A few personal notes: I used to live in the State of New Jersey before coming to Massachusetts in 2004. I officially moved in 2005, and my decision to do so was due in no small part to Massachusetts’ decision to legalize gay marriage.
Now, in 2012, the State of New Jersey may very well be on the verge of approving gay marriage itself. A Jan. 16 Quinnipiac University poll shows that voters in the state support gay marriage by a 52 – 42 margin. Governor Chris Christie, once a firm “no” on gay marriage, appears to be softening his stance. It’s even rumored he’s given legislative Republicans the OK to “vote their conscience.” Senate Democrats say they have 4 Republicans on their side, and may even have enough support to be able to override a Christie veto. It could happen.
Far be it one to stay silent, I decided to try and do what I could to support marriage equality in my home state. So tonight, I sat down to pen a letter to State Sen. Diane Allen, a moderate Republican whose vote will be required to make gay marriage in New Jersey a reality. I thought I’d share that with you all, here, publicly.
Dear Senator Allen (firstname.lastname@example.org),
As someone who has followed the New Jersey State Legislature closely for the last decade, I have been a fan of yours for quite some time. In 2002, I volunteered to work for your U.S. Senate campaign. While you were not successful in that effort, I’m proud to have supported whom I consider the best candidate to have run that year — and a candidate I still believe would have won the general election.
I do not regularly sit down to write state legislators in New Jersey, but after reading today’s Star Ledger, I felt it necessary to do so. It is my understanding that the New Jersey State Senate will soon be taking up the issue of marriage equality — gay marriage, as it’s otherwise known. I know that you’ve voted against this type of legislation in the past. I urge you to reconsider your position when it comes up for a vote this year.
I was New Jersey resident for most of my life until 2005. That’s when I moved to the state of Massachusetts. Their decision to legalize gay marriage played no small part in my decision. You see, I’m openly gay, and I wanted — needed — to live somewhere that offered me the same rights it offered everyone else. To feel comfortable, I need to feel equal. And I know I’m not alone.
Next month, my parents will celebrate their 43rd wedding anniversary. It is my hope that, with the assistance of your vote and the votes of your colleagues, I will be able to return home to New Jersey where I belong. And, someday, I will be able to celebrate my own wedding anniversary right alongside my parents.
I have always respected you as a strong moderate voice — a voice of reason when you felt your party was on the wrong side of an issue. I understand how difficult it is to do so; how aggressively conservatives will react to a vote in favor of marriage equality. But I think, deep down, you know that the Republican Party is on the wrong side of this issue. And I think you know that twenty years from now, history will not look favorably on those who rejected equal rights much the same way history does not look favorably on those who fought the civil rights movement of the 1960s.
Twenty years from now, when your children look back upon your legislative record, I want them to be able to do so with pride, knowing that you stood up for what you felt was right. That you were a courageous voice of reason. That you believed all men were created equal. I want that for you.
But most of all, Senator Allen, I want to come home.
Please vote to support marriage equality.
Fox Van Allen