appeared on Facebook last Monday and has been shared 150 times.
An Open Letter to Dan Soucek, North Carolina State Senator:
It’s been a while. A number of years have passed since our heated games of ultimate frisbee, scavenger hunts, and the occasional post-meeting burger. I’m pleased to see you’re doing well for yourself, and congratulations on your recent success in the State Senate. I wish I were writing this letter under different circumstances, but sadly I can’t bite my tongue. I was shocked and dismayed to see your name attached as a Primary on Amendment One, the “Marriage Protection Amendment”. Initially, I thought I must be mistaken. This was not the Dan Soucek I knew. The Dan Soucek I knew was someone who admirably accepted everyone, despite his or her perceived faults, flaws or differences. One of the best things about the Young Life meetings you conducted during my high school years was their inclusiveness. You welcomed a broad spectrum of people, just like the world we live in, who were all treated equally. Sadly, I see that same spirit is not alive today in your political endeavors. The introduction of a divisive, bigoted and unnecessary amendment illustrates that point all too well. I’m not writing to you to contend with your personal and/or religious beliefs. One of the beautiful things about this country is that we’re all entitled to hold our own. I am writing to you though, because the amendment proposed is a vehicle with which to force your own upon others.
This is a bill that attacks our friends, family, neighbors and community members. This is a bill that says the religious beliefs of some, should trump the freedom of many. This is a bill that attempts to make second-class citizens out of our loved ones. This is a bill written with such irresponsible ambiguity, that it risks removing domestic violence protection for any unmarried couple, gay or straight. This is a bill that tells our children that we all have the same rights in our state, unless they’re part of a 10% minority. This is a bill that laughs in the face of a growing suicide epidemic among gay teens and adults. This is a bill that ignores rampant divorce, adultery and other actual threats against the institution of marriage in favor of one that is more politically convenient and divisive. This is a bill that says we’d rather attempt to legislate those who are different rather than accept them for who they are. This is a bill that tells us that as individuals, we’re incapable of passing our own beliefs and interpretations of a diverse world on to our own children. This bill, quite simply, is thinly veiled intolerance.
I’ve always thought better of you, Dan. I once knew a man who understood that our existence is complicated. A man who, like many, might have been personally uncomfortable with the idea of homosexuality, yet tolerant of other people’s differences particularly in regard to their private lives. I’ve heard the bill described (if passed) as a “win” for Conservatives. I don’t see it that way. This is not a partisan issue. When we begin to tell others that their victimless actions are intolerable to society as a whole because they contradict the beliefs of some, we all lose. If this bill is passed, people aren’t going to stop being gay. They’re not going to stay out of committed relationships. They will not retract from the public eye. They will though, unfortunately be deprived of something so many of us hold dear. I understand that you, along with other proponents of the bill, believe that it’s very important for marriage be between a man and a woman. How fortunate then, that you chose to follow those personal beliefs and marry the person you love. There’s tragic irony in a concerted effort to deny that same right to all North Carolinians.
More than ever, there are innumerable issues that are directly affecting the citizens of our great state. As a State Senator, I’m sure you’re all too familiar. With that in mind, it’s particularly abhorrent to rehash this issue. The state of North Carolina already forbids same-sex marriages by statute. The proposition of a constitutional amendment that reiterates that fact only serves to distract, polarize and solidify a voting base just in time for election season. You’re certainly not the first to employ such tactics, but you’re one of the last I would have anticipated it from.
I don’t expect this letter to change your position. If you take my words personally, I can’t say I would blame you. What I would ask of you though, is to keep in mind that there are millions of North Carolinians who have taken your words personally too. With good reason, I can’t blame them either.
Voting NO on Amendment One, May 8 2012.