April 27, 2004
written by Robert Murch and Gary Halteman - part of the April 27th packet to state legislators

Dear Legislator,

My name is Robert Murch and my husband’s name is Gary Halteman.  We are both proud residents of Massachusetts and have been for over 10 years.  In the coming months you will once again be asked to vote on amending our constitution to define marriage as being between a man and a woman and create civil unions for same-sex couples.  Because this issue directly affects us we have prepared the following packet for you.  We also invite you to visit the website we launched at www.civilmarriagecivilright.com.  We both feel strongly that if you are going to vote on something that affects our lives, you should have to take a close look at our lives. 

Within this packet you will find letters from friends and family, our marriage license, justice of the peace certificate, articles about us, and lastly a DVD which features two slideshows.  One is a 7 minute slideshow of what we went through on May 17th and the other is our reception on July 17th.  In these pictures you will see we are just like any tax paying, law abiding citizens in the Commonwealth and deserve equal treatment under the law.  We could be your fathers, brothers, cousins, and uncles.  We are opening our lives to you so that you may base your vote on the people who are truly affected by allowing same-sex marriage to continue in Massachusetts.  While some see our marriage as an attack on theirs, not one marriage in our state has ended because of it, and not one child lives in a broken home simply because Gary and I have legalized our commitment.  Quite the opposite has occurred.  Rather than weakening families, married gay couples make them stronger.

The legal protections granted to us on May 17th came in quite handy recently.  Last November I found myself invoking those rights after a post operative infection landed me in the ICU.  Without our marriage certificate the hospital would have been successful with having Gary leave and not stay over night.  The law was on our side and the hospital backed down.  Even while lying in a hospital bed in the first state where we were legally allowed to marry we had to fight for equality.  These are battles Gary and I will fight on a daily basis for the rest of our lives.  While your vote can’t legislate how people should feel it can demonstrate leadership.  If you vote for the law to see Gary and I as different from other legally committed couples, than aren’t you really saying they should treat us differently as well?  We aren’t asking for special legislation, simply equal rights.  We are asking you to uphold the equal civil marriage laws as they stand today, not redefine religious marriage

You may not be comfortable with gays or lesbians.   You may be even less comfortable including gays and lesbians in the same sentence as marriage, but is that a good enough reason for you to vote to treat us differently under the law?   We have yet to hear a compelling argument as to why other couples like us should be relegated to second class citizens and have special legislation created when they are already included in one of the most fundamental institutions in the world.   Dislike is not compelling.

If you have supported equal marriage in the past, we thank you.  If you are like most people, concerned about equality but confused as to what the right thing is, than we are offering you a glimpse into our life to help you make that decision.  If you are against equal marriage, than we hope after reading the enclosed, viewing the DVD and visiting our website, you find that the reasons you had before don’t seem as valid.  At the very least we would like to be included in your decision making.

If you have any questions, please contact us with the information below.  We would love to sit down and meet with you at your convenience.  Thank you for your time and for your service.


Robert L. Murch & Gary Halteman
Phone:            978-979-1969

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