Saturday, April 15, 2006

Dear Arizona Senate President Ken Bennett

After I read the article on April 4, 2006 about your son, Clifton, which started out by saying:

Two men, including the 18-year-old son of Arizona's Senate president, pleaded guilty Monday to one count of aggravated assault for shoving broomsticks and flashlights up the rectums of 18 young boys last year.

Clifton Bennett, of Prescott, and Kyle Wheeler, 19, of Glendale, accepted a deal offered by the Yavapai County Attorney's Office to drop all but one of 36 original charges in exchange for the guilty plea.

Wheeler also pleaded guilty to an additional aggravated assault charge for choking three of the boys until they passed out.

Parents of the victims expressed frustration and anger over the plea deal, saying it was too lenient.

I could not get this story out of my mind. In fact I have spent a good week and a half trying to sort through the jumble of emotions I am feeling. I was shocked that my very first reaction was not pure unadulterated seething fury, but it wasn’t. It was actually sadness and compassion for you and your family. I know that if it had been my son who had committed these horrible crimes, my family would be utterly devastated, frightened, and horrified. Unfortunately, my immediate second reaction to this article was seething fury. You see if it had been my son, my gay son to be exact, he would not be getting off with a slap on the wrist like it appears your son will. And there are two reasons my son would not stand a chance of getting such special treatment. One, the fact that my son is gay would have guaranteed him many, many years in prison. How do I know this? Here is what Yavapai County prosecutor James Landis said:

… the case likely would have been treated differently if the victims were girls or if there was evidence that the defendants were homosexual.

And two, my child is just the son of two plain old ordinary people, not Senate Presidents or anything.

Now there is something else that is slowly simmering into a boiling fury within my soul. In fact it is starting to really eat me alive. I am going to have to use real restraint here, sir, because I certainly don’t want to come off as disrespectful or anything since I am addressing the Arizona Senate President and all. So here goes:

Senator, I respectfully request that you refrain from any and all discussion, debate, or passionate discourse (or whatever you want to call it) about the state marriage amendment banning gay marriages and civil unions in Arizona. I know this has been a very, very important issue for you, but I just don’t think I could maintain any semblance of sanity if I heard you telling me, one of your little peon constituents, that the state of Arizona needs this amendment to pass so that we can protect families and the sanctity of marriage. I hope you understand why I am respectfully asking this of you. You see, I have never understood how banning two people of the same sex from having their love and commitment to each other legally recognized hurts marriage or families. But, I do know that there are 18 families out there who will be dealing with the devastation of the crimes committed against them by two heterosexuals, one of whom is the son of an Arizona Senate President.

I thank you for your time on this matter.


Seething Mom


No comments: