Same-sex couples can't take new rights for granted
by Robert Murch
Salem News
Tuesday, March 31, 2005
Page B4

[This article was published as a response to an editorial also published in the Salem News. To read the original editorial click here. – Bob]

To the Editor:

I would like to thank the Salem News for its May 23 editorial headlined, “Don’t let legislators bail out on the marriage amendment.”

By stating that civil rights should be voted on you reinforced something I have been saying since May 18, 2004 (when same-sex marriages first became legal in Massachusetts): Don’t be lulled into a sense of complacency, don’t take your rights for granted, and don’t stop talking to your state legislator!

The editorial accused legislators of “slinking away into the night” by voting to protect equal marriage rights. While the Salem News may feel that the protection of civil rights is cowardly, I call these legislators heroes.

By voting against giving my marriage to the citizens of Massachusetts to decide, legislators are doing what citizens have asked government to do for years — protect my rights and those of my family. The editorial also suggested that voters should accept civil unions because they “offer couples most of the legal protections that marriage does.”

In fact, voters should never accept unequal treatment, especially having that discrimination written into our state constitution.

We aren’t asking legislators to applaud us for being gay. We are asking them to do their jobs. That means protecting the legal rights of Massachusetts’ gay and lesbian citizens.

A vote against the current amendment doesn’t mean that one supports same-sex marriage. Rather, it’s a vote to preserve equality.

To the brave members of the Legislature, I thank you for understanding that. To the Salem News, I thank you for reminding us that defending civil rights is something to never take for granted ... and that life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness ARE worth fighting for.

Bob Murch

Reprinted courtesy of The Salem News

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