I sent the following letter today via e-mail to George Onorato, my representative in the New York State Senate.
Dear Senator Onorato,
My name is David Mack. I am one of your constituents.
I received a call yesterday from the New York Civil Liberties Union, whose representative told me that you are “on the fence” regarding your vote on an upcoming measure to legalize same-sex marriage in New York State. Your public comments on the issue would suggest you are, in fact, opposed to the measure.
I am writing to urge you in the strongest possible terms to vote in favor of that measure.
This is not about “gay” rights, or “special” rights; this is about civil rights and equal rights. When we start deciding which of our fellow law-abiding citizens are not worthy of the same legal protections as the rest of us, that is the same as creating second-class citizens.
New York should stand for something better and more noble than that.
Religious qualms about the issue are not a valid reason to deny citizens’ civil rights. I support an exception for churches and religious organizations; I don’t think any church or member of the clergy should be forced to host, officiate, bless, or sanction unions that it prohibits.
But the civil government belongs to ALL of us, even those of no religious conviction, and it must serve us all EQUALLY.
Don’t listen to those who would criticize you and other legislators for “changing the definition of marriage.” Doing so is fully within the prerogative of government, and it has been done many times in the past.
Let’s not forget that until the 1960s, in many parts of the United States interracial marriage was illegal. Many of the arguments leveled then against “miscegenation” are the same narrow-minded rants now being used to rail against same-sex marriage. Don’t listen to them; listen to the better angels of your nature, sir.
As a married straight man, I might not seem to have anything at stake in this issue, but I believe that to tolerate an injustice against one person is to sanction an injustice against all. I stand in solidarity with my fellow citizens who are waiting to be recognized as full, equal members of our society. And I am imploring you to cast your vote to help make it happen.
Thank you for your consideration, Senator. I will be paying attention to your vote, and I will keep it in mind if and when you stand for re-election.