AN OPEN LETTER TO SEN. JOHN BONACIC
By Jay Blotcher
High Falls, New York
SEN. JOHN BONACIC: DO YOU REALLY SERVE ALL OF YOUR CONSTITUENTS?
Dear Senator Bonacic:
Last week, I spoke to an assistant in your Middletown office about the curious silence you have maintained on marriage equality. She was sympathetic but said you had reached no decision on this issue. I am a constituent who was forced to go to California to be married to my partner of 11 years, Brook Garrett — now my husband — because NY State does not allow same-sex marriages.
A vote on marriage equality in this state is forthcoming. But I am concerned that you do not support same-sex marriages because of your religious beliefs. In fact, during a marriage equality lobbying day this past spring, you had the temerity to tell lobbyists that since you are a Catholic, you could not possibly support same-sex marriage. I am appalled and insulted that you would even allow your narrow personal beliefs to enter into a matter of civil rights.
Your stand is certainly out of pace with that of the current America. In fact, just last week Associated Press reported that the first census figures released on same-sex marriages reveal that about 27 percent of the estimated 567,743 gay couples in the United States said they’re in a marriage-like relationship in 2008.
Senator, that means more than one million American citizens are being denied full marriage rights because of religious bigotry. But even if they were only 100 people, they are tax-payers who are being denied equal civil rights. There are more than 1,300 rights accorded to married people in the United States that are currently being denied same-sex couples.
And while Governor Paterson has decreed that New York State recognize same-sex marriages from other states, there are no binding laws to uphold his executive order. That means that if my husband were to rushed to the hospital tomorrow, needing emergency surgery for a life-threatening condition, the hospital could easily choose to deny my rights in agreeing to that surgery.
Sen. Bonacic, politicians who vote according to their religious beliefs have no place in a nation where church is separated from state. Perhaps you should consider stepping down and allowing room for a politician who places the Constitution before the Bible.
Nonetheless, you have taken your oath to serve all of the people. Therefore, I beseech you to take a stand on marriage equality that reflects your commitment to equal rights for all New Yorkers.
High Falls, NY