“Love, care and commitment is the same for any two people” – Chris MacLellan
I’ve taken a break from blogging in order to adjust to life without my partner, Bernard Richard Schiffer. Your letters, emails, phone calls of support for me over the past few months is most appreciated!
On Friday, May 30th I was alerted to the news that Florida’s Attorney General submitted a court document stating that “same-sex marriages impose significant public harm.” On Tuesday, June 3rd, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial page wrote, “State wrong in its fight against same-sex marriage” and referenced Richard and I, and our Caregiving story, “In Sickness and in Health A Couples Final Journey”. In Wednesday’s Sun-Sentinel, Attorney General Pam Bondi responded to Tuesday’s editorial.
Upon reflection of these events, it is important for me to share a letter with you that I have mailed to Florida’s Attorney General, Pam Bondi in regards to her comments on same-sex marriage.
June 3, 2014
The Honorable Pam Bondi
Attorney General of Florida
The Capitol PL-01
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1050
Dear Madam Attorney General:
I write this letter in the hopes of sharing a position contra to that identified in your recent court documents that recognizing same-sex marriages “would impose significant public harm.”
Maybe you heard about our story in the Sun-Sentinel a few weeks ago? I’m told over 400,000 people have read our story, “In Sickness and Health A Couple’s Final Journey.” As Diane Lade eloquently wrote, “being an older gay couple not recognized by law, navigating a system they feared could rob them of their ability to care for each other in sickness and in health. After all, legal rights regarding death are intricately entwined with the privileges granted when people marry.”
We never intended that the love that my partner Bernard Richard Schiffer and I shared could become politicized, until I read your recent comments about how same-sex marriage “would impose significant public harm.’
I am fair-minded enough to know that each side has a right to argue your position in this fair state of Florida. However to deny, ignore, wish away, pretend, assume and say that there are negative consequences in granting basic equal rights, indicates a fundamental disrespect to gay rights and human dignity. The arguments you use are the same for those who argued that ‘separate was equal’ and advocated for anti-miscegenation laws. Like many before you who debated, and denied equality in our society, your current position on this critical issue will be sealed on the wrong side of history.
I invite you to read our story in the Sun-Sentinel. In fact, I will even share the link with you: http://interactive.sun-sentinel.com/lgbt-dying-couple/. You might also be interested in some of the readers’ comments that were posted on-line, too. After reading our story, looking at the pictures and viewing the video, please tell me, the people in this great state of Florida, and everyone in the country, how the love that Richard and I shared “would impose significant public harm?”
The late Maya Angelou said it right, “Love recognizes no barriers, it jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.” Once someone understands that love, care and commitment is the same for any two people who are joined together as one, then it becomes obvious why marriage equality is such an important issue in our society.
My prayer for you is that you will see that love is universal and not unique or limited to heterosexuals.
Christopher J. MacLellan
Deerfield Beach, FL 33441