Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Day of Action Empowered a New Advocate

Guest blog by Bill Britt.

On March 25th, I had the privilege to attend ENC’s Day of Action. So many times we become angered over issues we care about, yet instead of doing anything, we bury our heads in the sand and never allow ourselves to be heard. On this day I made the decision to be heard on two issues important to me: passing the school violence prevention act and opposing the marriage discrimination constitutional amendment.

My story is different from the majority of gay men, and the reasons these issues are important come from my unique perspective. I am a divorced father of two beautiful children who wants to see protection from bullying provided for all kids: To include those who are gay, targeted as being gay, or to those whose parents are gay.

I also oppose marriage discrimination. After being in a heterosexual marriage for more than eleven years, I know the legal and personal rights afforded to a married couple. However, now that I am being true to myself and rebuilding a new life with my male partner, it is disturbing to realize we have none of those same rights and protections I enjoyed with my female partner. We have none of the same rights because we are of the same gender.

ENC’s Day of Action gave me the courage and the platform to remove my head from the sand. Meetings with my legislators allowed a great learning experience filling me with a variety of emotions, some of joy, some of hope, and some of great disappointment.

The joy and hope came with learning that even though certain legislators do not agree with, or understand one being gay, they do not and would not discriminate on the basis of sexuality. My disappointment arose from those legislators who have clearly chosen to govern based on personal opinions, misunderstandings, misinterpretations and insecurities.

It was empowering to use my voice and encouraging to see the unconditional love and support provided in so many forms. The most meaningful forms being parents in support of their gay children and by members of the clergy in support of all.

My voice united with so many more. Some of our words fell upon deaf ears, but we made it personal. We put our faces with our issues. We made it human and we made it real.

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