Sunday, April 22, 2012

Dan Soucek's Old Friend Scolds Him for Bigotry

The following 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.

Jesse Optekar

Voting NO on Amendment One, May 8 2012.


Anonymous said...

Folks-what is the big deal here? Can't Soucek have an opinion? Sec 6 states following "Marriage between one man and one women is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state. This section does not prevent a private party from entering into contracts with another private party, nor does this section prohibit courts from adjudicating the rights of private parties pursuant to such contracts."
About 30-other states already have such a law and the world is not coming to an end in those states.
Get over it-people are making a mountain out of a mole hill.
Thank you for your time.

Happily Married said...

Soucek can have an opinion and none here would deny him his right to have his personal opinion. It is wrong to force his personal opinion on others as he has done. That is a mountain worth fighting over.

Opinionated said...

30-odd other states have similar laws (NC already has a law banning same-sex marriage) but written with more precise language. Even so, 2 of those states managed to vacate their own domestic violence laws unintentionally - 27 batterers had to be released from prison in Ohio because they'd beaten up women they were living with but not married to.

And if you look at the last clause, it allows any judge in the state to vacate an agreement you have with your partner (gay or straight) - so if you have kids together (as happens pretty often around here) and a custody agreement, any judge can walk in and toss it out. I think government interference in private lives like that is despicable.

Anonymous said...

Today they come for the gays, tomorrow they may come for you. This is certainly no mole hill.

Anonagain said...

Soucek is entitled to his opinion, which he can shout from the rooftops 24 hours a day if he wants to. This is MORE than an opinion, though. He is trying to enshrine his opinion in the Constitution of North Carolina. And it is a big deal. I suppose that if this amendment affected you the way it will affect a lot of people,you wouldn't be so flip about it.

Anonymous said...

"He is trying to enshrine his opinion in the Constitution of North Carolina."

As he has every right to do, especially as polls how most North Carolinians agree with him.

Liberal POV said...


Bigotry being popular doesn't make it right.

Anonymous said...

being popular doesn't make it right.

It does in an election.

Liberal POV said...

Slavery being legal is not the same as slavery being morally or ethically right.

What the extremist like Rush Limbaugh and right wing bigoted politicans have done
to political and moral ethics in American is shameful.

Anonymous believing a popular vote can make the Golden Rule null and void? Is this the morality of Limbaugh and the Christian Right Republicans?

Anonymous said...

Abortion (murder) being legal is not the same as abortion (murder) being morally or ethically right.

Good point.

bettywhite said...

Not every poll that I've seen shows the majority of North Carolinians agreeing with him. Oh, by the way, the majority of voters cast votes for Al Gore in the 2000 election, too!! How do you feel about THAT one? :-)

Anonymous said...

Oh, by the way, the majority of voters cast votes for Al Gore in the 2000 election, too!! How do you feel about THAT one? :-)

Pretty good.

How do you if what you posted is true.

Anonymous said...

Actually, Betty White is - as usual - wrong!

Al Gore received 48.4% of the popular vote in 2000. More than Bush, but hardly a "majority" as she claims.

Not that it matters. For those who don't know, we don't elect presidents by a national popular vote. We go state by state and it's electoral votes which count.

Bush won 271 electoral votes. Gore, 266.

Since 271 is more than 266, Bush won. Of course the Dems argued that Florida Democrats were too stupid to cast their ballots properly so they should be given extra credit to make up for their ignorance. Fortunately for America - the Supreme Court disagreed. 5 to 4.

Again, 5 is more than 4.

Bush won. Get over it.

Anonymous said...

Let's be clear! Homosexual unions are just that, unions, not a "marriage". Marriage is between a man and a woman for the purpose of bearing, rearing and nurturing offspring. It is indeed wrong for anyone to force their personal opinion and THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT THE HOMOSEXUIAL COMMUNITY IS DOING. They are free to live anyway they choose in this country but that's not enough, they want to force their lifestyle on us via TV, legislation , media, etc. and now hijacking the term "Marriage". They keep pushing their agenda because they won't be satisfied until they are seen as the NORM!

Anonymous said...

I support Mr. Soucek and the Bible totally. Mr. Soucek I'm begging you to also add an amendment to the NC constitution FORCING every NC resident to own at least 5 slaves--punishable by prison sentences should they refuse. Slavery is a big ol' "YES" in the New Testament, and like you, I believe in following the Holy Scriptures to the letter of the law!

Anonagain said...

Anonymous said:
"Bush won. Get over it."

So did Obama. Have you gotten over that yet?

bettywhite said...

Yes, yes.... you are technically correct. Gore did not win a majority; however, he did receive 500,000 more votes than Bush. The Electoral College is a dinosaur that needs to go away.

O said...

Actually, I can afford more than one wife, and a couple of concubines would be nice as well - I could use a foot massage every night, so one just for that. And the Bible upholds it, so BRING IT ON!

Not Really said...

@Anonymous 6:13 PM: You said

"'He is trying to enshrine his opinion in the Constitution of North Carolina.'

As he has every right to do, especially as polls how most North Carolinians agree with him."

Well, as my name says, not really. Did you see this poll done by Elon University?

The last line is interesting: this is a poll of NC residents, not of "likely voters". The Republicans were certainly crafty in placing this amendment on a ballot for which the other big contest is the Republican primary. So it may well be that people who are likely to vote on May 8th are also likely to support this god-awful piece of legislation. But you cannot claim that it has the support of the majority of North Carolinians.

Anonymous said...

But you cannot claim that it has the support of the majority of North Carolinians.

Yes I can.