Open Letter to My Fellow Elected Republicans

I believe same sex marriage does not threaten heterosexual marriage which is rightfully considered a sacred covenant. Gay marriage makes the institution more inclusive and provides liberation to an entire class of people who have every right to expect such equal treatment.

New York’s historic legislation is a defining moment for civil rights and for our party.  As one gay state senator put it, “there are no villains” in this debate. Many people are grappling with internal conflicts between their deeply held religious beliefs and their strong desire for equality for all citizens.

Shouldn’t we seize this opportunity to confirm once and for all there is nothing wrong with being gay? This is not inconsistent with our Republican values. The first Republican president freed the slaves, challenging the day’s “traditional values.”

Republican opposition to gay marriage often comes from many kind people who believe strongly in their religious view that marriage is strictly between a man and woman.  They, and the church that nurtures such thinking, may hold any view they wish. But are they entitled to impose that view on others who believe differently?

We are hearing again and again that people are “evolving” on this issue. Are they abandoning their values or are they realizing that childhood lessons about praying for homosexuals to somehow see the light no longer stands up to the test of time?

Same sex marriage supports two fundamental values: (1) that we should respect the rights of others even if we disagree (2) that discrimination against people who are different from us must finally end.

Republicans should make no apologies for our traditional values. Our “family values” call for more parental responsibility, more focus on the value of hard work, on less taxation and government interference, on the supremacy of individual liberty, mutual respect, and a belief our futures should be shaped not by government, but by our own actions. Those values also require us to stand up for those who face discrimination, even if it makes us uncomfortable.

If you remain opposed to gay marriage, please reconsider. Supporting gay marriage will make us a stronger party in the long run and a stronger state and nation.

 The writer is a Guilderland, NY Republican councilman