-acceptable

prejudice.

Even before I came out to them, I struggled to accept myself as a gay

man. I didn't want to lose the love of my family, and I wanted a

family of my own -- however I defined it. I ultimately chose to find

my own way in life as a gay man. This wasn't as easy as it sounds even

though it was the mid-1980s. I watched loved ones and friends die of

AIDS. I was convinced I would never see my 40th birthday, much less

find a partner whom I could marry.

As years passed, my Mom, Dad and I came to a peace, and they came to

love and respect me for who I am. They even came to defend my right to

live with equality and dignity -- often fighting against the

homophobia they heard among their family and friends and in church.

The right to be equal citizens and to marry whomever we wish --

unimaginable to me when I first came out -- is now ours to lose in

California unless we stand up for what's right. All of us must fight

against what's wrong. In my 43 short years of life, I have seen gay

and lesbian people go from pariahs and objects of legally-sanctioned

discrimination to being on the cusp of full equality. The unimaginable

comes true in our America if we make it happen. But, it requires

effort and struggle.

One of the things I love about the ACLU is that it's an organization

that understands we are all in this together. We recognize that

injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

Given what's at stake in the outcome of this election, I am personally

appealing to you for help to fight the forces of intolerance from

carrying the day in California next Tuesday.

If you have friends and family in California, please contact them

right now, and ask them to vote NO on Proposition 8. You can send them

a message here.

http://action.aclu.org/site/R?i=XSoLLgKDpFOIG82Pkf8FfQ..

We need to make sure people keep in mind that gay people are part of

every family and every community -- that like everyone else, gay

people want the same rights to commit to their partners, to take care

of each other and to take responsibility for each other. We

shouldn't deny that, and we shouldn't write discrimination

into any constitution in any state. Certainly, we can't let that

happen in California after the highest court in the state granted gay

and lesbian people their full equality.

Unfortunately, due to a vicious, deceitful $30 million advertising

blitz, the supporters of Prop 8 may be within days of taking that

fundamental right away.

To stop the forces of discrimination from succeeding, we have to win

over conflicted voters who aren't sure they're ready for gay marriage

but who are also uncomfortable going into a voting booth and stripping

away people's rights. With the ACLU contributing time, energy and

millions of dollars to the effort, we're working hard to reach those

key voters before next Tuesday.

If you have friends and family in California, please contact them

right now, and ask them to vote NO on Proposition 8. Share this email

with them. Call them. Direct them to our website for more information.

Don't let other young people grow up to be afraid to be who they are

because of the discrimination and prejudice they might face. Let them

see a future that the generation before them couldn't even dream of --

a future as full and equal citizens of the greatest democracy on

earth.

As Martin Luther King, Jr. reminded us, "The arc of the moral universe

is long, but it bends toward justice." As we strive to defeat Prop 8

and the injustice it represents, the ACLU is trying to make that arc a

little shorter.

On behalf of my Mom and family, and on behalf of all the people who

will never face legally-sanctioned discrimination, I thank you for

being part of this struggle and for doing everything you can to help.

It is a privilege and honor to have you as allies in this fight for

dignity and equality.

With enormous appreciation,

Anthony D. Romero

Executive Director

ACLU

P.S. All the polls show that the vote on Prop 8 could go either way.

By making just a few calls or sending just a few emails, you could

help make the difference. Please, don't let this fundamental

right be taken away. Send an eCard to everyone you know in California.

http://action.aclu.org/site/R?i=_5fbJN6SZdHKm96xZsG1DQ..


                                               gallery_3_22_21209.jpg

                                               Look at the flowers

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I am happily voting NO on Prop 8. It is not right to take rights away from people because of a factor which is out of their control. I don't believe same sex marriage has anything to do with schools, as the horribly deceptive Yes on 8 ads say.

This prop is causing a lot of controversy here in the bay area. I have seen demonstrations, vandalism, and loud arguments on both sides. Yes on 8 people are putting their signs all over my town and painting their car windows with "Protect families! Protect our children! Vote Yes on 8". Conversely, I've seen No on 8 people vandalize those cars and signs with "Bigot" written over them.

Edited by Zepling

Mayor Quimby: I'll admit I used the city treasury to fund the murder of my enemies, but as Gabbo would say, I'm a bad wittle boy.

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