Since Evan and I have been blogging about it for some time now, TWO readers are likely familiar with the attacks on marriage equality in New Hampshire.
In case anyone needs a refresher, New Hampshire’s entire legislature flipped from Democratic to Republican control in the Tea Party-fueled red tsunami of the 2010 midterms. One unfortunate result of that was that the state’s marriage equality law, which made New Hampshire the fifth state to grant same-sex couples the freedom to marry when it took effect in January 2010, came under assault from anti-gay extremist elements of that state’s GOP. Despite polls decisively showing widespread opposition to repeal among citizens of the Granite State and editorials from several of the state’s major newspapers calling on lawmakers to end their mean-spirited efforts, Republican politicians have pushed ahead in their attempt to strip away existing rights from their LGBT constituents and spit in the face of the nearly 1,800 same-sex couples who have married there since the law was enacted. (So much for the whole “will of the people” thing, huh?)
According to the Nashua Telegraph, the state House of Representatives is expected to take a vote on the repeal measure very soon after the January 10 presidential primary. Just two years after New Hampshire lawmakers granted lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people the simple dignity of being able to marry the person they love, that precious freedom is in serious jeopardy.
Enter Craig Stowell. Craig is a Republican and a former Marine. He also happens to have a brother, Calvin, who is gay (and a Twitter phenom, but I digress). Bucking his party, Craig became the co-chair of Standing up for New Hampshire Families, the group working to preserve, protect, and uphold the state’s marriage equality law. He also launched a Change.org petition calling on the legislature to do the right thing and leave the law alone. Change.org always asks petition creators why their particular action is important, and Craig’s explanation brought tears to my eyes:
My brother and best friend, Calvin, was tormented all the way through high school because people knew he was gay. There were nights that I worried I may wake up and he wouldn’t be there any longer; crushed by the misery he was forced to endure. When New Hampshire extended marriage to gay and lesbian couples, two years ago, he finally felt accepted. He finally felt like he belonged. Since that day 1,800 loving and committed gay and lesbian couples have married.
Today, the right to marriage is under attack in New Hampshire. If HB 437 passes, same-sex couples will no longer be allowed to marry. This mean-spirited attack is nothing more than state sponsored bullying. The bill actually goes on to allow discrimination in employment and housing based on sexuality.
When I enlisted in the Marines, I took an oath to defend freedom and liberty. In 2004, I went to Iraq to do just that. As the co-chairman for Standing Up for New Hampshire Families, I am now defending my brother’s freedom here at home, and I hope you will help me by telling legislators to vote NO on HB 437.
Two recent polls have shown that Granite Staters overwhelming support marriage equality. One poll coming from the University of New Hampshire shows support at 62 percent. It should be obvious that the majority of New Hampshire believes this is a settled issue.
When my wife Berta and I were married, Calvin was right there by my side as my best man. I want the opportunity to be his best man when he finds the person he wants to marry. With your help, I know we can ensure that freedom will still be there when he does.
Once you can see your computer screen again through the tears and have swallowed the lump in your throat, please join me in heading over to Change.org and signing Craig Stowell’s petition. All of us at Truth Wins Out (along with so many others) have said for a long time that equality is not and should not be a partisan issue. The courageous and heartwarming actions of people like Craig Stowell give me hope that the day will come when that’s truly the case.