March 9, 2004
written by Bob Murch

Dear Legislators,

I have spent the day calling state senators and representatives trying desperately to talk to someone who can make a difference.  I know it’s a busy time and you have more than just this issue to deal with but to me and my fiancé Gary, there isn't a bigger issue.

I sat glued to the TV and listened almost nonstop to the last Constitutional Convention hoping and praying that our elected officials wouldn’t amend our constitution to take away the RIGHT the Supreme Court of our state clarified I had.   I was shocked and amazed and for the first time ever, proud to live in Massachusetts.  The outcome, though it may be short lived, was to not put discrimination into the constitution.

As March 11th falls upon us, I urge you consider what you are doing before you cast your next votes.  I have heard most of you say you have thought long and hard about this issue but for some of you I wonder.   While there are those who where able to separate their personal views from their job, in the last Constitutional Convention, there were those who weren't.  I, like everyone else in Massachusetts, didn't elect you because I agreed with everything you said or stood for.  You were elected because we the constituents believed that when faced with a matter of great importance would do the right thing.  Not what would insure your re-election, not what you were raised to believe, not even what you thought, but rather what was right.

People speak of activist judges as if these judges had any other choice but to read our state constitution as protecting everyone as equals.   As if interpreting equality as legislating and usurping the your job.   Bigotry and discrimination wear many masks but fear seems to be a favorite.  Scare the legislators that the judicial branch is steeling their jobs, scare the straight couples that their marriage means less now that gay couples can marry, and scare gays back into the closet where they belong.  How dare they think they are equal and deserve the same protections as everyone else?

My gay money is good enough to pay taxes, bills, and to contribute to charities.  But unlike my straight friends this amendment will forbid me from paying for a marriage license.

I am gay and live my life every day with intolerance.  Some of you say I choose to be gay and therefore I get what I deserve.  I hear slurs, ignorant comments, and catch nasty glances as if because who I choose to love makes me any less of a person.  Who would choose a life of a minority?  Do you think my mother or father WANTED this for me?  But, don’t think this is what I am asking you to fix.  I am not a naive person and know very well that you can't legislate how people feel.   You can't stop those slurs, those ignorant comments, any more than you could pass a law to stop nasty looks.  I am not asking you to change your personal views about me or any other gay person.  I am however asking you to do the right thing, the responsible thing.

I have been sickened by a sitting president and governor who tell the nation they believes passing a constitutional amendment will protect the institution of marriage.  A president and governor who have forgotten that it isn't an institution they were elected to protect but me, a citizen of this great country.  A president and governor who have decided to use my rights as a human being to further their political agendas and hurt others like me.  I have also been heartened by your actions by not voting to amend our constitution.  With civil rights there are no compromises.  The Supreme Court of the United States ruled that separate but equal was not good enough for blacks and schools, and yet you sit there considering a compromise, civil unions, for gays?   How quickly we forget what separate but equal means.  It means you are different, we don't like you, and you should be treated differently.   Compromise is defined as "A settlement of differences in which each side makes concessions."  Can you imagine it's Monday morning rush hour in Massachusetts and as you drive to work you pass the black school bus and the white school bus?  I'm guessing it might be easier to pass a heterosexual couple on your way to work and know they are married while the gay couple has a civil union. Ah, but a rose by any other name...  is still discrimination whether you talk about busses schools or marriage.

I am not saying all or any civil right campaigns are the same but I am saying the principle is the same.  All people are equal whether you like them or not.  This IS protected in our state and federal constitution and as you ponder whether civil unions are a good compromise, ask yourself this.  Why are you even wondering?  If gays can or can’t marry, will they love each other any less?  Will they stop being gay or go back into the closet?  Will amending the constitution fix what you really don't like?  Because guess what?  I'll still be gay, still be a human being, and still be sitting here looking for someone like you to stand up and make a difference.

Please do what you were elected to do and protect the minorities from the wrath of the majority.

Bob Murch


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