I just finished reading several articles and blog posts inspired by a specific quote from you in Bob Shrum’s new book. The quote I speak of is, "I'm not comfortable around those people" which was your response to the question, “What is your position, Mr. Edwards, on gay rights?”
I am a 49 year old woman, married 25 years, and up until a few years ago, a lifelong Republican (although I’ve always voted for the person I felt to be the best candidate, which many times meant not a Republican). I am also the mother of 3 beautiful children, one of them gay, or more to the point, one of those people around whom you are so uncomfortable.
I am now an Independent who is searching, studying, agonizing, and praying for just the right presidential candidate to hang my extremely dashed hopes on. You have definitely been in the running, but now I am not so sure. And it is not because of your discomfort around gay people. You don’t have to be “comfortable” with my son or any other gay or lesbian to garner my vote, but you do have to be able to put that discomfort aside and publicly commit yourself to fighting for the exact same rights for my child that your children will take for granted.
Any man or woman who cannot fulfill the obligation of ensuring (in spite of their discomfort) that all Americans are equal and not “separate but equal” (as in civil unions or “partnership benefits”) is not, in this seething mother’s eyes, fit for the highest office in this country. This country needs a courageous leader who is guided by the founding principles of our forefathers and not by a wet finger in the wind or James Dobson’s version of Christian values.
Your rhetoric about 2
Bush was blatant in his quest to make our gay and lesbian sons and daughters second class citizens. Stealth attempts to make our gay and lesbian children second class citizens by any presidential candidate is not going to get past the thousands of parents who are already reeling from the current president’s profound betrayal of our children. Our wounds are way too raw. So it is with great disappointment that I have come to realize that you have used your own discomfort and religious beliefs to admit and justify that you would probably deny my child what your children already have. It shouldn’t have surprised me I guess. You are really no different than any of the other candidates out there right now. My son’s right to be treated equally were dashed the day he had the courage to admit he was gay. And make no mistake about it, admitting to be gay in this country takes genuine courage since it means allowing your rights to be used as bargaining chips by opportunistic politicians and religious zealots.
Maybe you should ask yourself how you would feel if it was your child being singled out as not worthy of equal treatment because it offends some people’s religious beliefs or makes some people “uncomfortable”. Nowhere is it written in our constitution that my child must pass James Dobson’s twisted version of Christian values or that my child must make everyone feel comfortable in order to be treated equally in this country. Religious beliefs and comfort levels have no place in this discussion. And any candidate who uses those things as litmus tests for determining the rights of any minority is not the right person to lead this country out of the deep dark depression this country is feeling after 6 ½ years of George W. Bush and Karl Rove politics.
Do the right thing Senator Edwards, stand up for my child just as you would your own. This country is in desperate need of a politician who is willing to do the right thing. And God knows we parents of gay and lesbian children could use a true American hero right about now.