Wednesday, May 20, 2009

My letter to the Governor of Nevada

May 20, 2009

Dear Gov. Gibbons:

As a resident of Nevada, I am more than appalled that you refuse to sign into law the domestic partnership bill.

The domestic partnership bill that currently sits on your desk would allow people like myself to have the same rights as other Nevadans.

You see, I am in a same-sex relationship, and as of right now my partner and I are unable to enjoy the same rights as our heterosexual counterparts. Though I am by no means a political scholar, I do happen to know that this denial of rights is unconstitutional. The declaration of independence clearly states, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

The founders of this country came here so that they would not live under tyranny or see certain people have rights that others do not have. Our country has fought many wars over this very principle.

The American Civil War was fought over the South’s rights to have their own freedom and the rights of African people to not be considered as property (slaves), but rather as people. Even after a war that divided families, African-Americans still had to wait another one hundred years for full civil rights and the end of segregation.

Women fought to have the same rights as men for almost a century. Women could not be property owners, vote, travel alone, maintain wages, speak in public, or sign contracts. Starting in the mid 1800’s, women fought to be treated equally to their male counter parts. Though women disguised themselves and fought in the Civil War, worked as nurses and caretakers in makeshift hospitals, fed the men in camps and more, they were still not viewed as equal to men. They did not give up, however. Women continued to protest and argue for their rights. Women were imprisoned, abused and treated horribly simply because they wanted to be treated as equal human beings. It wasn’t until 1920 that women were granted the right to vote. Their fight was long and torturous, but the women of the past suffered greatly so that I might have the right to vote so that people like yourself could hold the public offices you hold.

We have all seen the footage from Dr. Martin Luther King, the Watts riots and all the fighting that has occurred within this country so that we could all be treated equally as citizens.

Today, we in the homosexual community are facing our own civil rights movement. Some time from now, whether it be decades, centuries or just a few years, we will all look back and wonder how we could deny homosexuals the same constitutional rights as heterosexuals. You, sir, have the ability to help the gay community of Nevada to be treated as equals to their heterosexual counterparts. You may not understand the importance of this since you are a heterosexual male, but let me explain what this means to myself, and countless other Nevadans.

Governor, I have a progressive, fatal illness. By not signing this bill into law, you are denying me the ability to ensure that my partner and her daughter have a roof over their heads; that they are provided for after I pass away. How can you deny people – any people – the rights to have a good quality of life? Would it not be cruel to deny a woman and her child housing simply because of their sexual orientation? I have a family to consider, and by not signing this bill, you are allowing them to end up on the streets. Let me ask you, Governor, do you think Las Vegas needs a higher homeless population because homosexuals have been denied common property? I pray that there are no homosexuals in your family, and especially ones with children, for fear of what their futures might entail should you continue to veto this or similar bills.

Governor Gibbons, I implore you as a person, as a Nevadan, as woman, as a wife and as a step-mother to pass this domestic partnership bill. It is unconstitutional for you to veto this bill. Please sir, follow the example of our Founding Fathers and allow us all to have equal rights.

Thank you very much.


L. E. Harvey

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