Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Letter to NH Legislators

Greetings Esteemed Legislators,

I am contacting you to ask you to support HB436 and help bring equality to our state. The opposition to this bill hopes to convince you that GLBT people are all unworthy of being judged as individuals as our laws call for. Instead they bypass their responsibility to provide a compelling public interest that is outside of their religious beliefs. They also want you to forget your responsibility to provide Due Process where we are all protected from unjustified accusations. They expect you to look past the individual that I am and look instead to a stereotype where they can say I'm simply one of "them" and easier to fear.

I've lived in Salem my entire life, I went to St. Joseph's parish, and I even went with the youth group to see the Pope in 1993, the write up can be found on the front page of the Lawrence Eagle Tribune August 13, 1993 with me in it. I have been a respectful citizen all my life and have given back to my community all the while. I questioned myself if there was any truth to the opposition's fears as a person who loves their community enough to give up his own freedoms for the sake of the many. However, I will not give up on my freedom for the sake of a fearful few that are simply lacking exposure to diversity so that they can continue to live in the comfort of their habits at my expense. The arguments I have heard all fail the test when applied to people as individuals, leaving me to ask myself and you how many innocent people will be continue to be left as second class citizens when they have done nothing wrong to deserve such treatment. If we are not to use the standard of individual merit when judging others, what measure is just? If we do not hold accusers accountable to prove their accusations beyond a reasonable doubt, then what does that say of us as a people?

I believe it is time for legislators like yourselves to rise up and lead our people out of the darkness bigotry casts on otherwise notably good people. Failing that, you can at least vote for this bill and help end government sanctioned discrimination. General John Stark was the man that coined the phrase our great state is famous for, "Live Free or Die!" the whole of that phrase was, "Live Free or Die, there are worse things than death!" Worse things like living your life denied the equality others have without any justification. You have the rare chance here to lead not only this state's people but the rest of the country with your vote. Send a positive message of solidarity that shows we are one people, not just party lines. This will not risk your office as proven in Massachusetts, where those who where brave enough to take a stand for equality were rewarded with re-election in almost every single circumstance.

Elevating me and other GLBT people to the level of equal will not impact anyone else's ability to enjoy their own liberties, including the right to believe what they want and say what they want. My neighbors rights end where mine begin, please allow those who wish to marry their loved one the right to do so by voting in support of HB436. By voting against this bill you will be saying that there is not one single GLBT person who is worthy of a right that heterosexual people cannot have taken away simply because they are gay. This would cast our state in a very unfavorable light considering we are about to be surrounded on all sides by states that see the value of true equality, and I'm confident this action will be remembered by those it harms come election day. General John Stark was just a man until his actions made him great. What will you be remembered for?

If you are a New Hampshire resident and would like to contact your legislator here is a link for you to find them.

Here is the voting record of those who voted in 2007 for and against civil unions. You'll have to put in HB437 and the year in order to find the results.

The race seems on in New England between NH, VT, and ME to see which state gets full marriage equality first, however New Hampshire is expected to vote on this issue March 26, only one week from today.

Some minds will always be closed because they will not open themselves to the idea their beliefs should not be forced upon the unwilling, but I believe over time some will change their minds. Through logic and information we can at least make our cases and let the chips fall where they may.


Kim Schultz said...

John, you did real well with this letter. I hope your efforts here really get someone of the opposition to thinking more positively about LGBT and giving the communities in that state more rights.

John Hosty-Grinnell said...

Kim, thanks for the kind words. I know that during the vote in 2007 when civil unions became legal the vote was pretty much down party lines with the exception of 25 republicans jumping ship as opposed to 4 democrats voting againt the measure.

I am cautiously optimistic about Thursday's outcome. I'll be there to report the story for us.