On Valentine’s Day, my parents celebrate their 35 anniversary and my grandparents celebrate their 59. If my paternal grandfather were living, his 74 wedding anniversary to my Grandma would have been last week. The strength of their relationships has been the most influential part of my life.
In college, I studied civil rights, never missing an opportunity to meet people influential in fighting for marriage equality. When I began my work as DJ for a nightclub when I turned 21, I also started side work for friends entertaining their commitment ceremonies. My first was for dear friends of mine, one of the first civil unions of Vermont; a decade later, their son, one of my schoolmates at MRHS, was my first second generation wedding. No matter what legal standing the unions have been given through this process of achieving equal rights, I have considered each wedding as equally important and meaningful.
There are now more than 1300 wedded same-sex couples in New Hampshire and many more that have been making plans to wed. The increased amount of ceremonies has created a boost for the wedding industry and its vendors, as well as tourism and marketing within the state. The ability for partners to be able to share policies and receive benefits associated with that right is another factor to why we are considered one of the healthiest states in the nation. We have created a community of acceptance that has provided all of our neighbors’ similar rights.
With the political changes in Concord, those rights are being threatened through legislation with hearings beginning this week. For those of us in Fitzwilliam and Richmond, we are being represented by Richard Dwinell (Cheshire 5) who has no political record on this matter. I strongly urge my friends and neighbors in this area to call him (585-9225) and let him know how you feel, hopefully supporting equal rights for everyone. You can also email him at firstname.lastname@example.org ; please include the NH Freedom to Marry email@example.com as a recipient or email them to let them know how your conversation went.
It is particularly important for small business owners (florists, caterers, venues, anybody who is self –employed and providing services …) and our religious leaders to help this important cause. I am attaching two different forms to collect information about how you can do that. Please take the time to look at them and fill them out; every caring voice in support of equal love can make a difference in this argument.
For those interested in getting more involved, this Thursday will start the hearings for HB 437. Supporters are encouraged to meet at the Barley House at 132 North Main Street at 9 AM to prepare for testimony that begins at 10. Having pre-written statements (24 copies for the amount of representatives on the Judicial Board) helps the process. Anybody interested in either attending or doing phone banking is encouraged to contact Mike at 340-6604.
Share In the meantime, let’s spread the word to our friends and family on Facebook. Let’s ask our neighbors to stand with us, as popular opinion has been showing in current trending surveys. Let’s create discussions with our politicians on every level to prevent us from having to repeat this civil right battle. Let us gather, have fun and donate to the non-profit institutions that help protect these rights like the NH Freedom to Marry www.nhftm.org . This Sunday, starting at 4 PM, I shall be hosting a Valentine’s Day Tea Dance at Inferno in Brattleboro, Vermont. The beneficiary of money raised from the cover, raffles, etc. will be NH Freedom to Marry, who will be joining us with current literature.