An Open Letter to New York State Senators Aubertine, Addabbo, Diaz, Huntley, Kruger, Monserrate, Onorato, and Sachowski

>Dear State Senators,

The votes that each of you cast yesterday should fill you with shame. When you returned to your homes in the evening, to your spouses and children and beside tables, did you feel a sense of accomplishment? Did you think that you had honored your commitment to democracy and government? Or did you wake choking in the middle of the night, grasping desperately for a glass of water, your body caught in the twisted sheets, knowing that the choice you made was the resentful, hateful, bigoted choice of a coward?

I am afraid that you slept soundly. I am afraid that you think that this is just how some things go in Albany, that votes don’t mean what they really mean. I am afraid that you cannot see what you have done. I am afraid that because of your ignorance you do not understand that your votes are not simply votes to deny the rights of thousands of loving, hopeful, trusting, giving, caring and tax-paying people–many of whom voted for you–the right to happiness, and equal protection. Your votes are expressions of pure, unequivocal hate. You have said: It’s okay to hate gay people.

Do you understand that heterosexual marriages are actually made less sacred by the choices that you have made? Do you understand that if the love between two women who wish to marry is a threatening advance on the stability of your marriage, then your marriage has no stability at all?

Though you may not see it, this is not simply a vote against gay people who want to share a life together. This is a vote against every gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or questioning child that gets bullied, beaten, assaulted and abused–on the playground, in classrooms, and in the very communities that you represent. Your vote is a vote against their future.

Of all the reasons to have the institution of marriage open to every one of this country’s citizens, perhaps the most important is this: So that our gay and lesbian children feel valid. So they can grow up to be productive, loving, active members of the American idea in action. Your vote has said to them, loud and clear, that your neighborhood and your government thinks that you are worthless. That worthlessness, which is the worthlessness that you have incited, encouraged and have now perpetuated, will cause some of those children to attempt suicide. Some of those who try to kill themselves will succeed. They will shoot themselves with guns, or hang themselves in closets, or slice open their fragile young wrists.

I hope that when this happens–and sadly, terribly, regretfully, it will happen–that you are visited by their ghosts in the night. I hope that the dark room you are sleeping in turns suddenly cold. I hope your body feels icy, frozen with the knowledge of what you’ve done. I hope that you wake shaking, and screaming in fear.

Sincerely,

Lee Houck



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