Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Parents Take on a Proposition in the Golden State

As California voters get ready to weigh in, on November 4, on Proposition 8, some unlikely heroes are rising up in the Golden State and speaking out against this outrageous attempt to roll back marriage equality for same-sex couples. All across California, straight allies - and parents, in particular - are often finding themselves moved to take an outspoken political stand for the first time in their lives. The mere thought that strangers get to vote on their children's rights is bringing some of our community's strongest defenders into the spotlight . . . and their words and actions may be the most effective tools we have to protect same-sex couples from San Francisco to San Diego, and every community in-between.

Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) has been mobilizing parents and allies on the ground in California to defeat Proposition 8, which would not just deny - but take away existing - rights for committed couples. PFLAG chapters from across the country have brought critical foot soldiers to the campaign and, just as importantly, provided some of the most effective, and passionate, spokespeople imaginable: Parents who just want all of their sons and daughters to be treated the same.

Last week, Sam Thoron, the past National President of PFLAG (and a current board member of the organization), joined his wife Julia in speaking out against the ballot initiative. The Thorons, who have a lesbian daughter, urged Californians to reject this unprecedented attempt to divide families and strip away the rights of a specific community of California citizens. "All we have ever wanted for our daughter is that she be treated with the same dignity and respect as her brothers -- with the same freedoms and responsibilities as every other Californian," Sam says the first anti-8 ad to hit the airwaves. "My wife and I never treated our children differently, we never loved them any differently and now the law doesn't treat them differently, either."

The Thorons' love and support for their daughter has, in turn, also inspired and empowered other parents to speak up. Their stories, letters, emails and phone calls have been pouring into the PFLAG offices in Washington, D.C., along with questions about what they can to stop the attack on their kids.

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