The battle over the gay marriage issue in America is basically shelved, at least for this year. But the issue exposed a lot about Americas political system that is unsettling for me and for my family. Christina Schlieske, my daughter Justines partner, responded to an invitation to send thoughts to Democratic nominees John Kerry and John Edwards about what her hopes for Americas future really are.
Tina said she felt compelled to write this because she is frightened of Bushs insistence on a Constitutional amendment, and because she feels Kerry and Edwards have been too quiet on the subject.
Dear John and John,
Im writing to you in hopes that someone would listen to my story. My fear is that, if this country continues to go in the direction it is, I will soon be considered a non-citizen.
I have two children -- Maiya, 9 and Atticus, 5. I am also a foster parent to two girls -- Rachel, 12 and Marie, 11. The two foster girls in particular have come from a very dark and tragic background. They found their father dead in a motel room when they were only 9 and 10 years old. They had moved from home to home, state to state and dealt with their parents drug problems and abuse.
I have provided these children with love, shelter and the type of morals and principles to make them incredible people. They are the kind of people that will show others respect and compassion. And they now possess the tools to make good decisions in trying situations. These children thrive in their schools and their community.
I have not done this alone, and that is what is so different about my story. I am in a relationship with another woman. By Bushs standards, I am not qualified to be a parent.
We have given our children and our foster children what any parent would give, and in the case of Rachel and Marie, we have given them a more traditional, stable family then even their own biological mother and father could. They supposedly had a proper traditional family under Bushs definition, yet it was filled with abuse, neglect and abandonment. Both girls have told us that for the first time in their lives, they feel that they are living in a normal family.
All I ask is that you have the integrity to stand up for all of our rights. I dont care if you are against gay marriage. The church and state should remain separate. I dont think anyone wants to infringe upon someone elses religious beliefs. I wouldnt want to get married in a church or anywhere else that didnt support my family and me. But I dont see this as a religious issue.
This is all about EQUAL RIGHTS.
I pay my taxes, I obey the law, and I exercise my right as an American to vote. I want my vote to mean something.
I want to know that I can benefit from this country like everyone else. I want to enjoy those benefits by being judged by how much I love my family and how raise my children and what I contribute to my community, not by who I love.
Try to comprehend what its like to know that a convicted murderer in prison has more rights than I do, as they can marry and their unions have more validity in the eyes of the law than mine. Clearly, whether you are religious or not, this does not make any sense.
There are many other issues that are also important to me as well. I want the fighting to end. I want peoples sons and daughters to come home in one piece and stop fighting this bogus war. I want the US to be trusted again and not so hated by other countries in the world. I want the people in this country to be taken care of with health care and job security.
People in this country need so badly a political leader who isnt afraid to say the things that need to be said. Dont waver on your beliefs. Make the stand. Every decent person knows the right thing to do. I dont believe you need a panel of people or polls to tell you that.