An Open Letter to Senator William Larkin
By Norman Miller
Wallkill, New York
Dear Senator Larkin:
I am writing an open letter to you and also submitting this as a Letter to the Editor to newspapers within and around your district. I am glad to have had the opportunity to meet you briefly yesterday at the Milton Train Station Event. It is a worthy cause, and your support of this has been greatly appreciated.
I am only sorry that we did not get to spend more time together so you could clarify what you meant by your comment “We’re working on it.” in response to my hope that we could count on your vote for the Gay Marriage Bill in the upcoming legislative session.
If you have changed your mind on this issue, I and many of my friends–your constituents–would be pleasantly surprised. It is actually my understanding that we cannot count on your vote and that you have gone on record as saying that your belief is that marriage is only between a man and a woman.
Respectfully, sir, I would like to implore upon you that YOUR belief is not what matters here. What DOES matter is the beliefs of the voters who put you in office–and can vote you out of office. Your constituency has changed, Senator, and many of us believe that in a world filled with so much war, hatred and meanness, it is time to recognize, not scorn, love–love as equal to that love possessed by heterosexual couples. Now is not the time to stuff that love back in the closet.
I would ask, sir, how many gay couples do you count among your friends or family?
Had you taken the time to stop and chat yesterday as opposed to being there to quickly move on to the photo opportunity, I would have introduced you to my husband. Both of us New York residents, we had to go to Connecticut in July to legalize our 15 year relationship. We spent money there, not in New York, and have recommended that our friends do the same. It saddens us both that although our Governor had the wisdom to recognize our union, we could not have it take place in our backyard.
Let me tell you a little about us.
We have known each other for 28 years, and been a couple for 15 years. He is my husband, my partner, my best friend. Throughout our time together, we have been through the same trials and tribulations that all married couples go through–the joys and the sad times. We have been through illness, the death of a parent, aging parents, job losses as well as the happy, celebratory times in life, many shared with our six nieces and nephews, who are very dear to us. We have gotten through all of these with the same love, respect and understanding that is shared by heterosexual couples-no more, no less.
Why then do you judge our love and commitment differently?
Why would you deny us the same rights? We go through the same experiences AND pay the same taxes–in some cases more due to our restrictive federal tax law.
AND we vote.
Your answer to me that “we are working on it” was clearly a pat political answer. You, sir, are not working on it. The State Senate–when they are working–is. Your vote is more important than ever, and this fight will be won–if not with your vote than with other, more forward thinking senators. Perhaps even your successor.
My hope and recommendation to you Senator Larkin is that you examine your prejudices closely before your changing constituency examines your record.