Dear Cousin Tom…
I wish I were contacting you with some scandalous family news, but I’m not.
Gay cousin Michael (Libous) here with some thoughts I need to share. (Governor Cuomo asked me to contact you.)
As you know, our state is in a ‘state’ right now pondering the question of gay marriage and all of its trappings. Having recently met a man with whom I hope to spend the last trimester of my life, many questions arise regarding our current state of civil equality.
I’m sure you’re aware that approximately 1000 federal and some 700 state rights are currently not available to me as a gay New Yorker. This sickens me.
I read online the other day that you’re co-sponsoring a bill to declare null and void (according to NY State Law) gay marriages that are performed in other states.
I can only assume that some of your constituents may have persuaded you to vote against gay marriage previously. But I am perplexed as to why you would LEAD the charge with a bill to suffocate the civil rights of many of your constituents and family members (me) while so many other states are embracing equality. WOW!
I remember how our parents—and sitto and jiddo (what we called our Lebanese grandparents)— struggled to overcome the feelings of not being adequate enough, American enough, or educated enough to be successful in Binghamton. And yet they held their heads high, overcoming social prejudice in order to ensure a more level playing field from which their families could grow. These are the experiences that homosexuals have on a daily basis as they struggle to succeed against all odds—the experiences of the freedom riders, Rosa Parks, and the suffragettes. Your bill would deny same-sex couples basic legal rights regarding health care, property, family leave—and even adoption.
I guess the truth is that I could stomp my feet, wave my hands and yell from the rooftops about equality, but it might not do any good. What I really wish is that everybody reading this right now—all you heterosexuals—would take a moment to remember your cousin… your brother… your sister… your neighbor… your friend… your CHILD—or a friend of a friend—who’s homosexual. Call my Cousin Tom Libous right now. Here’s the number: (518) 455-2677. (It literally takes 2 minutes to leave a message with his staff.) Ask him to lead us down a new path—a strong path—a reasonable path—toward equality—and to lead us away from the prejudices of yesteryear.
That’s what’s on my mind Tom. Hello to Fran and the kids. Thanks for your time.